How to Break the Cycle of Abuse Within Your Own Mind

I am really good at not being good to myself.

“Most of your class is smarter than you.” “No one wants to be your friend.” “Of course you didn’t win.”

Throughout my childhood, I taught myself to have no self pride. At all. Despite being decently intelligent and skilled; I could never accept a compliment. If I didn’t win the very best at a contest, the voices inside told me why. If I happened to do well; they reminded me of how many other people were better, or of how there weren’t many competitors.

I’d love to say things have gotten better, but they haven’t.

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“Look, see: that person says she likes that person, but doesn’t even look at you when you’re walking by.” “There you go, dummy; forgetting everything again.” “Well, who would want to be your friend?”

I could blame the internet, exposing me and millions of others TO millions of others. But if I’m being honest, my negative self would be able to beat me up even without bringing the rest of the world into the comparisons.

When I’ve addressed this problem with self-meditation, self-medication (usually chocolate), and the occasional session with a therapist; I …can’t actually address it. I’m so good at not being good to me that I jump right in to sabotage any sort of progress.

Me: “Well, when someone compliments me, I feel like they probably don’t know the whole picture.”

Also Me: Justifying “I’m not that good at cooking/writing/being a friend/etc. That person is just really nice. She tells the off-key 8-year-olds at church that they sang beautifully.”

I’m so good at not being good that I claim my conclusions are LOGICAL. I bring outside evidence to back the negativity up, disguise rudeness as truth, and name-calling as accurate titles.

And I don’t see this as wrong.

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If I had a friend (See? If I had a friend? -so mean!) -anyway- If I had a friend whose boyfriend were saying that crap to her, I’d immediately tell her it was abusive behavior. If someone at school were telling these things to my son, I’d advise him to stand up for himself and even talk to his teacher about it. If I were reading a book or watching a movie and heard the things that play in my head all day; I would recognize the character as a petty, selfish bully.

Living with me all day every day, however, I do not. As you may have guessed, I tell myself that negativity is exactly what I deserve.

…Which makes breaking out of the cycle of abuse that much more difficult. And yes, it is a cycle of abuse.

As such, the actually LOGICAL steps to getting out would be to follow professional advice for leaving an abuser. The internet may be providing fodder for my inaccurate comparisons, but it also has a lot of information to help save me from them. In fact, there is even a wikiHow on breaking an abusive cycle.

Since we’re dealing with an internal abuser, I’ve taken their list and modified it:

  1. Leave.
    I can’t exactly leave my own head, but see that my substance abuse and attempts to disassociate are a lot like telling an abusive spouse I’m leaving, but not actually packing bags and arranging for another place to live.
    I feel that I don’t know where to go or what to pack yet, but maybe I can start asking around and collecting a few moving boxes.
  2. Don’t dismiss, justify, or accept the abuse.
    Frankly, I need to stop agreeing with the Meany-Head in my head. I can probably, sort-of, start talking back to it like a stubborn 3-year-old. According to professionals, that’s healthier than allowing it.
  3. Look out for the honeymoon phase.
    I didn’t think self-abuse had this, but it does. I have days or even weeks of letting up on myself. I smile without reminding myself that poor children in Africa have little to smile about. I accept a compliment and don’t downplay it.
  4. Don’t fall for that break in abuse!!
    I can’t let my guard down and assume everything’s better if there is little or no meanness.
    When I went on a successful diet one time, I mentally associated sugars and refined flour with fat gain. Those two became repulsive to me and I had no appetite to eat them.
    Similarly, I’ve got to put a no-acceptance-at-all mental block on the negative talk. Like Susan said in her article, I’ve got to respond right away with positivity.
  5. Unearth your superpower.
    The wikiHow articles says, “One reason individuals stay in abusive relationships is because they feel powerless and unable to act.” Boy, is that ever true. I feel overwhelmed at the idea of finding strength within myself.
    BUT, there are times that I am motivated to act -no matter how depressed or beaten-down I feel. Those times include: if someone I love is in danger, if injustice is raising its ugly head, and when things pile up so much that I simply cannot tolerate any more.
    If I can find strength even in the darkest despair, I can fight this abuse.
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  6. Go get help.
    I think this is my favorite of the steps, because I often suffer from Analysis Paralysis. I don’t know the ‘right’ direction to go, so stand and stare at the different options until I get frustrated and give up.
    With a counselor, therapist, psychologist, trained friend, or even a small reminder to literally choose to be positive; I can get GPS instructions for which way to start walking.

