Self-doubt is a dreadful mindset to be in for a writer, for anyone really. But for a writer this frame of mind leads to Writer's Block. Which is the reason this article is rough for me to type out. Today, I'm going to bare my soul about my trials of self-doubt.
Throughout this past fall and most of the winter I went to a dark place, mentally and emotionally. This resulted in two suicide attempts -almost three, and a three night stay in a psych ward. I did not want to die. I wanted to not exist. Self-care, self-compassion and general lack of joy were no where to be found. It didn't matter how many books I read, how many times I tried other creative outlets, or sat and binged Netflix all day. All I felt was dread. I remember daydreaming about the feel of sharp steel. The past six months were hell.
After my stay in the psych ward, or as they called it the Behavioral Health Floor, I spent the next six weeks in IOP (Intensive Out-patient Psychiatry). Monday through Thursday for three hours a day I had to spend time in group therapy via Zoom and work on my feelings. We were taught about boundaries, both internal and external. We were taught coping skills, such as diaphragmatic breathing, riding the wave of an emotion, and grounding with the five senses. Most of the skills I knew before IOP, but it was a nice refresher for my tired mind. There were lessons about what emotions really are, and how to be assertive instead of aggressive. All in all it was a lot of work.
The greatest part about the IOP sessions was coming to terms with how far I'd actually grown and overcome in my forty years on this planet. I've been in therapy since 2015. I'll be in therapy for much of my adult life by the time I'm "done". But by experiencing IOP in a group setting I was able to connect with other people (which I hadn't done in a long time) and see them were I used to be. By helping them, I helped myself.
My self-confidence has gone up. My work in progression has actually progressed. I feel generally okay. That's okay. After all, I'm only human and it's about progress not perfection. So when that mind-numbing brick wall that is writer's block rears its ugly head remember that a page is better than nothing, a paragraph is better than nothing. Hell, a sentence is better than nothing. To release self-doubt we must embrace self-compassion.