Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 21 - OCD: My Extremely Large and Incredibly Small Victories

I have been walking a process for about 4-5 years now where I am practicing living self-forgiveness and learning self-acceptance, self-love and self-understanding in my day to day life. I am doing this by actually forgiving myself, in writing as well as out-loud whenever possible, and letting go of all the burdens, bad habits and self-destructive patterns I had been living out for so long. Forgiving yourself is not blaming yourself. We are not entirely responsible for the disorders we suffer, as there is a genetic component, an environmental element (one’s immediate environment), and then there is society and the system within which we live, which definitely do not support proper healing and recovery on a daily basis.

Self-forgiveness is the same as making the statement that although there are many contributing factors to the development of a disorder such as OCD (derma, trich, germaphobia etc…), within forgiving myself, I am standing up a taking on that responsibility in its entirety. I am stating that I alone exist within my body, and so I alone, with all the support I can get, am taking responsibility for my own healing and recovery. I am mostly using self-forgiveness to bring myself out of my mind, and to stop the internal conversations, thoughts and reactions that cause the emotional build up inside of me throughout the day, among other things.

Even though we are in fact alone within ourselves, it is always recommended to open oneself up to all the assistance and support we can get, keeping in mind the fine line between being supported and developing a dependence. Remember self-responsibility, no one can do this for us. Seeking and utilizing support is not the same as having someone or something else do it for you – because that is impossible, no one else can ‘fix’ you for you.. Support is guidance, it’s someone challenging you or pointing things out you may not have realized. It’s someone talking some sense into you when you are unbalanced and lost in emotions/feelings. It can be someone there to encourage you and push you when you face a fear, or to simply be there to listen to you and show you practical solutions you may not have seen or realized yourself.

Interestingly, within some of the best support I have received, I have found the things I need to hear most are the hardest things to hear. If someone were to say “you need to start taking this more seriously and apply yourself more,” for example, I might get incredibly defensive! I have argued about how much I do already and how hard it is for me, and that they don’t understand what it is I deal with on a daily basis. But what I’ve learned is that this is what’s called ‘arguing for your limitations’, wherein you find yourself actually arguing and building a defense for why you shouldn’t try harder, you can’t do more, you’re stuck and the situation is unchangeable. This is obviously complete self-sabotage, and sets us up for certain failure. It is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you’re starting point is: ‘I can’t do this,’ then everything that flows from it, and from you, in terms of your actions, words, choices and decisions etc… will only ever end up confirming your starting point. What I have experienced is that there comes a time and a point within this process where you realize what you’re doing, because nothing is working and nothing is changing, and the same pattern just keeps on repeating itself. This is the time and the point I reached where I just had to suck it up and say ‘ok, it is time to actually apply myself for real. I started by finding a new starting point, one based in the statement “I am Here to assist and support myself do whatever it takes to overcome this.”

Unfortunately, it is not so simple as making a statement. When I am told things that might indicate I actually have to change and step up my application, I react defensively. Not only with OCD/derma, but with anything that I wanted to improve, such as keeping things tidier at home and applying myself at work. The defensiveness I feel is covering up the fact that I am fearful. I am terrified of letting go of my current way of being and doing. I am scared of my perception of what the change will be like. I am fearful of losing a part of me and of my identity. It may seem strange, but I’ve discussed this reaction in past blogs, and will go into in more detail in the near future. For now, I see it as a good sign. I see it as a sign that I am building myself up, my stance, my application, my self-will and my self-directive principle, and the disorder is actually feeling threatened.  Please read this blog, (and check out some of the others in the series) to understand some dimensions of The Fear of Not Having OCD/derma to depend on.
If you would like to  teach yourself how to find the answer to yourself within yourself, check out DIP Lite, a free online course. I have found this course amazingly supportive, teaching one discernment when it come to what we accept and allow to go on in our minds, and how to direct it to where we want it to be. Did I mention it's free? Give it a try cause there is nothing to lose, and join in the walk to freedom.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Day 20 - OCD: There Is No Reset Button

            OCD is exhausting. Dermatillomania is damaging. Sometimes at night I fall into an OCD possession and after some time I am able to tell myself “just go to bed, Kim.” And I go to bed. I wake up the next day and it’s as if I am another person; someone who is not inflicted with uncontrollable compulsions. That’s not to say that the damage isn’t there. It’s there to varying degrees depending on how much self-control I was able to exert the night before. But I wake up mostly feeling lighter, not yet burdened with the day’s baggage. This morning, however, I woke up feeling as if nothing had changed from the night before. It was as if everything had just been placed on pause only to  resume again exactly as is was once the sun came up again.