So, what am I waiting for? Honestly, I’m waiting for it to be easier. I’m waiting for the ‘right’ motivation. I’m probably waiting for the chocolate to kick in.

But I have a list. I have a goal. I want to Keep Fighting instead of keep bending over backwards and feeling worthless.

So, let’s do this thing. Who’s with me?

Photo Credit:
Andrei Lazarev
Siavash Ghanbari
Philipp Wüthrich
Gabriela Braga

©2019 Chelsea Owens

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I Don’t Want to Die But I Hate Living

Sometimes I’ve thought about how others would react if I passed away. Everyone’s had that thought I’m sure. Wondering who would cry or who would attend the funeral. It’s hard not to imagine the church setting empty during your funeral. It was a long time before I felt people in my life would get upset if I died. I never thought of killing myself, but I never thought anyone cared if I was alive or dead. Finding the motivation to keep going every day with those thoughts can be difficult. I don’t know how I worked through that.

Now that I know people, I have people who would mourn my absence if I passed, I still struggle with motivation. I know those closest to me love me, but I’m not happy with my life. I’ve felt trapped in a hole for too long and there’s often no escape. I keep going somehow but I hate living. I hate that I can’t receive my basic needs. I don’t want to live in a world I can’t afford to live in. Will things turn around for me this Summer? At least I’m saving money but most of it will disappear if I don’t have a job in the fall.

I have many passions and many reasons to keep going. Pursuing those passions does not always sustain my finances. If anything, it costs more to be creative with little return. No appreciation. No support. It’s hard to continue doing what you love when no one loves you for doing it. I’m taking steps to change my situation. The future is still unclear, but I’m feeling positive. If I plan well enough, I can do what I love in a sustainable way. I can pay my bills with my passions.

It will be a long time before I’m 100% self-employed, but I can see the light at the end of tunnel. It’s years away, but I can see it. I don’t want to die because my goals are reachable. I don’t want to die because I never want to hurt my friends that much. I have many reasons to keep going. I’m holding on to all those reasons as long as I can. I’m forcing myself not to give up. My fear is what will cause me to give up. What will make me decide living is too much? I hope I never find out.

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A New Bipolar Writer Blog Milestone

12,000 Followers on The Bipolar Writer Blog

I always celebrate the significant milestones of the Bipolar Writer blog. I know I am not around as much, but I wanted to say The Bipolar Writer blog has reached the 12,000 followers milestone!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone following this blog and keeping it going. To my contributors, thank you for being there even when I can not by creating valuable mental health content. Let us celebrate our mental health advocacy, mental illness, and mental health recovery wellness.

Always Keep Fighting

James, and the Contributors of The Bipolar Writer blog

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Talking to People is Getting Easier

I often struggle with talking to other people. I hate small talk. I don’t like talking to strangers. Once I get to know someone, I’m willing to talk to them, but not much. It takes a while to feel comfortable with people. If I had the choice, I would only talk to a couple of people. I’m told this is not healthy behavior. Part of it stems from my lack of trust in others. I have a few thoughts when someone approaches me. “Why are they talking to me?” “What do they want?” I immediately assume the worst.

This isn’t so much a lack of trust in all people. I’ve had the misfortune of being around people who wanted to use me as a means to an end. That’s been my experience when dealing with others. I assume everyone is trying to get something from me. I’m still baffled when someone says they enjoy my company. It’s hard for me to believe them. In trying to change this behavior, I started telling myself that it didn’t matter if they used me as long as I got something out of it too. I did feel used, but I enjoyed other’s company while I was used.

