Today I was drawing out in public, and as I was working on the face of my portrait, someone walked behind me. As quickly as I could, I hugged my sketchpad to my chest to block their view. I was to late though, but the guy that walked by stopped and told me I was doing a good job. It was nice to hear but I hated the picture, I could find a million and one flaws. I realized then that I criticize everything I do, even if it looks pretty good to everyone else. I put so much pressure on myself and have such unrealistic expectations that it’s hard to ever like or be proud of anything I do.
After thinking about it for a while, I think I use it as a coping skill to feel in control. I have felt out of control sometimes, like I couldn’t control my brother’s outbursts or how many times he would end up in the hospital. I also couldn’t help what other people thought of me or thought of what I’ve done but I could control what I think of me and what I’ve done. Sometimes it was just easier to criticize myself because then, no matter what others said, they couldn’t hurt me because I already told myself everything they could use to insult me. I realized though, that criticizing myself and never being happy with what I’ve done isn’t healthy.
I have seen different forms of the same issue in my friends. For instance, eating disorders, because with eating disorders you control how much food goes into your body. It may not seem like much to control but when you feel like your life is really out of control, anything you can control is important. I can easily say from experience dealing with those issues and watching them happen to people I care about, that if you can avoid having those issues by telling someone, tell them.
I think that sometimes what you really need is to know someone understands you without judgement. I am lucky to have friends that I know won’t judge me and who have always boosted my self-esteem. I know it’s really hard to trust someone with something that scares you but it feels great when they tell you they understand. Even if they haven’t been through what you have, chances are that they have had to deal with issues somewhat like yours. Honestly, even if they haven’t been through what you have at least they would be there to support you, and that still makes things much easier. Sometimes it seems crazy but you probably do know someone going through the same thing but they hide it too.
For most issues, therapy really helps and it doesn’t just have to be talk therapy either. Depending on how severe, you might need more help than therapy can give alone but if you add therapy to other treatment, it could still be helpful. Also, using a healthy coping skill, especially when something or someone is triggering you should help to keep you from resorting to your old habits. If you know a friend or someone who is having difficulty and your not sure how to help, let them know you are there and that if they ever need to talk, they can come to you without worrying about being judged. If you think they are doing something really destructive then it would a good idea to tell someone like your parent(s).
I hope this helped and if you have any questions, I would love to answer them. Thanks!!