My name is Ariel, and I am figuring myself out. My mental health journey has been exactly that. A journey…that I am still on.
Growing up, I was physically and verbally abused. For the longest time I just assumed that was normal and how life just was. I was told day in and day out how unbearable I was, how worthless I was, and even how fat I was. I was smacked on my arms, my hair was pulled, and I even had a sippy cup thrown right at my mouth. It seemed like I could never get anything right and because of that…I am a perfectionist.
I was put in therapy for a little while but was taken out abruptly because my abuser found out. That was hard because I felt like I was getting somewhere. I am grateful that I had that small opportunity because it gave me something to work with and it allowed me the opportunity to release my emotions and express my feelings. I could NEVER do that before.
As the years went on it seemed as though I would get upset over the little things and pretty much everything. It was like a trigger was being pulled all the time. I could not understand why and I just assumed it was my fault that people were upset with me or that it was my fault that I was not good enough.
The same thing happened on my mission and because of that…there were several times I brought contention to my companionships. I guess I just felt like everyone was out to get me.
Then I got married.
Being married has been the best, but at the same time it has been so difficult. I have learned so much about myself than I have my whole life. My husband suffers from Anxiety and Bipolar Depression. I tried really hard to understand him and help him, but I had needs of my own weighing down on me that prevented me from being a support to him.
My husband and I started couples therapy. We felt that we would be able to understand and support each other better. During this time, I was also attending my very first semester of college. In my English class we were asked to write a research paper on a topic of our choice. My initial thought was to write a paper on anxiety because my husband suffers from it, but every time I tried to research stuff on it…I could never quite find what I was looking for.
I remember praying hard that God would help me find something to write about because nothing was working. Then the answer came.
I had a thought to write a paper on Verbal Abuse. That, my friends, was the start of something REALLY good. As I was researching about verbal abuse, I was led to something called Rejection Sensitivity. Someone who suffers from RS will often, “interpret benign or mildly negative social cues---such as a partner not answering a text message immediately---as signs of outright rejection. They may disregard other more logical explanations, as well as reassurances on the part of the supposed rejector.”
As I studied about RS…I would just sit there and bawl my eyes out because I felt like I was reading about myself. I knew there was something off about me, but for the first time in my life…It was not my fault. I have not gotten this confirmed by a therapist…but I know myself and I feel like God would not have led me to this if it wasn’t me.
Before I had the chance to bring this topic up to our therapist…COVID hit and the world flipped. My husband and I had to stop going to therapy because things were out of control. I felt like during this time, my mental health was getting worse, which is why I decided to see if there were videos on RS. And to my amazement I found some, which also led me to a book on RS and how to gain control over it.
This book, Bouncing Back from Rejection, is loaded with so many different methods and techniques to really help you become aware of your sensations, thoughts, emotions, actions, and even mentalizing. I really needed that book because I wasn’t able to go to therapy yet, but I am finally in a place now where I can go back to therapy and this time, I am going by myself because there are things that I need to heal on my own.
We cannot expect someone to heal us or fill any voids we might have. We must learn how to heal our wounds through therapy and other techniques and fill our voids with self-love. I want to add that exercise is changing my life. I didn’t really start getting into it until May of last year. I know that I exercise and give my body the nutrients that it needs…I am happier and I even see myself in a better light. I so desperately need that.
I am figuring myself out little by little everyday and that is honestly the best thing I can do for myself. If you have more questions about RS…please feel free to reach out! And if you just need a friend or someone to talk to…I am here for that too!
Ariel is willing to support you on your mental health journey. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional support!