Don't worry, this isn't going to be a super depressing post...well maybe it will be in one or two ways. The end of May I binge watched 13 Reasons Why and it definitely brought up a lot of pain for me which I guess you could say was triggering. Both old and new pain. Old pain from when I went through a really dark phase last summer and new pain because I had a pretty severe mental breakdown last Friday (meaning the Friday before I wrote this post. May 12th if you want to be specific). Don't worry, I'm not hurt...well, not physically anyways. Mentally and emotionally I am in immense pain and exhaustion. Watching 13 Reasons Why probably had something to do with that. No amount of sleep will ever fix the pain I am in. Sleep doesn't help when it's your soul that is tired.
I have had Major Depressive Disorder (now Persistent Depressive Disorder) since 2015. And last year was one of the darkest years of my life in terms of my mental health (you'll get a better explanation of that time in September). I did some pretty messed up shit to myself (nothing related to smoking, drinking or doing drugs) and I probably scared my parents for life with the things I have said when I am going through a depressive episode.
Watching 13 Reasons Why has made me realize the effects that suicide has on people, in ways I never understood before. Sure, I had seen how it affected the families of my friends Isabel and David via social media but I've never really experienced that pain of loosing someone to suicide the way I did when I watched 13 Reasons Why (Empath problems). Hannah Baker and I share so many similarities and watching what she did to herself was like watching me to it to myself. It also made me hate myself for almost doing what she did.
That's the pain I am in right now. I absolutely hate myself for having been suicidal. I can't seem to forgive myself for feeling the way that I have. I know it's not my fault and yes, I am going to therapy. My parents and some of my friends forgive me, but how can I forgive myself? So that's what I'm going to talk about today. How to forgive yourself and how to let go.
1. Become clear on your morals and values as they are right now
We all feel guilty for what we have done in the past. We feel guilty because those past actions are not in line with our current morals and values. Our past wrongs can actually be a clue into what we think is important. For me, I think that every life is important. And that no one should ever feel like they are alone because God knows, I have felt like that too many times in my life. By discovering what our morals and values are, we can start to see a clearer picture as to "why" we're hurting over what we've done, or what others did to us.
2. Realize that the past is the past
Before you can forgive, you must accept. This seems fairly straightforward, but when we can really wrap our mind around the fact that we can’t undo the past, the past is done, those things happened, we open ourselves up to more acceptance. Increased acceptance can lead to the emotional healing we are all looking for. Remember what Elsa said in Let It Go, "I'm never going back. The past is in the past. Just let it go!"
3. Create a "re-do"
Never ever ever underestimate the power of a "re-do". Make a list of what you would do differently if you could go back and relive whatever lead you to this dark abyss. In doing so, we affirm that we not only learned from our past mistake, but that if we had the skills we have now, back then, we would have done things differently. And if you somehow end up in this situation again, just look back at that "re-do" list.
4. Realize you did the best you could at the time
The way we respond depends on the skills we have at the time, the frame of mind we’re in at that given point, and how we perceive the situation at that moment. Maybe we didn’t have as much objectivity, or acted out of survival or protection mode. Maybe we'd let stress build up, which put us at a higher risk of responding poorly. Whatever the factors, cut yourself a break. If you learn from it, it was never in vain.
5. Start acting in accordance with your morals and value
The best thing you can do for yourself in order to forgive is start replacing the negative behavior and thoughts with more appropriate ones that are congruous with your morals and values. So create a list of daily goals and do them, one by one. This can lead to a sense of pride, which is a huge part of building self-esteem and learning how to forgive yourself again.
6. Identify your biggest regrets.
Make a list or a graph of the things you regret doing. And then try your best to remember whatever led you to make that choice which you now regret. This can help you identify the types of patterns you end up in and then you can make positive ways to change them. Like for me, I tend to overreact or say things on impulse. So I need to take a breath, count to ten...or fifty before I say something. Or I just need to call "mango" on said situation and walk away from it.
7. Tackle the big ones
Always tackle your biggest regrets first. These are going to require the most work. This is what I like to call, "clearing your conscience." This could mean going to the people you hurt and apologizing to them, it could mean going to rehab, or actually admitting that you need help.
8. Turn the page
Your story isn't over yet. There is so much left that is still unwritten. Stop rereading the chapters that are all dark and twisty and fucked up. Turn the page and accept those events as part of your story. They've all contributed to making you who you are. Being grateful for those experiences allows you to move on and truly forgive yourself.
9. Cut yourself some slack
When we first learned to ride a bike most of us had training wheels on for a while. And when we were finally ready to tackle a two wheeler, you soon realized that it would probably take many tries before you got good at it. New behavior and thinking patterns are no different. Both are skills. Cut yourself some slack while you’re on a new learning curve. Realize that you’re going to make mistakes. We all do. It's part of being human.
10. Move toward self-love
The first step in self love is forgiving yourself for whatever heinous crime you committed to yourself. Think kind thoughts toward yourself and show yourself some compassion. Hang positive affirmations around your house or apartment. If we can learn to think of ourselves as our best friend, to speak to ourselves with love and kindness, and put ourselves as a priority, it reaffirms that we believe we are worth it. Some books that I recommend are Believe You Can by John Mason and Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.
It's a long process. Forgiving yourself. But you can do it.
Nothing is permanent in this wicked world. Not even our troubles.
~ Charlie Chaplin
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