It was easier to think this than to feel used. It was a coping mechanism. I had to think of a benefit for myself to avoid the negative thoughts I often had. I fail at this sometimes. The biggest issue was not having someone to confide in or with which to vent. Sometimes that’s all I need to feel better about a situation. If I don’t feel close to someone, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my troubles with them. It’s a hard place to live. I’ve finally found a few people that care about me and want what’s best for me. I’m still not used to this.

I find myself having small pointless conversations with strangers and not feeling uncomfortable. Is this how normal people interact? Is this socializing? I’m never certain. I have yet to find someone that I immediately become friends with. I’m still distant with others until I get to know them. I suspect I always will be this way. My main point is it’s getting easier to talk to people, both strangers and my friends. I’m not sure if I’ll ever become a sociable individual. I’ll keep working on this, but I also like my solitude. I enjoy not talking to others. Will that ever change?

I Gave the Demon a Name

Recently, one of my closest friends told me I had many friends. I half-jokingly said she was the only one I liked, and the rest were crap. Her reply to that was unexpected. She told me I needed a daily mantra. Before going to bed, she said I should look in the mirror and say, “I like myself. I love myself. I deserve good things.” I promised her I would try. She told me to say it three times. She then assured my that Bloody Mary won’t get me. I said I’d summon Bloody Mary and we’d both say the mantra.

I tried this mantra that night. I looked in the mirror. It was uncomfortable. I normally have no issues looking at myself. This time I did. I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud, but I said them in my mind. By the third time, I fought back tears. Why was saying those three sentences so difficult? I told my friend I did what she said, and it was more difficult than expected. She said I had to do it every day and she cried the first time. I told her I cried.

This was the first time a friend or family member told me to change how I speak to myself. You hear doctors or celebrities say these things all the time. This was a shocking realization. I discovered I didn’t like myself. Despite all the work I did for many years building my confidence and moving to a place where I thought I liked myself. I still don’t. I used to hate myself. I have improved. I have made progress, but I have a long way to go yet. I thought more about how I speak to myself and about myself.

If someone else said negative words to me, it might hurt but I’d eventually ignore them. Or I’d tell myself they’re having a bad day and lashed out. When I say negative things to myself, I accept it as truth. How do I move away from such ideas? I decided to put a name to those negative thoughts. If I name it and treat it like another person, I think I can stop listening to those words. If I separate it from myself, I’ll no longer treat it as truth. So, I gave my inner demon a name. I’m not sharing that name. That’s my personal demon and no one else’s.

I will no longer say, “I’m being negative.” It’s the demon feeding me negativity. Some days are still difficult. Sometimes you get trapped in a negative loop and can’t get out. You eventually do. Calling it something else makes it easier to fight. Easier for me anyway. This may not work for everyone. This can work with writing letters to yourself only now you can use a different name. I don’t hate myself. I hate you the demon inside me and I want you out. I want you gone! So, I gave the demon a name. Because you have to know the demon’s name before you can fight them.

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Reasons To Live

It is completely acceptable to stay alive for tiny reasons. Because you want to hear your favorite song one more time. Because your pet will miss you if you leave. The moon is just too pretty to never see. The beautiful sunsets are just too precious to never see again. Because you haven’t seen the next season of a really good TV show. Because you want to see the Christmas lights this year. If you are alive, you are doing enough.

So we push, to tear down the walls. Of the box that life has left us in to keep us away. And now we push to stay together. Know that nobody is going to save us from ourselves. The bad memories will knock us down. The good memories will lift us up. If you are surviving, just know that I am proud of you.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca.

