Afraid to Think of Growing Old

my headshot with short hair

2007 when I had short hair

I always wanted to be younger and dreaded growing older. Sure, birthdays were fun, but the reality that they brought haunted me. With each year, I become less innocent, more guilt-ridden, less joyful, more anxious, less healthy, more messed up.

Just the thought of being older terrifies me. I do not want to use a cane or go into a nursing home. Nor do I want to watch my children leave the home or my spouse die. In fact, maybe I do not even want a spouse or children.

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What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?

How often do you look at a little girl and tell her that she is ugly? Do you regularly tell a toddler that he is useless? Normally, we do not tell children these types of hurtful statements that we tell ourselves.

Yet, all of us were children at some point. One of the coping skills that I learned in treatment was to hang a picture of myself as a baby or toddler near the mirror. Whenever I wanted to degrade myself, I was supposed to look at the child that I was, the child that I remained to a certain extent.

Looking back, there are many messages that I wish I could tell myself. With this knowledge, I would have escaped heartbreak, rejection, and physical pain. However, lessons that made me a stronger person might have been lost.

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