It’s hard to pin point exactly when my inner voice turn from a Sunshine Sally to a Negative Nelly. The fact is that this is something that people with anxiety disorder have to deal with often. With my type of anxiety disorder, there is often a barrage of thoughts. You suck, you are a failure, you can’t do anything right, no one could possibly love you. The narrative can change on the situation and the thoughts can be repetitive. It’s not necessarily constant, and I am learning to turn down the volume on my negative nelly, but the fact remains that it’s just part of my life. What was really not helpful is that I spent many years in the presence pf a person who fed on those insecurities, and assaulted my ears with near constant complaining about my inadequacies.
The reason I feel compelled to write about it this week is that there was an situation this week that truly highlighted to me, both how far I have come and how much further I have to go.
Walking back from the work event with with Joker, I was struck with a sense of panic. I start a mental review of the day and feel that there are at least fifty things that I have done incorrectly that will have caused me to be received poorly, or Joker to be embarrassed and/or upset. I realize that this is the point in the night that I usually begin to receive a critique. I am waiting for Joker to give me feedback on everything that I have done that is incorrect or offensive.
It doesn’t come.
In fact, as I start spouting off apologies I realize Joker is giving me a weird look. He interrupts me and asks me to hold his hands and look into his eyes. He thanks me for joining him, for loving him, and tells me that I am a huge hit amongst those I met today. It’s strange for me that nearly all of Joker’s friends like me, but no one has given me any indication that they do not. Logically I can see that. I take a deep breath. My initially response is to dismiss it, but in a change of heart I allow it to sink in. I allow myself the possibility that I am intelligent, kind, sweet, loving, empathetic, and a person that other people could at least tolerate if not enjoy being around.
I’ve come a long way.
I still have a long way to go.
To use the over-quoted “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Maybe there is hope for me yet.