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I Can Only Hope

I hope you finally get released from all the things that hold you bondage when it comes to receiving, and reciprocating, love – and the acts thereof. I hope your ears come to admire your favorite songs again – without the painful memories that the passing of time has attached to them. I hope you get to be comfortable with the parts of your body that were once held by the wrong hands. I pray that you finally get cleansed in the processing of washing yourself off other people’s stains. I hope you realize that you’re deserving of all the things you receive, even the ones you don’t ask for. I hope you finally get to release people you have held in your heart for longer than was necessary. I hope the weight of waiting doesn’t discourage you from trying. I hope you don’t fail at this healing thing, but if it happens that you do (which is probably most likely), I hope you find the will to try again. I hope all of this happens to you while you still have the advantage of age. If not, I hope you find solace in the reality that things work out for the better of us all when we breathe and try. I hope all of this for you, and for me.

Thank you for being with me. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca

Morgan’s Interview Feature

Starting this month I will be reposting each of my interviews of the “Interview Feature” series. This was something I started in 2017, and while I have not the time at the moment to write new ones, I am planning on writing a book with many interviews in the future if I can get my Patreon account. With that said, here is the first one I ever wrote.

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Morgan’s Interview Feature

Since the inception of my blog The Bipolar Writer it has been my goal to write the stories of others like myself. I have written my own story in my memoir (also entitled The Bipolar Writer) and sharing my experiences on my blog. Every human experience in having to live with a mental illness is unique to that human being and the suffering from it is also unique. It is why I believe it is imperative that I share other’s stories, so here is the story of one brave mental illness sufferer—Morgan who lives in Australia.

The daily struggle of waking up every day to a mental illness can be a struggle and for Morgan, it is no different. Morgan has always felt that her daily mental illness struggle is a hard one, and had this to say, “My mental illness has always been very affected by what’s going on around me, some days it much worse than others.”

We all have that story of when we went from the unknown to the known with our diagnosis. Surrounded by the people Morgan loved on her twenty-first birthday, it became clear to her that in that moment she could barely acknowledge the event and a feeling of numbness. Only broken by the speech of her godparents and seeing the face of a filmmaking mentor, seemed to register to Morgan that day. “I was very lucky that afterward a very close friend, who suffered from anxiety herself, stayed behind and I decided to tell her how I felt,” she recalls.

Sometimes it takes just one person to listen before you realize you need help.

It was here that Morgan, after talking with her friend who recommended that she seek help, that she made the decision we all face. Two weeks later she was diagnosed with severe generalized anxiety and moderate to severe depression.

We all have a history, a time before our diagnosis where we had little to no understanding of what was going on in our lives, and Morgan remembers many times since she was a child that anxiety was a constant and silent companion. Morgan describes her early experiences as just a part of her personality growing up, a common thought during the early stages of anxiety. Like most things with a mental illness, her anxiety grew over time.

AnxietyasPartofPersonality

Morgan remembers that her anxiety was always there with her since she was a child, and at times she felt more anxious than other times, but the feeling never left her. Morgan recalls her memories with anxiety in an interesting way, but not uncommon, “I have no memory of not having anxiety, which is not surprising seeing as many people on my mother’s side of the family suffer from it.”

Anxiety is often the silent partner for the sufferer, and you hardly know it’s there until it makes it presence known. Identifying other family members when looking back your history of the causes of anxiety in their own life is common, and it no surprise that Morgan can link anxiety through her experiences with her family.

Death is an important part of our lives, and the inevitable part of life is that you will lose someone close to you, for someone with a mental illness this can be devastating. It was this way in Morgan’s life, and it was important enough that she brought it up in her interview with me, “My anxiety definitely became much worse after the death of my father and the suicide of someone I had grown up with within two months of each other when I was nineteen.”

The feelings associated with death in the mind of someone who is devastated with anxiety, depression, and grief can make a person with mental illness turn to the only thing they truly know when it comes to emotions—deeper feelings into the depths of depression—of feeling lost and alone.

“I experienced my first panic attack after their deaths, and I would go on to experience both moderate and severe ones in the years that followed,” Morgan explains.

