When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you see? If you had to describe yourself to someone else what would say?
When I look at myself in the mirror I see someone who actually I am still getting know, although she is familiar to me and our relationship is getting stronger by the day, I still catch glimpses of who she used to be, that might sound totally bonkers to some but after my depression, the CBT and the self-awareness journey I have become a different person! I mean that’s the whole point right? If I hadn’t then I have just completely wasted the last five years! That said it can still be a little strange at times, I still look like her, sound like her and unfortunately I could still do with losing a few pounds like her! But that’s another story!
I think it’s important to understand how we can take on a different demeanour when faced with certain life experiences, for example, my depression, this had built up over a period of time and was the result of one battle after another trying to hold everything in my life together, eventually I was going to break, that’s when depression can take hold, it preys on the emotionally vulnerable and twists your mind into believing its deceit! It’s the voice in your head that picks away at you draining you of your confidence and strength, as anyone who has suffered with depression will know its soul-destroying and the knock on effects of how you then deal with life can be devastating, it’s a web that’s hard to free yourself from! During my experience of this ugly illness I became a bit of a recluse, I hated social events and would dread having to be around other people, often making excuses as to why I couldn’t attend or couldn’t stay long, I actually felt resentful if I felt forced into being somewhere that I really didn’t want to be, longing for the sanctuary of my home where I could shut myself away, my demeanour had completely changed, I didn’t really recognise myself, I had become defensive and would snap at anyone who made me feel that I was being questioned about my choices and decisions, my emotions were exaggerated because of the depression, everything felt 100 times worse than what it actually was and it controlled me for some time! I didn’t realise this at the time because at that point I was still in denial! As far as I was concerned I just had a crappy life, I felt that people demanded things from me that I didn’t have the desire or the energy to give, and there were times that I didn’t feel that life was worth living! Now when I look back I actually feel a little embarrassed by my behaviour, but I know that it was because of my state of mind at the time that I felt this way so I have to let that go! The truth is depression is not a reflection of who we really are, but until we accept what we are going through and act on it we will continue to feed the negative energy that it thrives upon! Only ever-moving within the vicious circle of its grip!
Although this wasn’t a pleasant experience I am still kind of grateful that I went through it because as I’ve written before it was the start of my journey to becoming a better version of me!
So who is that girl I catch a glimpse of now and then? She is a reflection of my former self, she will always be with me, she is my past and I still need her, but only now to remind me of how far I have come and what I have achieved, she has made me who I am today! I mentioned earlier that I am still getting to know this new me and that’s because the self-work is continuous, I’m learning new things about myself every day and I can actually say now that I like the relationship I have with myself, I’m kinder and more considerate to my needs, I’m not selfish in the slightest but I can put myself first without a sense of guilt and I’m still a good person, a good friend, a good partner and a good mum (so I’m told anyway!) every situation that I find myself in is an opportunity to deal with it better than the time before, it’s allowed me to discover what I really want in life and what I will no longer tolerate. What I mean is, I now have the ability to control my emotions in such a way that I can deal with situations so differently to how I would before the self-work. Yes I still go through the emotion but I now process it in such a way that it doesn’t have the same effect on me anymore, I can’t tell you how enlightening this is! I no longer suffer with stress and things that would usually fire me up fizzle out as quickly as they ignited, I can let something go without letting it fester for days or weeks on end and that’s a good place to be! Back then if I had to describe myself I would have used words like, unhappy, lonely, exhausted, disappointed! But now the answer is much different I wouldn’t hesitate to say, I am confident, alive, passionate, happy, enthusiastic! There are many more but you get the idea!
Just remember that our behaviour is only a reflection of the life we choose to live!