            I felt horribly dreadful and completely flattened because I didn’t get my ‘reset’ of a good night’s sleep. I don’t know why this happened, all I know is that I didn’t get my ‘get out of jail free’ card. So I decided to do some self-forgiveness on it to see how I could turn this self-defeating situation into a self-empowering lesson for me to learn from. I sat down and opened my computer and began to write:



I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to depend on the feeling of starting over with each new day, wherein in the morning I will feel fresh and new as if the previous day’s event hadn’t occurred, within this, forgetting the seriousness or gravity of  the disorder I’m facing, by intentionally ignoring or ‘forgetting’ what I go through each and every day.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel doom and gloom when I don’t wake up feeling refreshed, as if a reset button hadn’t been pressed, because I placed the responsibility on my physical body to absorb the previous day’s activities, and to heal the damage I had done, and within this:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place the responsibility upon my physical body to deal with the consequences of what I do due to the disorder I have, instead of taking the responsibility upon myself  with the utmost seriousness and gravity, wherein I am able to do everything within my power to assist and support myself to manage this disorder.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to do the bare minimum to manage this disorder, and to hide and cover up the fact that at most times, it is not under control, and to try to hide it from myself, suppress it and sweep it under the rug, thus creating a situation of denial within which I am only undermining myself by preventing myself from doing absolutely everything I can to assist and support myself to walk in this life with and through this disorder.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel overwhelmed, diminished and powerless when I do not wake up feeling refreshed and ‘new’, but instead feel as if the previous day’s struggle and load were here with me immediately upon waking up, and within this:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not want to face the struggle and the weight I have created and carry due to the manifestation of this disorder and all the outflows and consequences it causes.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not know how to deal with and manage this disorder, and to within this ‘not-knowing’ fall into a default-mode program instead of actually standing up and facing it through exploration and investigation, and actively seeking and searching for a solution for and as myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fall into what is comfortable and feels ‘right’, instead of using a practical outlook wherein I would asses my behavior and look and the consequences and outflows, and then make a reality-based assessment of whether or not what I am doing is actually assisting and supporting me to live to my utmost potential. Within this:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to act based on what feels ‘right’, even though it is blatantly obvious that it is destructive and damaging to myself in every way.

When and as I see I am ignoring the gravity and seriousness of my disorder by hiding from it and ignoring it, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-movement by bringing the disorder Here, in front of me, in order to remind myself that  I have a task to do and a process to walk that involves moment to moment application, and within looking at the disorder Here, in the present moment, I decide how to best proceed in such a way that I am dealing with, and NOT ignoring, that which I have created and must now undue and replace with the creation of myself as Life, equal and one Here.

I commit myself to realize and understand that this disorder is not greater than me, by walking with it and through it step by step until it’s done.

I commit myself to face myself within that which I have created as OCD/dermatillomania.

I commit myself to stop hiding from OCD and sweeping it under the rug and doing the bare minimum in order to live and survive.

I commit myself to do everything within my power to manage and overcome OCD/dermatillomania.
 If you would like to  teach yourself how to find the answer to yourself within yourself, check out DIP Lite, a free online course. I have found this course amazingly supportive, teaching one discernment when it come to what we accept and allow to go on in our minds, and how to direct it to where we want it to be. Did I mention it's free? Give it a try cause there is nothing to lose, and join in the walk to freedom. - See more at: http://dermotillomaniatolife.blogspot.ca/#sthash.tAziT2KI.dpuf

Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 19 - OCD and Compulsive Skin-Picking, Causes, Solutions, continued

I am currently looking at what is going on inside my mind that creates the conditions in which I build up pressure within myself in such a way that I have created and perpetuated the need to pick at my skin as a form of release. In my last blog I described an event at work, which was where I had made a mistake, and I had gone into quite an exaggerated reaction when I interpreted a co-worker’s reaction to it. This reaction stayed with me throughout the day as a pressure/irritation and un-comfortability within me, and was but one example of the accumulated experiences that together contribute to OCD/dermatillomania.