For Morgan, depression was a much different beast, but still important. Looking back, Morgan can trace her first feelings of prolonged depressive moods to age ten or eleven, when her family issues started to affect her life. Her father was in early stages of vascular dementia which caused Morgan’s father to get easily frustrated with his family. At the age Morgan was at, having to go through puberty while dealing with depression, made it hard for Morgan’s childhood to be a normal one.

Depression would become a factor along with physical pain that affected her in school work over the course of her young and teenage life.

There are so many triggers in one’s life that can start a depressive episode, and Morgan recalls several in her life. One constant problem in Morgan’s life is that her physical problems have always triggered depression episodes. “During puberty, I began to experience severe stomach pain and nausea on and off, within a year lightheadedness and fatigue became frequent symptoms,” Morgan remembers growing up.

It was the beginning of what would become a trend in Morgan’s life with her physical problems causing depression that, in turn, affected her schooling. With her depression came plummeting school work and effectiveness in school over the years as a teen. It culminated for Morgan in her final year where once again her unknown mental illness issues made things impossible, “Even though I had amazing teachers, my prestigious school could only compromise so much, and halfway through my final year, I was told I wasn’t able to graduate.”

DepressionandPain

How can anyone, let alone someone who is dealing with the dark places depression can take you to, deal with this kind of heartbreak? Morgan remembers what it felt like, “I can remember thinking about ways to die most days.”

This feeling of wanting to die when faced with such emotional pain is common among those within the mental health community. It is easy to empathize with Morgan because at one point many of us have had to deal with this feeling. Some, like myself, have given into suicidal idealizations. For Morgan, even with her growing mental illness problems, she had to choose and she chose to work on her physical health.

People can also be major triggers of depression in the life of someone with a mental illness, and often they leave the deepest of emotional scars on our lives. When Morgan’s parents first sent her to group therapy as a young impressionable teen, it was far from the normal. Morgan describes the group therapy that parents put her into as an alternative and “hippy” where other kids that had been through the program would come back to help. The problem? Most of the kids were still dealing with their own problems and still in need of help. It is here that Morgan first met an older boy who changed her—and not for the better.

Morgan recalls this relationship as unstable and one she couldn’t live without at the time.

“I developed a very strong crush on one of the older boys who were there to help, and he quickly realized how he could use my emotional feelings to manipulate me.”

Over the next four years of her teenage life, she stayed in touch with this boy, and she recalls that during this period of her life, her depression mood swings went from occasional to a constant menace. Morgan remembers the negative thoughts that this boy brought to her life, “One of my strongest memories of him now is the text messages telling me how much pain I was causing others by being in their lives, and how I was worthless.” For Morgan, this was a daily occurrence and a recognizable one for many dealing with a mental illness.

Dark Shadows Sweater Evening Hoodie People Night

This boy confirmed every fear and anxious thought that Morgan ever had about herself, but the connection had always been there for Morgan, and cutting off this person from her life was filled with difficulties. As humans with a mental illness, we often attach ourselves to situations where it only serves to further our negative thoughts. We feel as if we are not good enough for the world, so these relationships, no matter how destructive, can lead to deeper attachments.

Eventually, on her sixteenth birthday, Morgan finally cut off all contact and ended a relationship filled with emotional cuts that stayed with her for many years.

Not all people that come into the lives of someone with a mental illness are negative influences. In her journey, Morgan has found two people at school that became saviors in her life and they are still a positive influence. In her late teen years, Morgan found the strength to fight her ups and downs with depression with filmmaking and found solace in her friend Alice who became her rock after her father’s death. When Morgan finally sought help it became clear that her past was affecting her future, and since has grown with her experiences.

“I’d known since I was twelve that I had some form of depression, after all, most of my symptoms matched the ones I’d heard of in group therapy, but getting my official diagnosis of anxiety was life-changing.”

