Tell Your Inner Harvey Dent to Go to Hell: dealing with your inner critic.

I am obsessed with productivity. I judge my entire merit, day, week, life, performance, moral fiber, everything on how productive I am, which is quite the complication since I have ADHD, PTSD, and Depression. In other words, I’m the Harvey Dent of my own life. One side of me is a fairly decent person who is generally benevolent and eager to do things that matter. The other is a scathing, aggressive, bitter, malevolent, irrationally intense, and relentless critic with a dogged determination to make every minute a line item on a budget to determine if I used my time efficiently or not. From that, I then determine if I am lazy, lacking self-discipline, a failure, a dreg on those I care about most, a bum, a loser… basically every bad thing I can think of in one breath (and then some). And the more I do it, which is constantly at this time, the more endurance that fucker seems to have. Except I’m the fucker. And I’m my own victim. Because in spite of the physical violence, emotional trauma, and other things I have experienced at the hands of others, my treatment of myself is the most persistent and pervasive.

fate3-1

I spend all day tallying up every second. And it’s automatic. I don’t even need to pay attention anymore. I can criticize myself without thinking about it and it is this poisonous habit that just beats me down every day and the problem is, it isn’t like you can outrun your own mind.

So I am going to do something incredibly counter-intuitive and list everything I did manage to do this weekend.

I….

  1. went to a group dinner when I normally would have hidden because I dread things like that as much as I want to go. I worry I will get there and freeze.
  2. got groceries and they were more on the healthy side.
  3. I made sliced, baked apple crisps for the first time with cinnamon and a dash of sugar as opposed to something like, say, ice cream.
  4. I started my mock portfolio I am going to take to my interview to show them what I can do with their branding materials. I also started and completed some of the bigger projects.
  5. I went for a two mile run.
  6. I went outside two times for two hours to get some sun because if I don’t make a point to do it, I pull a vampire and stay in the shadow that is my house all day and then begin the night depressed because I have cabin fever.
  7. I made peanut butter energy protein bites for when I impulsively want to reach for candy.
  8. I didn’t order takeout, at all.
  9. I purchased printer ink and a few other things I needed.
  10. I stocked up a bank of blog entries that will be posted at scheduled times in the next week or so in the event I don’t feel well enough to write.
  11. I called my mother and since she is a talker and I am more of a don’t talk, let’s listen to music and if you want to know how I am I will write you a manifesto kind of person, it can be pretty overwhelming for me.
  12. I booked a hotel room for my interview and looked at flight costs.
  13. I created a site page in my blog for fiction entries so they are all easily accessible (probably more for me than anything).
  14. I did three loads of laundry.
  15. I gave my dogs their medication consistently and had a lot of quality time with them.
  16. I worked on assignments, read, edited, and watched videos for a class I’m finishing up.
  17. I did my dishes nearly as soon as I made them, even the gross peanut butter ones that you always want to put off.
  18. I came up with an idea for another section of my site that shares foods I tried that are supposed to help with depression and anxiety, as well as exercises.
  19. I made this list without using the word “but” to negate whatever I tried to say to give myself credit.

If you haven’t yet, make your own list, short or long, and try not to use any of the following words: just, but, however, while, although, etc. At least for me, I can’t stop Two Face (my critic) from constantly weighing my value. I can however, talk back and that’s something I’m learning to do. When I let my inner critic monopolize the conversation, that becomes the truth because everything is defined by that one inner voice. I’m to this point where I need to make a more concerted effort to play devil’s advocate with my inner critic so I can at least keep her quiet fifty percent of the time.

The image used in this post is from Ron Wagner in The Book of Fate. I’m all about some Batman.

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