I have extreme and intense reactions to things, situations and events, and it builds up as negative emotions within me, which begin to feel like a constant pressure and un-comfortability which can’t be escaped. I find when I get home after a day of this, I need a release, and the only thing that apparently ‘works’, is compulsive skin-picking. The release I feel from picking at my skin is such that it’s as if I were releasing the day’s tension.

Unfortunately, I have seen for myself that ‘just stopping’ and not doing it doesn’t work – the tension is there and needs to be released. I’ve tired many many things, but in the end they are not long-term solutions. The solution I am looking at now is changing the way in which I handle situations and events throughout the day, so that I don’t create such big, intense reactions.  

I am starting by the example from my last blog, where I had intense negative reactions to my perceived reaction from a coworker. It has been fascinating for me to find out through the process of self-forgiveness (see below), that all the things I thought the coworker was thinking about me, I was actually thinking about myself. 

In addition to this, I also realized that the way in which I work has been developed over time where, when I am confronted with something difficult to do or learn, I had developed techniques to ‘get though it’ with the least amount of what I had perceived as ‘suffering’.  This was mostly developed throughout my schooling years, and I realized that within the public school system, I had created an idea or perception of myself wherein I believed that I was less-than most pupils. I believed I wasn’t as smart, and that if I faced a challenge or a difficulty it meant that I was unable to do it (wasn’t smart enough to think it through). So instead of actually trying, I would want to avoid the whole challenge or situation, because I wouldn’t want to face the fact that I felt so insecure and less-than, that I felt it was easier to try to fool everyone around me and ‘fake-it’ through the situation. Of course this is a terrible tactic, because in the end, even if the goal is achieved, the grade passed or the job acquired, within myself, I would know I didn’t actually deserve it. I would know that I didn’t actually let myself be challenged, or let myself really try and see how my self-expression would come through in terms of how I would handle the challenge or difficulty if I weren’t hindered by the belief that ‘I can’t do it’. The consequence of this is constantly feeling insecure about one’s own work. Feeling that there is something to hide and fearing exposure, and this fear would be realized every time I would slip up or make a mistake. It would be like “ah-ha I knew it! I knew I would mess up”. In this way, it also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, exactly as I describe in my last blog, which should be read for context.

The following self-forgiveness reveals how I exposed my hidden fears to myself, in order to come to the realizations that I mentioned above. Owning the truth and reality of myself now opens up the possibility for change, which is why the self-forgiveness is followed by self-corrective applications and self-commitment statements. These are things I have written for myself, so that instead of going into my usual, automatic reactions, I can now look at my ‘plan B’, and remind myself that there is in fact an alternative way to react and comport myself throughout the day. A way in which I divert myself from building up the anxiety, fear, stress, anger, agitation and irritation which I later need to take out on myself in the privacy of my home and bathroom.

I have already experienced much success with this technique and have done a lot of this type of writing which has greatly assisted me to reduce the aforementioned emotional experiences in my life. These are the experiences which I see lead me to compulsively pick my skin. I will talk more about the triumphs in my next blog, but for now, please read the following self-forgiveness and see the applications I’ve written at the end, because the application is where the change happens, and when it’s been planned out, it is MUCH easier to implement.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to go into fear and self-diminishment when I make an error or mistake.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that making an error or mistake tarnishes who I am.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place my self-image, self-value and self-worth outside of myself and into ‘roles’  I occupy in my job and life, without first looking at who I am within the role/position/job etc...

