Tag Archives: Philip Larkin

Mental Health: Man hands on misery to man

I’m not great right now and I’m blaming therapy. I’ve been merrily plodding on for months and months now. I’ve had the odd bad day dragging me down but not for long. My strategy of locking all my demons away has been working terrifically, so as long as I don’t actually think about anything other than the things I’m doing that day I’m ok. Sometimes the misery can overwhelm me though.

Then last week I started therapy. After some mental health assessments I’ve been prescribed some CBT and some intensive counselling which is great news, but it does mean I have to put my misery and my demons in their best party dresses and take them out for a spin every week for the next three months.

My therapy will focus on sorting out my self esteem (minuscule) and getting my critical voice to be a bit nicer to me. Fine. But what that means is I’m now looking at WHY my self esteem is so tiny and WHY my critical voice is such a massive bitch and why I’m such a misery. I know the reasons why and it really really hurts to delve back there and pick at those open wounds.

If you want a clue as to why I’m a messy mess of messy issues. A pretty good starting point can be found in Philip Larkin’s famous poem, This Be The Verse. I had a perfectly nice, normal, average childhood. Regrettably I wasn’t a high achiever so it was devoid of praise, with fairly critical parents, compounded by my abject failure to match up to my high achieving younger sibling.

I love my parents and I know they love me, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m a disappointment, a failure on all fronts. Even now their every interaction with me is peppered with criticism, or perceived criticism about me. How I look, how I act, how I dress. They criticise my husband and child; my life, everything really. Occasionally they tell me they’re pleased or proud of something and it’s so rare I figure they must be lying or have made a mistake. I do love them though, but I’m determined not to be like that with the small boy.

I know the first few weeks of therapy will be the hardest. Opening up to someone and showing them the darkness within. Talking about the things that hurt the most without having the strategies I need to cope with this new avalanche of pain will knock me for six. I’m really, really upset I’m feeling this way again and I’m frightened that it’ll drag me down again. That it’ll pull me under and overwhelm me and I just can’t go back there. Part of me wants to slam the door shut and run far away from it all. Part of me, most of me knows this is all for the best, in the long term at least.

So please bear with me, I’m struggling right now. I hurt a lot and I’m really, really hating on myself, but you know this isn’t really me. I’m not really like this. I’m just frightened of being swept away on the tide and never finding my way back again.

Man hands on misery to man

Read more of my mental health posts here.