One of the hardest things about improving your mental health is recognizing the way you talk to yourself. It's so much background noise that it's hard to hear it. Why do we do the things we do? What are the hidden beliefs that motivate our behavior? This shit is hard to figure out.
After my first son was born, something wasn't right. I was incredibly anxious, worried that something terrible would happen to him or that someone would take him away from me. Unbidden, horrific images came to mind; I imagined myself intentionally or unintentionally hurting him. I thought that these thoughts were a sign that I wanted to hurt him. I kept them private because I was ashamed. When I finally went to counseling a year after his birth and confessed all to a therapist, she told me that actually this wasn't the case. What I was describing was a classic symptom of OCD. These images were a manifestation of my anxious feelings.
What I learned in therapy is to listen to my thoughts and to separate myself from them. It's still challenging, but I work on it by journaling, saying affirmations (even though they sounds stupid), and trying to re-frame ways of thinking these things. One thing I noticed: my insecurities sound less intimidating coming from someone else. If someone else was half as mean to me as I am to myself, I'd tell them to fuck right off. Which is why I gave a ceramic fairy figurine her own Twitter account.
I think someone gave this fairy to me for a birthday one year? My mother recently evicted it from her china cabinet, and I thought about tossing it, but instead I made her an evil fairy who torments me about my writing. I try to remember my negative self-talk around writing and have the fairy troll me. Then I can tell her to burn in hell. I can separate myself from this negative self-talk and not let it define me.
Blubel can troll you, too, if you're on Twitter. @blubelnanofairy
Here's a great Invisibilia podcast about OCD: https://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/375927143/the-secret-history-of-thoughts
And here's a By the Book podcast about self-talk: https://player.fm/series/by-the-book/what-to-say-when-you-talk-to-yourself