I had a tough weekend. It started off badly with a friend contacting my brother to check up on me, which rocked the walls of the little cave I’ve built for myself. And then something happened with my safe person that made me feel very unsafe. The dark voice inside my head kept repeating “He’s using me. He’s using me, and now he’s trying to pay me. I’m not a f***ing prostitute”. Some of the same thoughts I’ve had to rein in before, but taken to a new level.
I chose to withdraw rather than unleash a tantrum, and spent much of yesterday crying and just generally feeling awful. I felt angry at myself for trusting someone and allowing myself to feel safe, because I should have realized that everyone really is out to hurt me. Why did I let down my barriers, why this, why that. Vulnerability is not okay.
I woke up this morning feeling somewhat more human. In a brief moment of wanting to be mature, I emailed him to apologize for going MIA, saying that I was feeling upset but needed to figure it out in my own head. He responded and said I could go ahead and tell him whenever I felt ready, so I let ‘er rip.
My ugly, messy, depressive thoughts coalesced in email form, and I hit send. The response I got surprised me, although it probably shouldn’t have. Totally supportive. Glad that I’d opened up. Wanted me to tell him right away if those kinds of thought distortions come up in the future so we can work through them together. As I was reading this I was crying and my head was spinning. Was this what it feels like for vulnerability to be okay?
I recently watched an amazing TED Talk by Brene Brown about vulnerability. She said a willingness to be vulnerable underpins our ability to feel worthy and experience love and belonging. She encouraged us to allow ourselves to be vulnerably seen. And maybe I did that, at least a little bit. It was scary as hell, but maybe that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Embrace Acceptance: A Guided Journal draws on concepts from acceptance and commitment therapy to help you move towards a place of greater acceptance. It’s available free from the MH@H Download Centre.