Taming the “I hate myself”s in my head

 

I hate myself.

A horrible thing to say, right?

Well, in my head, I say this regularly. And by regularly, I mean every day.

It’s become so normal for me that it’s like a reflex. Often, I don’t even realize what I’m saying until after I’ve said it.

There doesn’t necessarily need to be a trigger. But I’ve noticed that these snippets of mental self-destruction come at two common times. I often get an attack of I hate myselfs in the morning. I think that’s because I still have so much trouble getting up. Like so many with depression, my bed can be my cocoon from the world. It’s very hard for me to leave it. Somehow, I hate getting up turns into I hate myself.

The other circumstance is when I’m frustrated. Since I have social anxiety disorder, it doesn’t take much to frustrate me. Last week, I got frustrated by the clanging bells of a Salvation Army vendor. I’m not kidding. I was walking to an appointment in downtown Boston, and then I heard those damn bells. I had to stop and find a corner where I could be alone. That’s not easy to do at mid-day in downtown Boston, but I did it. Unfortunately, I tried to calm down by saying I hate myself. Gee, what could go wrong there?

Needless to say, a moment of annoyance turned into a shitty afternoon. It took an unexpected call from a good friend to really calm me down.

I know it’s quite common for people with depression to say things like I hate myself. At my therapist’s suggestion, I’ve started tallying the number of times I say this. It’s hard to do an exact total, but my average is 10 times a day.

Do I really hate myself? I don’t think so. But this is not an easy habit to break. I am trying. Now, when those three self-destructive words pop into my head,  I’ll tell myself That’s not true or I love myself, even if I have to fake it. It’s one more example of how cunning depression can be. Here’s one thing that I seriously do hate: the energy it often takes to fight this beast.

But that does not mean that I hate myself. I just have to keep telling myself this until I finally believe it.

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