Friday, August 29, 2014

Battling shame

Now that I'm back in the full swing of school there is less time for writing on here, but I'm still trying to write something about once a week just to keep the momentum going.  This past week has been better overall with the negative thinking, and I'm getting back in the swing of things with school.  One of the biggest struggles I have going on right now would be the fact that I'm trying to change some habits around eating and exercise.

In therapy the other day I realized, once again, how difficult it is for me to let myself be human and imperfect.  I have no problem allowing that to others, but not so much for myself.  I had so much trouble just talking about wanting to eat better and exercise more.  I was ashamed of the fact that I have put on some weight over the last several years and don't always make the best choices when it comes to what I eat and drink.  Shame is a feeling that comes up often for me, and it came up again this week in therapy when talking about this topic.  Shame is not something I like to admit to, but I know it's a common experience for people who live with depression and other mental illnesses.  The truth is that it is deeply ingrained in me that there is something wrong with me. It is just something I have to grapple with on a fairly regular basis.  This despite the massive amounts of evidence in my life to the contrary.  That's the depression in action.

I know that with shame the best thing to do is put it out there.  Keeping things inside only makes me feel more isolated and alone.  Exposing shame to light takes away some of  it's power, admitting to how I really feel often empowers me.  My shame often comes from the fact that I feel different, alone, or like I'm the only one that struggles with whatever it is that I'm struggling with.  My therapist asked me if I thought I was the only one who struggles with eating healthy and exercising.  It was kind of comical because of course I know I'm not the only one.  And yet, at a feeling level I do feel that way sometimes.  There's a part of me that thinks I'm the only one who experiences any difficulty in life.  Again, the depression in action.

So I am trying to make some healthier choices and also not be so hard on myself when I don't do it perfectly.  One of the positive things I'm doing, that I actually started doing several months ago, is yoga.  Beginning to practice yoga has been really great for me.  In addition to it helping me get back into shape a bit more and gain some strength and flexibility, the spiritual aspect of yoga is really amazing.  The practice of yoga is like the opposite of shame.  The teachers will often say things about recognizing thoughts and feelings without judgment.  Some have even literally said to the class you are perfect just as you are.  It seems to be kind of the message and energy of people who teach yoga.  The clear message I always get when I'm in yoga is that I am perfectly fine just the way I am.  What an amazing and beautiful concept! 

So I will move imperfectly forward in my attempt to practice more healthy habits.  I will try and remind myself that I'm not alone, and that everyone struggles with something.  Nobody is immune to suffering and difficulty in life.  And most importantly, I will continue to write and talk about all of this both here and in other places.  The truth continues to be that I am perfectly imperfect, whether I'm feeling and believing it or not.   


  1. What came into my mind was: "Here we see through a mirror darkly, there face to face" <3

  2. Observing yourself without judgement. Great stuff, Danny.