These days Morgan gets through her daily struggles with the help of important medications like anti-depressants and breathing exercises that she learned in cognitive behavioral therapy to help cope with anxiety. Morgan also credits a strong support system of family and quality friends who not only know what is wrong with her but offer help in her those times of great need, supporting her along her journey.

When Morgan has a panic attack, she has learned to tell herself, “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

In Morgan’s life, she has found solace in the things that make her life worth living. Close personal friends that are always there for her. Morgan’s boyfriend of eighteen months has seen the worst of her diagnosis and is still is a constant patient and supportive influence every day. Throughout her life, she has been lucky to have her parents that always encouraged her creativity and dreams. It was Morgan’s mother who fostered her creativity, “My mother passed on her love of art and cafes, and we still share wonderful deep emotional conversations together, which are the main ways I process life.”

Of course, Morgan has her cat, Alistair (a Dragon Age reference perhaps) who is always a wonderful distraction from the rest of the world.

In every journey of a human being going through a mental illness you can find real wisdom in the struggle, and Morgan wants her story to be one of many that will help with the goals she sets out to tell her story here on The Bipolar Writer blog, “One of my biggest goals is to reduce the stigma around taking medication. I chose not to take medication for a long time, and it’s one of my biggest regrets I have in life.”

Morgan also believes that the stigma that comes with having a mental illness keeps teens and young adults from seeking help. Morgan recalls when she first started to realize that she was dealing with depression, she saw daily shirts that said, “Cheer Up Emo Kid” which were quite popular in Australia. These types of stereotypes in Morgan’s mind further the stigma that just smiling should be enough to cure you. No one human being chooses to have a mental illness and it can be scary to even think about getting help, but Morgan believes she can change this by telling her story.

“If I could choose this life, I thought, why the hell would you think I would choose this? It is very important to realize your mental illness is not your fault, but you can do something about it.”

In this mental illness life, there is always someone to talk to, a professional or a friend that you can trust. If Morgan could change one other thing about the stigma that comes with a mental illness it would be this, “It’s important to know that there is help out there, even if you aren’t well enough to seek it out in this moment.”

Many of human beings that will be featured on The Bipolar Writer blog cite their creating content on their blogs as one of the biggest thing that makes life worth living. Morgan calls her blog a place of solace that helps keep her steady,

“My blog keeps me from going insane by giving me a little goal to achieve every day, whether it’s replying to comments, writing a new blog post, or promoting on social media.”

Creativity

Morgan is a filmmaker and writer who was diagnosed with endometriosis at seventeen and depression and generalized anxiety at twenty-one. She uses her creativity as an essential part of her healing process.

You can find Morgan’s blog at:

www.fistfulofglittersite.wordpress.com

Written by J.E. Skye

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Interviewee: Morgan

Official Launch of the James Edgar Skye Patreon Account

It was always the goal for me to write full-time. It has always been a dream of mine to be financially stable enough to write full-time. I have been a struggling writer for a long time, and my experiences with my mental illness have been shared here so many times here on my blog. I do struggle holding down a full-time job and my work with freelance has been up and down. With the change of medication, and the fact that I am feeling much better it is time to officially launch my Patreon account.

Become a Patron!

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a way for artists like me to connect to my readers in a real way, and at the same time, it offers tiers for special offers that keep you in the loop of what I am working on a the moment.

This is the official look at what a Patreon account looks like: Patreon is a crowdfunding membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service, with ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or “patrons”.

Become a Patron!

What does it Mean for J.E.?

If I can get my Patreon account going, it means a lot of things. The first is working on my current writing projects full-time and have enough money to hire a top-tier copy editor, so that when I self-publish The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir it is the best possible product. It will give me the time to create a book about the members of the mental illness community beyond just my memoir. I want to start a podcast that will show the many phases of mental ilness and people’s experience.

Once I meet my goals, I will be able to offer merchandise and, of course, copies of my books. I can do so many great things for the mental illness community. There are so many great things I can accomplish. The lowest tier is $2 and $5. I know I have asked a lot of the mental illness community of late and this is just something I have good feeling inside my heart

If you can help that would be amazing. I am genuinely in awe of people in the mental illness community. If you have questions about how to sign up and join a tier please reach out. It can be a confusing process.

