When I think all of what my life can be without you, I don’t have a tangible image. But I do sense that there will be a lot of pure love and joy. A lot of spontaneity and excitement. A lot of the feelings I once felt as a child.
When I went to therapy today, we didn’t talk about you, because there wasn’t much of a need. We had spent the past two weeks heavily processing my feelings, and the sessions had been extremely tough.
They were also essential. I needed to assume the “sick role.” I needed to really let someone take care of me and normalize my fears and mistakes, while at the same time, push me to change and better myself.
I’m not usually comfortable taking on this sick role. I’ve always been the healer–I’ve always been the ones for others to lean on, and as a result, I learned from a young age that I needed to be strong to protect myself. It’s easier if you don’t feel. And big girls don’t cry. You get the message. You cemented it into me.
But in therapy, we did talk about you in the sense of my future practicum work. I absolutely need to learn the meaning of self-care. Otherwise, not only will I burnout in my chosen profession, but I also face the risk of falling deeper into my maladaptive coping strategies. I know that if I do not learn how to really and truly grip on how I moderate stress, you will just get stronger.
I was talking about this with one of my best friends this afternoon. I’ve known this girl since I was fifteen, and in some senses, she’s the only friend I’ve ever been to take on this “sick role” with. Since we met, I have felt comfortable being fully honest and vulnerable around her without worrying about being judged or criticized. This is because she understands the value of unconditional positive regard.
She’s an extraordinary woman.
So, here we are talking about anxiety and managing stress.
Her response: I can tell when I get anxiety. And what that happens, I know I just need to rewind, get in bed, and relax.
So natural, right? She’s such a healthy and adjusted young woman, someone whom I’ve always admired (and not just because she knows how to manage her anxiety!) She takes care of her needs without relying on anyone else to do so. She does what feels good and avoids what doesn’t. Simple as that. She refuses to settle for less than what she deserves, and frankly, she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about it. This girl chases her dreams, and once a pursuit no longer serves her, she finds another option.
They say you are the sum of the people you surround yourself with: In this recovery process, I am learning to associate myself with the people who make me feel good, confident, and happy instead of those who make me feel dragged down, guilty, or insecure. I’ve spent so many years clinging onto the wrong friendships.
Today, I told her about this blog and I gave her the link to it. And even though she knows so much about my life, this is such a raw exposure into the private world I hid from most of the people I know. But she loves and accepts me for who I am and wants me to continue healing myself. She holds me in high regard and treasures our friendship as much as I do.
So if you’re reading this, my lovely and beautiful friend, thank you.
I’ve thanked you for MANY different things over the span of our friendship, but I don’t know if I’ve ever truly thanked you for just fully loving me, flaws, perks, and all. You inspire me to treat myself with the same kindness, respect, and love you treat yourself with. Keep shining because you have such an extraordinary soul. I am so grateful for our friendship, right down to the red scribbles.