A couple days ago I did a post on the popular “If you want to be happy, lower your expectations,” of recent months. I only thought of desires, lifestyles, and other experiences. Happiness is from what we accomplish & attain, obviously. Or not. Today I learned differently when in my weekly therapy session. Today I learned things can also cause the stress of expectation.
Now, this has proven to be hard to explain, it took three tries to when trying to tell Miles the gist of it, three rounds of trying to describe this concept so this may sound convoluted, but stick with me here.
About 15 minutes after we started the session, he first said the phrase, “That has a lot of expectations on you.” It took me a minute, my story was about a book, nothing with an active personality surely. I mean, it was a book bought by my husband about a year ago. When I was so psychotic, my identity was considerably lost. It’s called ‘The Me Journal.’ You fill out multiple choice and fill in the blanks, a couple short essays, so you can presumably wave the book in the air and declare it to be you.
I loved this book, still do really, but actually filling it in is difficult. Things were changing all the time, and I wasn’t comfortable writing down who I felt I was, be it as a child, sane, or generally lost. Why would I fill it in? My anxieties were/are a worry about writing only to see how nuts I was, or that I’ll do it and things will change, so it’s not true anymore. With my medications ending their 19 months of constant changes I feel I have a chance to learn about myself, but I’d prefer an erasable pen. This book, two years unused, expects me to do what I said I would. When I see it, I feel a pressure, lessened over the years, but it’s still there. That’s the expectation that is causing strife and adds to my self-esteem. That’s what he was talking about, I’m 90% sure.
My take on it, and probably his point, is that when we buy, decide, or otherwise mark the start of a task/lifestyle/goal we added expectations to our life. This expands to other parts in my life, particularly food. Food & I have a love-hate relationship, mostly anxiety driven. All this new topic of expectation types began with me proudly proclaiming my diet & other goals and him being concerned about me. He’s concerned that I have a goal journal that I’ll beat myself up for, that I have a diet plan that will likely kick off my eating disorder and he was right, but I wasn’t ready to share that yet. He’s concerned that I will continue this cycle of expecting too much of myself and getting so anxious I can’t eat at all or retreat to negative space. He’s concerned about how hard I go for things and how little I think of what would be good for me as a whole. Even meditation became an anxiety stressor, if I didn’t do it I was not trying to get better, no matter what else I did.
So he & I have some goals that we are working on together to start mitigating the influence of my childhood reactions. That and the general obsessive thinking part of bipolar There are no eating or workout goals suggested outside of trying to be generally healthy. Another requirement is to not set a goal that will have me diving into one subject after another, nothing is the goal. I’m not a very nothing person. However, I’ve had a long road from my first brush with mania & psychosis. I’m still on it, and despite recent medication success, I am not ready to be running out the door. I still feel like I should be looking for my future career, training for various ones, and do everything in one year, even though all the above reasons suggest I absolutely should not. I need to lose this, “If I start it I finish in damn the consequences.” See that? That’s my goal. To stop that.
An example our house isn’t organized, not really, because I have a ‘chaotic personality’ – husband or 97th percentile tolerance of disorder – neuropsych Let me note that it is clean but cluttered. However, when my mind starts spinning, and I see clutter it ratchets up the intensity, and I HAVE to clean everything. If I start it I finish in damn the consequences. See that? That’s my goal. To stop that.
This month my goals have to do with various parts of my life activities and look to see if it’s something I truly had to do, wanted to do, or liked to do. Those are the goals, to figure out what comes next if I can lessening the ” I have to do it, therefore it will be done.” part of my mentality. Letting myself take a break, even if it’s traditional working hours, I don’t have to work that much anymore, much less 5 days a week. Since I’ve left office work this should not be a thing, yet it is. Honestly, at this point, I feel worthless unless I’m productive. Now I will find something that makes me feel productive that I actually like. I need to take this new freedom and new permission to give myself a danged break without feeling guilty about it in itself or that it’s during office hours.
Think about those things or activities that you don’t like or aren’t even sure will benefit you, can you stop?
Current Weight Track: 181lbs, -5.4 total. Today was a cheat day so expect an increase tomorrow, there was taiyaki. I can only be so strong.
Side Story: I have a friend from China who recommended that I wear as much red as possible to help me with the bad luck that comes with it being your ‘birth year’ or the day your zodiac matches with the New Year. Well, 2019 & I are both Year of the Pig which signifies much bad luck headed my way. Woohoo!
Helpful articles about your relationship with food: