Tag Archives: shame

Facebook Memories

If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with how Facebook likes to share memories, showing you pictures and status updates that you’ve posted on any given day in years past.  It is mostly really fun to see what was going on in your life.  I, personally, love seeing old pictures of my pets and my friends, and thinking about the fun nights I had over Facebook in law school (without Facebook, lawyers from the class of 2011 would not have made it).

But there are times when I don’t necessarily want to remember, Facebook.

On January 23, Facebook reminded me that it had been 3 years since my Gram passed away.  I had a good cry, I posted a sappy post, went on a walk to process my sad feelings and saw a hummingbird in the desert (which I’m currently convinced is my Gram’s way of saying hello these days).  It worked.  Remembering my Gram’s passing was bittersweet; full of missing her and wishing she could see me now, but remembering how much of her lives on in me.  Okay, so Facebook memories can remind me of my Gram any day.

I still wish I could be selective about what I’m reminded of, though.  Maybe Facebook could come up with a shitty life events filter or something.  Of course, it may not have even helped with this next one considering that I had intentionally, selectively, mostly forgotten about it.

On February 4, I was reminded that around this time in 2014, I had a second weird psychotic episode that I’ve hardly discussed with anyone, even though everyone basically saw it happen this time.  After quitting my job at the big law firm, going on my round-the-country road trip, and pouring every bit of myself into launching my new law firm at the end of 2013 and into the new year, I lost my mind again.  It was maybe a period of about 48-72 hours without sleep, endlessly searching the internet, convinced I had broken it, writing this crazy manifesto that I still can’t bear to read, and sending “coded” messages to all the friends on Facebook that I felt close to at the time.

Yep.  Facebook memories reminded me that I sent a bunch of psychotic messages to my friends.  Lovely!

I posted a status update blaming it on Facebook, which seems to have gone over okay with most of my friends (except maybe one).  But it was me.  I was only about a year and a half into recovery from my childhood trauma, burned out and running away from myself on my road trip, I came back and immediately poured myself into my work and avoiding everything rebelling, but then I caught up with myself again and lost my mind.  No wonder my business failed didn’t go so well the first time I tried it.  No wonder I could barely motivate myself to get off of the couch for months after.  I have so much shame about it, and Facebook reminded me.

Thankfully, Facebook also reminded me how much I have grown since.

I honestly feel like such a different person than I was those two years ago.   I have worked really hard in therapy to move beyond so many things and it is paying off in my life.  I not only AM lighter (if you didn’t read my post yesterday, though currently stuck in a stall, I am -105lbs now!), I FEEL lighter emotionally.  My spirit is freer these days because of all of my hard work.  I am freer.

I do still fear a return of the psychosis, though.  Even though this second time around was far milder and far less damaging, it still sucked; a lot.  I’m still incredibly embarrassed and and carrying some pretty intense shame because of both of the times that my brain short circuited.  If it happened twice, it can happen a third or fourth or fifth time.  I fear being permanently disabled by my mental health issues.  If my brain can fail me in such dramatic ways, how will I ever be able to be a successful human being like I want to?  What if I’m not cut out for being a lawyer?  What if I cannot actually be a business owner?  I could go on, but I don’t need to.

Definitely some things I need to talk about in therapy.  I have so many good things going on and, despite the bullshit thrown my way this year so far, I feel pretty good emotionally, so I hate to get too much back into the serious stuff.  Finally telling you is pretty helpful (and remarkable, especially since a year-old blog post about the same subject sits in my drafts), but I’m sure telling Sam will help me tie a little bow on this and put it up on a shelf.

No more shame, damnit!  Well, at least a little less shame for now.  Thank God for therapy this week!

Crock of Shit

That’s what she called it.  My attempt to bring something into her life that might help mend a bridge between us.  A crock of shit. 

Maybe some background.

You might remember that a couple of weeks ago I wrote a little bit about a book my therapist recommend I read, Healing The Shame That Binds You, by John Bradshaw.  I haven’t finished it yet, but it has already given me so many great insights into myself and my family dynamics, why I feel the way I feel, why I way I act the way I act, and is helping me see another side of the picture as far as my parents’ own abusive pasts are concerned.

I couldn’t help but buy two more copies.

One I gave to a friend at work (one of the few people in my trusted inner circle) who expressed real interest in it for her husband. The other, I bought for my parents to read.  Perhaps that was my first mistake. Or was having the hope that she and I were actually making a little progress my first mistake?

So, last night I sought her advice about a career issue.  She’s always been really good when it comes to those things.  I was feeling vulnerable about a choice I made and let her in on it.  I talked to her about how it’s been a rough week. She tried to convince me to work from home today.  I had no real desire to skip the office. Although it’s crazier than ever around there, I actually kind of like going in to work these days. Plus, I have a shit ton to do and there ain’t no rest for the wicked.  I know she means well, so I laughed it off.

Come lunch time, she texts me asking if I’ve left work for the day.  I was still in meetings at the time, and considering that my boss is on spring break with his kids all next week and is leaving me to run the show by my lonesome in his absence, an early day was not ever going to happen.  I see the text, but don’t respond because I have a hundred other things going on.

Then, at about 2:00 p.m., she shows up at my office unannounced.  Lets see, that makes this the fifth time I’ve seen her in the last two years? Someone please tell me how that would ever be appropriate, ever, please?  Naturally I can’t react, I’m at work.  She did bring food, a gesture of good will of some kind I suppose, so I acquiesce. 

