Yesterday I went to a group therapy session. Let me start by saying, YUCK. Yet, I need it right now so rather than focusing on how frustrated I am to be slipping, I’m trying to focus on the positive truth that I recognized I was slipping and was willing to seek help. But, still, YUCK.
The first thing that happens in this group is a ‘check-in’. For several minutes, no one spoke. It seemed we were all scared to be the first to speak “be first”. I couldn’t take the awkward silence so I jumped in with this: “In my mini-SEAL training yesterday, I struggled because I kept comparing myself and getting more and more dejected.”
Seems innocuous enough, right? It evens seems appropriate. But it definitely was NOT. It wasn’t that what I said that was wrong; it was why I said it that it was wrong.
My true motive sucked!
I knew immediately I had done something “wrong”. My gut twisted just a tiny bit. If I hadn’t been tuned into my body, I would have missed it. It wasn’t until I lay in my bed that night that I found the courage to analyze that “twist”.
I didn’t say earlier but this group revolves around disordered eating and body image. Last week (the week before I opened my mouth and inserted my foot), several group members talked about their struggle with movement and exercise. That is one area I have under control. I like exercise. I like having muscle that I can see and I like the endorphins that are released when I push myself.
I hate being in this group. It’s not the people – they are nice and accepting. My problem is that I NEED the group and that frustrates and embarrasses me. I don’t want to belongin the group.
My true motive was to prove to myself (and the members) that I’m better than them. My comment basically said, “See, I have my act together. You guys have problems but I’m working out with a SEAL.”
I want to scream “I don’t belong. I don’t need this. You need this but not me.”
God, that sounds awful. It feels awful to say it. It feels worse to know it’s true.
I could ignore the twist in my gut. I could certainly not write about it in a blog. But I’ve promised to be authentic in my struggles to accept myself. Accepting yourself involves knowing and accepting your true motives.
Now to the good news about this less than honorable motive. Because I was willing to sit in the discomfort of a twisting gut, because I was willing to accept my motives, because I was willing to analyze what I was really wanting to achieve, I can work on why I feel the need to “be better than”. I can work on why it’s hard to accept that maybe I do “need” this group. Or, I can discover this isn’t the group I need – maybe I don’t need any group or maybe I need a different group.
If I’d just ignored my gut’s message, I’d be sitting in the same group throwing up other comments to prove my better-than-ness. I’m not better-than. I’m different-than. And I accept that.
Calling it SEAL training is the ultimate in hyperbole. Sure, we did some “SEAL-like” activities but really it was really just a group fitness training led by a former SEAL. I modified when I needed to. There were some activities I just didn’t do. A true SEAL training session would kill me – literally. You do not want the safety of the USA to depend on me.
I do that a lot – when I’m feeling anxious about something, I exaggerate. That’s another gut twist I need to confront. YUCK.
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....