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My story
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[Day 14] My Story

My story

Before I share a bit about how I came to do what I do and more importantly be who I am, I want to say this (it’s something I have to remind myself of often).

Your story matters.

And it is of equal importance to share your story in a way that feels good to you. If your intention in sharing your experiences is to get others to feel sorry for you, to make yourself sound better than other people or to sustain being a victim, look at that. Be honest with yourself and get crystal clear about your intentions.

I say this because the stories we tell ourselves become our reality. And if we continue to repeat the ones that make us feel negative emotion, we will continue to repeat the same things. Maybe not in the same way, but they will manifest in some form.

So, if you feel good when you’re telling it and if you know in your heart it will help other people, then share it.

End preach.

My intention in sharing my story is to help teens and parents alike know first and foremost, they are not alone. Secondly, that it doesn’t last forever. And third, because I know the route I went could have been a lot shorter had I known what I know now.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided below is not intended to replace the medical advice of a qualified health care professional or to be used as therapy. Carrie Leigh Sandoval assumes no responsibility for the results generated.

So when I was a teenager, I was a total mess. I was having panic attacks multiple times a day, using drugs, not eating and would hurt myself in any way I could – namely cutting myself with whatever I could find.

Why? Because it was the only thing that brought me relief, the only coping technique I had.

I felt alone, afraid and responsible for all the crap going on in my house. In a place where I felt so much and didn’t have a voice or a place to express my pain, cutting was the only way I could communicate how bad I was hurting and what the constant fighting and being put in the middle of it was doing to me.

I was hospitalized, medicated, saw numerous doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, you name it. And while I am grateful these things exist and they did temporarily stabilize me, I continued to repeat the same unhealthy habits and patterns – never fully healing or learning positive coping strategies.

Everywhere I went, these labels defined me. I felt insane. Broken. Like I needed to be fixed. But all I truly wanted was to feel like a human being.

To be seen. Heard. Loved and respected for being myself, not just when I was being who everyone else needed me to be.

There was a whole lot of pressure on me to be the perfect daughter so everyone else would be okay. But it wasn’t until I started to accept myself and take my healing into my own hands that everything began to change.

It took me years and years of struggle and self-study to understand that I wasn’t broken or insane. I was just a young girl having a normal response to really insane circumstances.

Committing to showing up for myself is something I have to practice every day, but I’ve now been sober for over 5 years, haven’t cut myself in close to 6 and am no longer taking prescription medications.

I have a beautiful family, a job I love, but most importantly I no longer feel like there is something inherently wrong with who I am.

Having a mentor who got me and didn’t try to fix me inspired me to do this work.

I can’t tell you how badly I wanted someone to just say, “Hey, you’re not crazy. You’re alright. Everything is going to be alright.”

I love that I now get to share this experience and understanding with other young people, especially the girls, who feel the same way I felt.

And I love being able to help parents stop blaming themselves because really it’s not their fault.

Knowing these experiences can help others unlock their courage, strength and power of choice, gives me hope (and puts a smile on my face).

We are all here for a reason and you never know who you might help or the impact you’ll have by sharing your story.

There’s a lot more to mine, but this is all I’m going to share today. Now I want to hear from you.

What story do you share that reminds you of how amazing you are? Or what story keeps you going when you’re feeling low and need to be inspired? Leave me a comment below.

Perfectionism and self-harm
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[Day 10] Perfectionism and Self-Harm

Perfectionism and self-harm

It’s day 10 of the blog challenge. Have a blog and want to join? Go here.

Today’s topics could not have arrived at a better time. They are:

1) What goal have you failed to reach, and what did you learn from it?

OR

2) How does perfectionism affect your life (now or in the past)?

I’ve chosen to add my own spin to this by writing about the link between perfectionism and self-harm.

First, let’s take a look at what self-harm is. Here is a blurb from Rader Programs:

Self harm is defined as the act of causing self injury to one’s own body. Self harm is also referred to as self injury, self abuse, self inflicted violence, self mutilation and para suicide. Similar to eating disordered behavior, the self harming behavior is participated in to help the individual cope with, take control of, block out and release unwanted feelings and emotions. The most common act of self harm is cutting.

If you’re interested in learning more or know someone who has been affected by self-harm, please go here to view all my articles on this topic.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided below is not intended to replace the medical advice of a qualified health care professional or to be used as therapy. Carrie Leigh Sandoval assumes no responsibility for the results generated. If you are feeling triggered, please stop reading and call 1-800-DONTCUT immediately.

Perfectionism – it stands over you, watching, judging, waiting to critique. It stalks your every word, every facial expression, every action and reaction.

It reminds you of one thing all the time:

“You will never ever be good enough.”

Perfectionism is the comparison queen, the never ending stream of “how can I be better?” which really just means…

When will I be good enough for someone to love me?

I used to associate love with not being criticized. “If I just do everything right and make everyone happy then maybe I can be happy too.”

Wrong.

Perfectionism itself becomes an additive cycle of self-abuse – whether or not there is physical harm involved. Self-harm just happens to be the extreme version.

Perfectionism + the inability to cope + the inability to express the pain =  self-harming to find relief.

It takes over your life if you let it. It becomes your reason, your motivation for doing things.

But it doesn’t have to.

7 Important Truths Every Perfectionist Must Learn to Accept
  • Not everyone is going to like you – and no one is going to like you if you don’t like yourself.
  • You are not your mistakes.
  • Tweet: Making mistakes does not make you a failure.
  • Mistakes = opportunities to grow.
  • You don’t have to get it right the first time.
  • Your worth does not depend on anything outside of you.
  • You are enough. Right now. And always.
3 Things You Must Master to Stop Being a Slave to Perfectionism
1. Question the validity of your brain’s claims

Be aware of the lies your mind tells you. Is the world going to end if you don’t do xyz at the exact time you said you would? Probably not. Will someone be upset? Possibly. Are you responsible for their reaction? Nope.

If you notice your thoughts hijacking your emotions, stop, breathe and ask yourself, “is this really worth freaking out about right now?” It’s okay to have the thoughts and emotions you have, but often “freaking out” becomes a natural response because we think we have to. But freaking out doesn’t change anything.

2. Have outlets for perfectionism

If perfectionism is infiltrating every area of your life, find some places where you can get it all out. A hobby, if you will. A place where you can obsess about the details without it controlling your life. Because the more you try to suppress it, the more it’ll show up in different areas.

I find great peace and satisfaction building with Legos. The way the pieces fit perfectly and everything is symmetrical is very pleasing to my noggin.

Some other things that comes to mind are:

  • Crafts – woodworking maybe?
  • Cleaning – not really a hobby, but I know I feel better after I clean
  • Making music
  • Puzzles

The key is: the minute it stops being fun, just walk away.

3. Celebrate mistakes + thank your perfectionism for trying to help you in the best way it knows how

Here at the Sandoval residence when someone makes a mistake we say, “Yay, I made a mistake!” We’re not robots and I’m pretty sure even robots aren’t perfect. It’s what makes us beautiful. It’s how we learn. And it’s all good.

Find the gift in every “mistake” you think you’ve made.

And thank your perfectionism for all the ways it does help you. Because really this part of you is just looking for a little love and you’re the only person who can give it to yourself.

How has perfectionism affected you? What practices help you keep it in check? Leave me a comment below.