I had also been wanting to find a time to give her the copy of Bradshaw’s book and happened to have it in my car. Perhaps after the week I had, it wasn’t the best timing, but now or never, right? I was obviously hesitant and as I handed it to her, I prefaced the delivery with something along the lines of, “I’ve been reading this book and it has really been helping me see a new perspective and I think it would help you and our relationship.”

I tried to explain a little bit about Bradshaw’s premise to her, how abuse turns into toxic shame and manifests in our lives, and why it’s been helpful, but was a bit inarticulate. Her response was two fold: she feels no shame (no surprise there) and an overly broad, narrow minded, and purely ignorant statement that self help books are all a crock of shit.  I couldn’t begin to come up with the right words and that was neither the time nor the place to get into the nitty gritty. So, I just assured her that if I didn’t think it would be helpful, I’d never have bought it for her.

As it turns out, what I heard and felt were: the hard work I’m putting into dealing with my issues is a crock of shit; the clarity and peace I’ve been discovering while reading this book is a crock of shit; the effort I’m putting into trying to maintain some type of relationship with them (and especially her) is a crock of shit; I am a crock of shit.

I am not a crock of shit, though.  Trust me, I am not a self help book kind of girl (wonder where that comes from) and never would have picked this one out on my own.  But my therapist, who has gotten to know my intelligent and analytical side, knows that I need data, case studies, and other scientific or empirical evidence to satisfy the logical side of my brain before the emotional aspect comes into play, recommended this book.  I’m learning to trust in him and this healing process and I have not been disappointed so far.

Why else would I have bought two more copies?  I’m an intelligent woman who struggles with emotion. This book has helped me tap into some of my most difficult emotions.  If I thought it was anything close to a crock of shit, I’d never have made it past the first chapter.

She is the crock of shit. I don’t think she’ll ever read it. 

That makes me incredibly sad.  In fact, that being a real possibility triggers so many familiar feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, and hopelessness. I really put myself out there by offering her a little look into what I’m doing in therapy. It would mean an incredible amount to me if they took the time to do a little work too. I was vulnerable with her in a mostly safe way, and I’m proud of that. I also know now that my self worth doesn’t hang on what she chooses to do with the book, or with anything really. Still, having that little bit of hope I had built up dashed is terribly disappointing. 

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The Road to Weight Loss Recovery

I’m up late tonight pouring through articles, web sites, blogs, and forums about the different types of weight loss surgery, complications, and all the struggles and success stories.  Of course, I’ve been down this researching road before, but I was always too scared to take any of the next steps. 

Knowing what I know about myself now, I’m pretty sure I never felt worthy enough.  I never really felt worthy of anything.  I learned early on that eating felt good when life was really bad and getting fat was a way to stay small and invisible in a home where standing out for anything other than good grades was dangerous.  The thought of giving up food – my only means of comfort – has been as terrifying as any one of the physical or emotional punishments doled out in my childhood home. I continued to need the feelings only food could give me, because I simply had no other outlet.

With all of that in mind, it’s quite strange to think I might actually join the legion of brave souls who have gone down the surgical weight loss route for a healthier and happier life (and blogged about it!).

As weird as it feels to say this, I think I owe this change of heart and mind, in large part, to my breakdown.  Although part of me still really wishes it never happened, it’s the primary reason I’m finally comfortable moving forward toward weight loss surgery.

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Despite all of it’s embarrassing and shameful glory, losing my grip on reality was the catalyst for my quest to dig deep into the nitty gritty of my life.  It was the beginning of this incredibly difficult and rewarding journey.  While I will continue to struggle with and work through feeling unloved and unworthy (which drive my emotional eating), my breakdown has helped me finally do more than just scratch the surface of my core issues.

Now, with my breakdown behind me and the lifelong process of genuine healing underway, the thought of giving up food as comfort doesn’t give me the overwhelming anxiety that it used to.    My weight is the physical manifestation of 30 years of toxic shame heaped upon me by myself and others. Weight loss surgery, along with plenty more therapy of course, is just another step in my recovery process.

Wow. I never would have imagined at this time three years ago (to the day, damn near) that I would be, in a way, grateful for my breakdown.  I’m nervous as hell, but this April 2, 2015 seminar can’t come soon enough!

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I’m in a (Shame) Bind

My therapist recommended that I read John Bradshaw’s book, Healing the Shame That Binds You.  Perhaps in one of those moments where the universe is speaking for me, I wrote this post about a month ago, where I admit my feelings of shame for the simple act of being.  This book could not have come at a better time in my life.

Shame

I started reading just a few days ago and man does this book have me written all up in it.  Although I’ve had it less than a week, I’ve marked all over this book and dog eared plenty of pages that really resonate with me.

I’m already almost to the end of Part I, which goes through all of the many ways that shame exists in our lives, how it is created and solidified, how it manifests, and how we can actually become the shame we carry, losing our authentic selves in the process as we internalize the shame.  Interesting stuff, even if the author regularly cites his other books.

Part II gives the tools on how to move forward.  I’m trying to pace myself, so I can start Part II after I meet with my therapist next week and can talk to him about all the things I’ve learned from Part I.  I might not be able to wait.

P.S. Citing yourself as authority? Really? Not cool. #justsaying

I Feel

I feel shame for being.

I feel shame.

I feel fear.

I fear that no one is listening.

I don’t trust.

Many things.

But at least I feel.

. . .

And I finished this tonight. :-)

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