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think that I can strive for roles and titles alone, without doing all the necessary work to earn them, and believe that my value and worth will increase just because I have advanced or achieved, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the test of time will always show me who I really am, and if I have in fact built myself up on falsities which will eventually fall, or on actual practical application, practiced and developed over time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to go into a self-defensive stance when I make a mistake/error, because I want to hide the fact that I fear that my mistakes and errors are caused by my carelessness or lack of understanding, and that this should be hidden in order to protect myself from having to accept responsibility for the fact that I either cut corners or pretended to understand something when I didn’t actually fully understand it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to cut corners within work I deem ‘hard’ or ‘boring’ in order to ‘save time’ and ‘get it over with’, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it usually costs more time and consequences in the long run when corners are cut in the short run.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to pretend to understand something before I actually understand it as a survival technique I learned in school and later at jobs, so that I appear to be conforming well, doing what I’m ‘supposed to do’, being a ‘fast learner’ and therefore a good student/employee so that I can survive in the system, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the most important thing is who I am within what I am doing, and when I take the apparent ‘easy route’, I am not developing myself, and thus denying myself of self-trust and self-confidence.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel panic,  anxiety and fear when I don’t catch on to something immediately, because I fear the judgment of others that I am a slow learner and I am not ‘getting it’, thus confirming my worst fears and harshest self-judgments.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to waste the moments of potential information integration by using them instead to fuel my general panic, anxiety and fear reactions through self-judgment and self-intimidation by reflecting it off of what I think others might be thinking.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, in moments when I feel that something is challenging or difficult, to automatically assume I can’t do it, that I’m not smart enough, or that other’s can do it but not me because I am slower and less-intelligent than others, and thus create methods and strategies to ‘get through it’ and satisfy those around me, instead of actually giving myself the opportunity to just go for it, to give it a try and see if I actually can do it.

When and as I face a challenge or a difficulty, I stop, and I breathe. I bring my whole self into that moment in order to give myself the opportunity to actually apply myself and challenge myself to see how I can work it through and find a solution. I bring myself back to self-confidence and self-trust by reminding myself that even if I can’t do it in that moment, that is not a defeat or a dead-end, and that I can work with obstacles and try different routes to get to the goal, and within this thus then end up actually developing myself, and contributing to building self-trust and self-confidence in myself.

I commit myself to support myself and nurture myself to build the self-confidence and self-trust in any way I can, in order to create myself as what I will need to be in order to walk through this disorder.

When and as I am learning, and I see that I am going into a panic, anxiety and fear in moments of hesitation or difficulty, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the physical and open up the space within myself to learn safely, by stopping the self-judgmental thoughts and instead focusing on incorporating and absorbing and being able to apply the information that I learn.

I commit myself to teach myself how to learn, how to love to learn, and how to create a safe internal environment for myself in which my learning is nurtured and supported.

I commit myself to see, realize and understand that there is NO place for self-judgment and self-diminishing thoughts within learning nor within anything I do whatsoever.

When and as I see that I am going into a pressured and ‘rushed’ energy and feeling like I need to cut corners and ‘get it over with’, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the pace of the physical by moving myself to do everything I do with the utmost attention and care, within the realization that in the end, this will get things done more efficiently for the long term, and in the end, this is actually love made visible.

I commit myself to do everything I do with great care, as if that which I touch and give my attention to is my greatest creation, because it is through my actions and words that I do, in fact, create myself, and thus this world.

 If you would like to  teach yourself how to find the answer to yourself within yourself, check out DIP Lite, a free online course. I have found this course amazingly supportive, teaching one discernment when it come to what we accept and allow to go on in our minds, and how to direct it to where we want it to be. Did I mention it's free? Give it a try cause there is nothing to lose, and join in the walk to freedom.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 18 - OCD and Compulsive Skin-Picking; Causes, Solutions

 What happens to the thoughts we suppress? The question is whether they simply vanish and cease to affect us, or whether they remain within our physical bodies and manifest  physically such as symptoms, emotions/feelings and disorders? Unfortunately, what I have seen in my personal experience within myself over the years, is that all suppressed things are still here in the present moment. They exist in the form of the sometimes childish reactions in moments, the inner tantrums, the stress and anxiety that has morphed over time into adult themes, and they exist within the patterns lived and within for example, dermatillomania. It requires only to be triggered, and it will re-emerge again, having never really left.

That being said, what I would like to do from here, is to ‘unpack’ this experience of suppression which is hidden from the world, and dwelt with, alone within oneself as one’s secret burden. Unpacking through taking self-responsibility for the reactions that have been suppressed in the past and which live in the present as they come up again and again, impossible to ignore.  To take responsibility by looking into the reactions and seeing them for what they are; isolation and loneliness are only valid if we accept and allow them to exist in us. The thoughts, ideas, beliefs and perceptions we hold about ourselves as dermatillomania sufferers are made real only through our participation within them, and as them; we are most certainly not the monsters we believe ourselves to be! We do not have to carry a burden or be the prisoners of our own minds. We have created this inner prison, and now it is up to us to learn how to manage it and free ourselves.

