I decided to go back to therapy after all.

I’m only planning to go back roughly once a month or even every other month, as needed. My OCD isn’t actually too bad (knock on wood), and as I started out my therapy session the other day, I almost felt a bit silly being there. 

Talking It Out

I talked about my life, the challenges we are having with our kids (our daughter has some anxiety symptoms and our son can be a bit of a mess behaviorally and emotionally), homeschooling, my recent high blood pressure, my restarting an exercise routine at night, the conferences we are planning, my husband’s work and online course he does at night, and how I feel like I get very little time for self care as a result of all of these things.

Going into it, I think that I expected my psychologist to give me some magic mindfulness tips or exercises that would allow me to do all the things. I think that I partially anticipated this because of my experience with the LDS Church—we are conditioned that we can pray and fast and somehow do everything “the Lord expects us” to do—we will be granted the strength and energy to accomplish it all. We will take care of our homes, families, perform Church callings, do service, do our “ministering,” maintain jobs as necessary, etc.

But Why?

So I was somewhat shocked when my psychologist asked me why I felt I needed or had to do all of these things. As I was ready to give some instant, pre-scripted answer, he stopped me and asked me to really think about it: Why do I feel like I need to accomplish and do so many things? 

I remembered last summer, when I took courses in cognitive behavior therapy from the Beck Institute, and learned about “core beliefs”—the beliefs we have that guide even our mundane decisions and are often so ingrained in us that we don’t even realize they are there, directing our steps. These core beliefs can be positive or negative, but for those of us with anxiety/depression/etc., many times they are negative.

Core Beliefs

I started to think about his question. Why did I feel the need to do all of the things? I thought back to growing up as the youngest of many talented and ambitious siblings. I pondered growing up in the Mormon culture and having these “to do lists” and life goals to accomplish. We are supposed to be happy and truly joyful in the Church, right? So maybe if I didn’t feel those things, I assumed that I wasn’t doing or being enough. I had learned to equate my worth and value as a person with what I did and accomplished.

I have never really considered myself to be beautiful or attractive, especially growing up. I was chubby and had a bull cut. I had acne. I wasn’t skinny. I had boy hair. I had braces. Nobody was asking me out on dates. I didn’t have that—the physical attractiveness— so I guess I dove into academics. I was smart. I could do school. I could accomplish things and hide behind those accomplishments. I felt like I wasn’t athletic or “artistic.” But, I could study. I could write. I could read. I tried to find where I could fit in. I hid behind the scenes—working concerts rather than just going, writing the articles in the school paper, and even now, planning the conferences or writing the blog posts and book. Hiding, still. Letting my “accomplishments” act as my face rather than having to just “be.”


My doctor told me that I should ask myself what alternative ways there are to operate. Are there different frameworks in which I can live and see my life and worth? He advised that I ask myself if I would want to teach my kids to have that core belief, and if I wouldn’t, why am I living with it myself?

And, rather than telling me about some magic stress relief exercises, he told me that I needed to do less. I need to prioritize. I need to ask: what is the most important thing in my life to do at this moment? Is {this thing I am considering} worth it right now? I don’t need to add more things to my plate deliberately.

Instead, I need to do less on purpose. I can hire out things that I don’t personally “have” to do—I need to reevaluate the things I say “I gotta do”—things like yard work or cleaning the house or whatever. Can I afford to hire some of these tasks out? Then I should. But, with the extra time, I have to be careful how I allocate it: rather than working on something else or something new, for example, I should take that time for self care, a nap, or something that will help me be physically and emotionally healthy.

Making the Changes

This is going to be really difficult for me. Even taking the time to prioritize and think about what really matters is somewhat overwhelming, and I wonder where and when I will find the time to do it.

Some things have been “dreams” or things I thought I should or needed to do for so long, even most of my life, that it’s difficult. It’s difficult to step back and think, “but why? Who set that goal for me? Does it actually matter? Is that what I want?”

It’s difficult to re-create yourself and your core beliefs because, I mean, they are your core beliefs. They have made me who I am, and to examine and try to change them by definition implies that I am changing the person I am and was at my very core, my very heart.

Instead, I like to maintain, to keep swimming, to keep treading water, to keep the balls in the air. But my psychologist recommended that I drop some of those balls. Take them out of rotation. Make changes. And maybe, initially, that is the even harder thing to do.

I’m still working through all of these things and ideas, but one that I know will drop is this blog. I will not shut it down completely, but I am going to only post every so often, if that, when something happens or I have something “urgent” to say.

It’s been a good ride, and I’m grateful for everyone’s support. I hope that I have helped some of you and that the posts I have written can continue to do so. There’s a lot of content on here, so feel free to look back in the archives!

Thanks for understanding. Hopefully I can figure out how to move forward from here in a more healthy way.