My therapist deserves a lot of credit. On my Monday session, she gave me a truly great piece of advice for dealing with anxiety. I was describing to her how the approaching deadline of school starting without me having paid my tuition (and thus, unable to register for courses) was making me feel like a failure, because it was confirming all of the terrible things people probably thought of me. “They think I’ve lost now. People believed I couldn’t do it. They believed that I didn’t belong in university, and that I would never make it to the end.”
She paused, and then said to me in her thoughtful therapist voice, “Let’s try something. Say all of that again, only switch “they/people” to “I/me”, and see what happens.
I did it and I realized something: There is no “they”. There is only “me”. My own anxiety about not having that damned $900 is the source of my woes, not what other people think. Nobody has recently come up to my face and said that I couldn’t make it, if they had, I would have been able to attach a name and a face to it. The only face that I need to attach to those sentiments is my own.
This is a huge relief for me. Because it’s easier to know that I have to convince myself that I will make it, that I will get that money somehow, and finish my last year of university, and go to grad school, than any nameless faceless voices in my head.