And this is what I intend to do. Here, starting with myself,  by having a look at some of my own personal examples of suppression. I am going to start by locating a pattern of suppression and concealment by looking at a recent experience where I went into a reaction which I dwelt with instead of finding and living a practical solution for myself.

1)  I had made a mistake at work, and I perceived a woman in my environment as being annoyed. She reacted in what I interpreted as impatience.

Instead of simply brushing it off, because there is no possible way I can know what someone else is thinking, and focusing instead on why I made a mistake and how to avoid it in the future, my mind was occupied with reactive thoughts. I reacted in self –judgment and began thinking negative thoughts through the eyes of my colleague. I imagined the colleague thinking that I’m slow, that I’m not too bright, that I can’t be depended on, that I ‘m difficult to work with, and so on. In retrospect, I can see that the thoughts were very harsh towards myself, it was like putting myself down and then continuing to kick. Consequently, what I was doing was setting myself up to make more mistakes as my confidence diminishes with each and every self-deprecating thought, thus manifesting the actual reality I was creating in my mind. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy made real through my participation in thoughts; participation through thinking them, fueling them, and focusing on them without directing myself to do otherwise.

I continue: I can see that the particular reaction was intensified within this specific situation for two reasons:

1) I can see that I had built up ideas charged with positive energy around the particular task I was working on, and it had become part of my self-image.

My critical error here is Instead of investing my self-image in who I really am, as a living being, rather placing it on something outside of myself, such as a job, a title or a responsibility. This causes me to feel insecure and constantly ‘at risk’ of losing that image, because in this particular situation, it is based in nothing real or of substance. If I should ‘fail’ at it in any way, the failure is now absolute because it had become about how I define and see myself within myself.  I would feel like a fraud because what I had presented as ‘who I am’ has now been proven faulty. In the self-forgiveness and self-corrective application to follow, I will direct myself within how to now instead invest my self-image or self-definition within and as ‘Who I Am’ instead of ‘what I do’ or what labels I carry.

2) (Reaction intensifier #2) I had built up ideas around the woman.

When the thoughts seemed innocently ‘about her’ (she’s so organized, professional, responsible, beautiful, feminine etc…), they are really all about me. What I’m really telling myself is: “I’m so dis-organized, un-professional, irresponsible, ugly, masculine etc…”. The consequence of this is that I would begin to place her above myself in some kind of imaginary ranking system wherein she is exalted in my own mind, and now her words carry more weight and power over me.

The pattern I see here is:

1) Placing my value on something outside of myself, such as a job, title, promotion or recognition, causing insecurity and therefore stress and worry, because I have placed myself in an ‘at risk’ situation where I become defensive instead of embracing opportunities of learning.

2) Not viewing myself as equal to everyone around me, thus giving my power away to others.

All of this re-enforces my negative self-image, and places me squarely into a position of apparent powerlessness.

As multiple such reactions take place throughout the day, the pressure builds and intensifies. To me, the pressure feels as if it were festering, It is very uncomfortable and distracting. It is heavy and burdensome, and it leads to the feelings of, for example, the self-disgust experienced by dermatillomania sufferers which is not improved by the appearance of blemished and irritated skin.

Altogether, this creates a toxic environment and sets oneself up to live out this pattern of self-belittling internal conversations, which become a self-fulfilling prophecy, which makes the thoughts seem as though they were real and true in the first place. This leads to the feelings of, for example, the self-disgust experienced by dermatillomania sufferers which, after a day of talking down to oneself, one would get home feeling terribly anxious about of whole broad spectrum of things.
I will continue in my next blog with self-forgiveness statements.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 17 - Dermatillomania: Where The Negative Thoughts Begin

I read over my last post and although I am satisfied with it, I am not satisfied with the depth of my personal investigation. I had read Angela Hartlin’s latest post (http://www.skinpickingsupport.com/2015/05/26/birthday-wish/) about her recovery from dermatillomania, and she described an aspect of the therapy she did. She said that her picking was covering up deep emotional traumas that she hadn’t dealt with, and although I found some need for validation and self-judgment through my last blog, it seemed as though these things were existent, but at a more superficial level. What is lying deeper beneath these experiences? What is so painful that it is being ignored through picking, and then covered up under these self-limiting beliefs? Please read my last blog for context here, because I’m going to dive straight into some more self-forgiveness to dig deeper.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to require validation from cooking meals for others, through the positive feedback I get which makes me feel ‘good’ and ‘worthwhile’.

