It’s just one word but it’s one word that could just be the key to my condition.
Today was my fifth over the phone counseling session, which looks as though we’ll be extending up to nine in total. Today we looked back over the Christmas and New Year period, nearly two weeks since my last session.
When you’re going through counselling two weeks between sessions can seem like forever. So much can happen and change. Feelings and moods can mutate quickly. Memory can become an unreliable companion (did that really just happen?) and will try and trick you every now and again.
Reflection is also almost habit at this time of the year. People look back at what’s happened over the past twelve months and set some resolutions in place to try and make changes whilst the rest of us torture ourselves with everything we’ve done, highlighting every failure as a way to mentally punish ourselves.
I need to accept myself. I need to take the kindness in myself that I give to others and use it to heal myself.
That doesn’t mean that I need to be selfish, far from it. There’s the biblical phrase do unto others as you would have them do unto you that I need to adapt so it now becomes do unto yourself as you would do unto others.
Hopefully, that will be the golden rule to live by.
It struck me quite hard during the counseling session.
We’d already talked a few sessions previously about self compassion, about how I’m unnecessarily hard on myself. I do not forgive myself easily of my sins or my mistakes (I once joked a lifetime ago that I would have made a great Catholic). Things that most people would let pass I hold on to them, and I don’t let go.
When I talked to my counsellor about my recent peice around the passing of my gran, we talked about two things: the grief and the guilt.
Grief can be quite healthy. Grief is your way of saying that you’ll miss that person, you’ll miss what they brought to your life, you’ll miss the relationship that you had with them. It’s almost a selfish feeling, you want them back because by being back your pain will dissipate. Grief is necessary to let go, to make the passing that little bit smoother in time.
Guilt isn’t that way at all.
Guilt burrows it’s way deep into your mind, into your soul, looking to see what it can exploit. It takes something, anything, that one doubt you may have had and it will use it to tear you apart.
That’s what happened to me the other day. Spending time thinking about my gran, the loss of her from our lives made me feel sad. But that’s okay, that’s natural, that’s healthy. The guilt that took that moment somewhere else destroyed me that night. It kept me awake, it confused me, it sent me down twisting paths, it let the darkness in and took away the light.
My whole day became a struggle. Nothing felt right, everything felt wrong. The waves of dark would just keep washing over me until it was just too much.
Yeah, I had those thoughts, the ones you know are completely wrong. I accepted them for what they were, I scrutinised them and I said “not today”.
I had to accept the guilt I felt. I had to accept it and move on from it, it had no further bearing on the situation. By doing this I had to look at what I was feeling and why. I can’t change the past and these thoughts are completely unhealthy, all they do is weigh me down and take me to places I don’t want or need to go to.
The only thing I can change is what’s happening now. The future is unwritten so even though I can affect what happens I can’t do anything as it’s just a hypothetical concept really. It’s fluid and constantly changing, that’s the only real thing I need to accept about that. We need to make sure our feet are planted firmly in the here and now, live here without constantly wearing our past mistakes as regrets like heavy chains that try to pull us down.