Update: I got my first three patrons. I am really excited.

Always Keep Fighting

James

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Time Anxiety – The Panic Behind Being Late

I wanted to share this guest blog post from Nikki, a fellow mental health blogger. This is the second guest from Nikki. You can find her @ https://digitalbutterfly.life

( A Guest Blog Post)

Time Anxiety – The Panic Behind Being Late

Keeping to a routine and following a schedule are key things which help me balance my anxiety, but they also cause me one of the greatest problems. Time Anxiety. 

This may not be a medical term, but it’s part of my Generalized Anxiety Disorder and something I struggle to get to grips with. 

Over the years I’ve done Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), delving into my inner thoughts and unconscious beliefs about myself. But I never considered looking into this trigger. Why does being late or even the idea of it, send me into such a panic?

Timing with Children

I’m always clock watching. Perhaps that’s part of being a parent? School drop off and pick up, after school clubs, parents’ evenings, nap times, meal times, bed times. Everything has a time association. And if you’re late, there’s a consequence. 

God help me if my youngest doesn’t eat on time. He becomes over hungry and grumpy as hell, which means he won’t eat anything. Then he’s even hungrier which means he won’t sleep properly. Consequently, I get no sleep, I’m exhausted and I can’t cope with things as easily the next day. 

If my eldest is late for school, he’s the one who gets the yellow card, not me. My incompetency as a parent to get him to school on time would affect his ability to have playtime at school. And I don’t want that. 

A Time Focused Life

But isn’t everything in life built around time? Meetings at work, project deadlines, appointments. If you’re late, there are repercussions. Missed bonuses, delayed treatments, job loss! 

Even relaxing things have a time constraint. Going on vacation? Make sure you don’t miss your plane! Going to a concert? Make sure you get in before the doors close! It’s no wonder I’m anxious about being late. 

Other-Half Timing

But it’s not just being late myself that stresses me out. It’s others around me too. My husband is the worst culprit. He’s generally late. But he doesn’t care. He poodles along at his laid-back pace, jumping in the shower 5 minutes before we are due to be somewhere. He whistles as he gets ready, without a care in the world, while I’m having an internal meltdown. I check my watch constantly in fantastical hope that time will freeze or go backwards and we won’t be late. I tap my foot and sigh loudly. My heart’s racing, my jaw clenching and my thoughts spiralling repetitively.

“We’re going to be late. We’re going to be late

We generally are. And what happens? Apart from us arguing, NOTHING. If we miss the train, we get another one. If we miss an appointment, we re-book. Late to a party, no-one cares!

Finding an Answer

If my husband can be so nonchalant about time, why can’t I? Why I am I unable to mentally differentiate between truly urgent timescales and routine based timescales. Those which, if missed, wouldn’t be the end of the world. Why do I panic if I don’t get the washing in the machine at a certain time or don’t leave the house at a certain time to get to the shop? 

Control perhaps. Anxiety makes me feel completely out of control and time is one of those things in life, that you can’t control. You never know what’s around the corner that could affect your perfectly laid plans. 

Or perhaps, yet again, it boils down to my underlying core-belief, that I am a failure. And every time I’m late, even if it’s just to do my own washing, it re-confirms that belief. 

I’ve failed to feed my children. I’ve failed to provide enough clean clothes. I’ve failed as a mother.
I’ve failed to be heard by my husband. I’ve failed to gain his respect. I’ve failed as a wife
.

It’s a bleak subconscious mind which constantly believes it’s failing. 

Now that I seem to have uncovered a possible reason for my time anxiety, perhaps it’s time to return to my lessons from CBT. Bring my dark thoughts before my mental jury and challenge them. 

Nikki is a mental health blogger and freelance writer at https://digitalbutterfly.life