Within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that if I don’t get these internal energetic experiences that I will feel ‘bad’, and ‘worthless’.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to believe myself to be ‘worthless’, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that everyone alive has immense and immeasurable worth, within the mere fact that they are alive.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have experienced myself as being ‘worthless’ as a child, because I couldn’t see myself as bringing any ‘value’ or ‘worth’ to the family.

When I would look at all the people in my world as a child, I can see that I really liked them a lot. I really looked up to and admired most of the people that had an influence in my life, and it was very important to me that they like me too. But over time, I had developed this idea, perception and belief that they didn’t, and that they in fact dis-liked me. Now, don’t get me wrong here, there is a very fine line that must be walked where one does not fall onto the side of blame. I had a normal upbringing, where my parents came to my sports events and school plays, I had a circle of friends, and I always had someone that was ready to listen if I needed to talk. What I am looking at is my experience as a child – an experience developed from my own interpretations of events and play-outs, where I would have thoughts and imaginations that would create internal emotional experiences which I would then believe to be true and accurate. These were obviously not true and accurate, because if I had cross-referenced with the actual reality of the situation, I would have seen that my friends and family were extremely supportive and caring, and assisted and supported me to the absolute best of their ability consistently throughout my life. But, of course, I was young and I listened more to how I felt than what I saw around me. I also didn’t know any different and took for granted all the things my parents did, and the time and resources they put into me and my development. All this to say, I am not looking to place blame on any family member nor myself, that would lead to nowhere. What I am doing is taking self-responsibility for the experience I had created for myself, as a child, in innocence and within innocence because I didn’t understand what I was doing.

Looking back I see I was a very shy and frightened child. I have a significant memory of this experience of petrification of being exposed, or for people to see me, look at me, or talk about me. This caused me to be very quiet, and to learn how to go unnoticed whenever possible. I was also very sensitive and easily hurt, and if I got hurt, I would not express it. I would instead go into an entire internal experience that would be quite overwhelming - suppression. It frightened me and for some reason, I didn’t want anybody to know what was going on inside of me, I felt it was ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ for me to be feeling this way. This led me to become quite reserved, and I would feel unsafe to express myself around others. I would go into this waiting and observing experience, where I would hold myself into myself and wait for the other person to express themselves, and that would show me the ‘rules’, or the ‘boundaries’ within which it would be safe for me to express myself as well within the particular social interaction. I adapted within self-preservation, to only let myself express myself within the boundaries set by someone else, because I feared that if I were to express myself freely, I might say something that would cause a reaction or trigger a comment or an action that could potentially hurt me.

So, being so quiet, unnoticed and reserved, I also did not know how to express the internal experience of profound love, admiration and joy I had for those around me. I would at times feel bursting and bubbling over with these emotional experiences, but on the outside it would probably look like I was just staring at the person. And I would want the person to do something to get this experience out of me and into something real, to share it with me and experience it together. I experienced myself as having longing questions: how do I express this? Is it safe for me to express this? Do you feel the same way?

But if a person doesn’t know what is going on in a child’s mind, how can that person possibly move themselves to assist that child in any way? So each time my internal experience wasn’t validated and made real by someone outside of myself, I would go into the opposite emotional experience of sadness and isolation. The good feelings would go away and I would be left not understanding why I now felt bad, low, lonely and alone. Unfortunately, I, like most people, believed my internal experience to be true, or ‘correct’,  and that it was something that was being done unto me. I did not take self-responsibility by seeing myself as the source, and so the solution, but instead looked outside of myself and began to blame my environment.

I began to think I was bad or that there was something wrong with me that I wasn’t aware of. I thought I was unlikeable. I was bullied at school because I was a tomboy and dressed like a boy, which made me a target, and I was quiet and meek, which also made me a target. At school for a time I had very few friends, and the friendships I did have wouldn’t last long because I would fear getting hurt and take things personally and the friendships would be too painful. I would disassociate completely in class and teachers would become frustrated and I would think they hated me. As a result, I would get low grades and my parents would get frustrated. I took all of this to mean that I was no good, I was useless, no one would want me around, no one should love me, and so on. And it is within this toxic internal environment where my self-perception took root and from which it would sprout.

I will continue in my next blog…