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Let's talk about those self-defeating thoughts..

This article will apply to anyone- not just victims of violence.

One of the most prevalent issues people face today is self-defeating thoughts. We can scroll social media and walk away thinking: 'I will never be like them... for whatever reason.'

In the dating world, where you can talk to just about anyone virtually. Leaving you forced to compete with someone who may, or may not, even be real. Where you will hear: 'I will never meet my person- this dating world sucks.'

Divorce is at a all time high, because people don't want to take the time to work through issues. Not realizing that, you will have issues in any relationship (I am not talking about infidelity, abuse, etc). So we see the: 'I'm never getting married again- I am staying single.'

We see people who suffer from mental illness- believing and bending their thoughts around the illness: 'I will never get better, why should I even try to work on getting better?' Baby, your chemical are off and that's what's talking!

People walking away from violent situations (domestic violence, crime based violence, and even war) who developed PTSD: 'They really believe there is no way to comeback from it.' We lose so many to this by their own hands. Please, hang on, there is something that will help you. Give it time, and do not stop trying new therapies.

Even CEO's, people on the verge on something great or life changing get these thoughts: 'I should give up, this fail before, why am I still trying?'

The thing is guys.. we all have them.

'I am not pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough."

'I am too short, don't have enough muscles, crooked teeth."

I can go on and on, and I know you could fill a page full of thoughts like this. I want you to write them down- right now! So pause here, write them down or use the note section in your phone.

So, how do we stop these thoughts, or lessen the amount of them? It is not a one size fits all answer. Sorry, not sorry. You will have to put in the work to change your mindset and that my dear friend takes time.

The first step I want you to do is create reminders of why you are worthy. It can be sticky notes around you home, lipstick writings on your mirror. You can make a collage, scrapbook, or a note section/ picture folder on your phone. Whatever that will work for you and your life. Mix and match- hell do them all.

So what do you add to this? Anything that disproves the list of thoughts you wrote down. I will give you personal examples, which is going to be hard as hell to do.

A few of mine:

'Can I really make a change to this system, when I am a nobody?'

'Am I smart enough to pull all this off?'

'What if you fail someone?'

You get it! I had one of 'those days' last week and a memory on Facebook popped up from eight years ago. It was an event I planned, to raise awareness of mental health and had key speakers (one was my best friends mom) to talk at the event. My best friend suffered a TBI, PTSD and was bullied daily in the Army and chose to take her life. THAT moment reminded me, I am on the right path and I can do this and it pulled me right out of my self- defeating thoughts. But as my therapist pointed out- can you rely on those memories to pop up when you are having those doubts? Nope! So start thinking and digging for reminders. What I have gathered for myself is that TCU event poster, comments and private messages from people who stated how much I have helped, I have pictures of my 'why' (Marissa, my daughter Emme, my siblings, Marissa's sons, and I even have a picture of Gabby). I have a news article for Marissa (to fuel my fire about the injustice), I will put my abusers name in their too and everything that I have done that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Some may question why his name? Because of what he did to me, made me developed a panic disorder, PTSD and Agoraphobia. However, I beat it, I beat that situation, I am better for it. Do I have bad moments- yep, but everything I have done to get past it- reminds me of the fucking strength I have. I was hell-bent on not being a victim but a damn warrior and I have achieved it. That fucker took nothing from me, he gave me a chapter in my book that opened up the door for me to help others.

Now before I get comments, I need to add that mental illness and PTSD is a unique monster of its own. I cannot urge you enough to get into therapy and if needed get on medication. What I have seen through research, and my own dang life, medication alone is it is not a fix-all solution. I had to try 18, yes 18 different medications before I found one that worked- it took YEARS! Just because one medication worked for your friend, it may not work the same on you. If you do not experience concerning side effects, when you first start the medication it will take a month for you to really see if it is working. Speak up about your concerns and feelings- your doctors NEEDS to know this. If you feel no difference they may up the dose, and if that does not work they may switch you to another. Yes, this means the process will start over. This is where that 'give it time' factor comes into play. TWO very important things, do NOT stop a medication cold turkey- ever. The second, if you are experiencing a crazy side effect get help immediately (I had suicidal thoughts, another made me think my dog was trying to kill me). Please do not let my experience hinder you, I am one of those rare breeds that can't handle medication.

Now that we are on that topic, yes, almost all of the pills I tried failed, but I never stopped trying. Due to my degree in Psychology, I knew all about the other treatments options we have available, and that is exactly what I did. I found what worked for me. Every body is different, every body will metabolize a medication differently, every body will respond to other therapies differently. I did Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), I almost tried Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and there is amazing VR studies for our Veterans who suffer from PTSD. I did not do the TMS for my anxiety because it was still in the research phase, and I could not afford it, because insurance would not cover it. The research shows it does work for both depression and anxiety, but what was 'insurance approved' back then- was depression only. So, for my fellow humans who are fighting the mental illness battle GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. It is NOT your fault that the chemicals in your body is off. Do NOT feel like you as less than because you have to take a pill. You don't judge people for taking medication for diabetes, migraines, etc. STOP judging yourself! Mental illness and self-defeating thoughts go hand in hand, so really focus on things that will remind you of your 'why.' If an event or situation caused it (War, almost being killed, etc), think about things you accomplished before said event- when you were you. I can promise, that you will find peace, joy, and happiness again.. in time. You will become an even better version of yourself when you are on the healing side of it and you will be able to use your story to help others.

Now back to these thoughts

When you have a thought that enters your mind, acknowledge it, and remind yourself why that is not factual.

"I am not pretty enough."

Welp darling, you have had people who loved you before. The relationship may have not lasted, but at some point they loved you and accepted you. You are enough and you will find it again.

"I am not smart enough."

Have you seen the amount of business owners who have a college degree? It's few and far between. Find your passion and be the top dog in that area- build a business around it.

"I fail at everything I do."

Sweet face, Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before he created a lightbulb that works! 1000 times and he never gave up. His teachers even called him stupid but he did not let it deter him. So as you flip on your light- remember you got this!

Start reading books! Yes, go to your local bookstore and get in that self-help section. They work! I will make a must read list soon!

Continue to work on yourself, and never stop growing and becoming the best version of yourself. You will see your mindset switch and you will start looking at life a different way. It took me 15 years to get to this point, and it has been worth it! When you have those moments or 'a day from hell,' lean on all those reminders you put together!

Never give up on yourself!

If I can help in anyway, scroll down and shoot me a message.

XO Stephanie

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