I have come so far in the last ten years of successful work on my mental health (and in four years of this diary!). This post is to set out my next steps. The hope is that I can take these steps in parallel with engaging more in life, building on the immense positive changes I have already achieved.
I want to continue engaging with, and noticing the good things in life.
I want to be less cautious, throw myself into life and more activities (feel the fear and do it anyway style), but this will largely have to wait until covid is over.
I want to continue improving my self-awareness. There is still 'something' in my mind that is preventing me from being at peace with myself. It would be good to identify it.
I want to continue my work on shrinking the inner and outer critics, learning how to manage emotional flashbacks and reducing my pessimism, including my fear of unknown others and of the world in general.
I want to continue to practice being in touch with, expressing (within reason!), and acting on my emotions in real time, while interacting with others. It will be post-covid before I can really pursue this.
I want to continue practicing acting in my own interests, including regular mindfulness practice.
I want to practice re-parenting myself, including self-compassion and self-soothing ( I can do these now!
), but also self-discipline. Giving myself the love, care, boundaries, structure and direction I never received as a child.
Part of acting in my own interests is tackling self-sabotage. This is a biggie for me. I am reading a book on Internal Family Systems therapy. I can't say I buy into the theory so far. I do think some practical elements of this approach will be very useful in tackling the self-sabotage by those parts of me that are over-protective, and in continuing to balance my Fight, Flight, Freeze responses. I hope I can make use of IFS techniques without therapeutic support, but I am open to more therapy if necessary. I aim to be proficient in IFS techniques by the end of November.
Following my IFS work, I want to go back to learning ACT techniques. I think ACT will be very useful for me, previously I was not in the right place to benefit.
I will review progress every month. Managing my mental health and maintaining my many gains is a lifelong necessity, but I hope taking the above steps will lead me to a place where new work, and this diary, are no longer necessary.