As a part of my therapy my therapist recommended that I start journaling. I used to keep a diary, but I never really wrote down what I was feeling. At least, not since those first few stressful months into my recovery. Since then it’s always been, “Today we did this, and then I did that, and work has been interesting, blah, blah, blah.” She asked me to not only keep track of the times when I feel particularly anxious or down, but to also document every time I use the word “should” both out loud and in my inner dialogue. She said I could keep a tally in case it’s too often to write down, and I do need the tally.

It is surprising how many times a day I will tell myself all the things I “should” and “shouldn’t” do. Today for example:

  • I should sleep more.
  • I should get up.
  • I should wake up the Actor.
  • I should let him sleep.
  • I should get dressed.
  • I should get off tumblr.
  • I shouldn’t eat the orange rolls with breakfast.
  • I shouldn’t have more than one.
  • I shouldn’t have a cookie dough Oreo.
  • I shouldn’t pick at my tatuderm bandage.
  • I should stop stressing.
  • I should go to my mom’s now.
  • I should buy this B vitamin bottle.
  • I should buy a sleep aid.
  • I should try to sleep better first.
  • I should work more so I can justify buying a sleep aid.
  • I shouldn’t scratch at my new tattoo.
  • I should work out.
  • I should do yoga.
  • I shouldn’t eat that ice cream sandwich.
  • I should only have a little spaghetti with dinner.
  • I should stop eating now.
  • I should write a blog.
  • I should stop PMS-ing

I’m probably not even remembering all of them, but it is quite a lot. And it’s interesting because some of them are warranted. Some of them make sense, and some of them need to not be in my head. Some of them I shouldn’t worry about at all. I will have to delve deeper into the meaning of all this with my therapist when Spring quarter starts up, but it is interesting. How many things do you hold at such a high standard and give them so much more weight than they deserve? When I use “should” it has a greater, deeper, stronger, more intense meaning than you would think. If I don’t do what I “should” do then that means I am a terrible person. That’s just how my mind works right now. As you can see, a lot of them still have to do with eating, but I am so much better than I used to be. It’s very interesting to look at, though. There are so many things on that list that aren’t big deals, but in my head they are. Do you do the same thing?

Also, here is my new tattoo. It took an hour to get, and it hurt like a bitch for an hour afterward, but it’s worth it!



4 thoughts on “Should

  1. Caitlin Crawford says:

    I totally “should” myself all the time. It’s something we need to stay mindful of and make sure the ‘shoulds’ are encouraging instead of a negative. Some should-ing is healthy for us to stay motivated and less stressful. But when it turns into a shame game, it creates a lot of angst and unnecessary guilt! Stay strong and know you are not alone in this at all! In treatment this was something that was stressed in our groups.

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