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Friday, June 3, 2016

What feeling small feels like

It has been a month since I last wrote here. And in those weeks, a lot has happened. Or maybe not a lot. Just... significant.

I've been to a couple of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with my new psychiatrist, Dr. Evelyn Gapuz. She's a kind and caring doctor and not intimidating (well, I think she should not be intimidating. Hehe). Over those sessions, I've once again told my story--my childhood and adolescent experiences up to the time when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. which morphed into a more accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

I can't talk about all these experiences without shedding a tear or two. Okay, without crying. Even if it has been years (heck, decades!) since those unpleasant experiences, they still resonate as though they just happened yesterday. And I can still remember them, small details and all.

On my second session, I was asked to answer a form called depression index (I forgot the exact name of the form). Each item consists of four statements that describes a range of emotions and situations, from mild to extreme. It's something like this: I feel happy and good about myself; I feel bad at times; I often feel terrible; I feel like a train wreck all the time. Something like that. And then, I am tasked to tick the box that closely resonated with my experience over the past two weeks.

I didn't know if I was to answer it casually, without thinking about each item too much, just like those psychological or personality tests we answer in school. There was no time limit though, so I took my time answering each item, reflecting carefully on what I had been feeling for the past two weeks. When I gave Dr. Gapuz my form, I thought she would study it already and give me her assessment. But she didn't. Maybe I would here of her assessment on my next session.

The one thing that she picked up from my narration of experiences is how insecure I am of other people. In every stage of my life, there's always one person I'm insecure of. Some people might find this surprising because I was never the shy type. When I was a student, I was active in class recitations. I used to volunteer for certain tasks. I used to lead prayers, was a reader whenever there's a holy mass. Even in college, I share my opinions and comments with rest of the class.

But deep inside, I feel so small. An orgmate of mine in college once asked my why I underestimate myself. Maybe it's because of my fear of getting frustrated with myself. I never aimed to be the best (if by some sort of miracle I become the best at something, then,well, great!) because I was scared of failing. "If you can't be the best, be a little better than the rest." This quote was my mantra. I just want to be a little better than the rest. It's okay if I'm the bridesmaid, never the bride. It's okay if I'm second, or third, or whatever.

And yet, when I see people (classmates, batchmates, even friends) who seem to have it all, I feel small. I feel unaccomplished--that my vocabulary is not wide enough; that my singing voice is problematic; that I'm not really good at playing musical instruments; that my diction is horrible; that I'm not smart enough to comprehend a certain theory that everyone else understands; and so on. I often ask the universe, "Why do some people have it all? And why do some of us don't have much (and I don't mean money)?"

"You shouldn't compare yourself with others," says everyone on earth. Yes, I agree, but it's easier said than done. Especially when you've felt small practically all your life. Especially when you've been bullied in school. Especially when you've experienced teachers discouraging you and putting you down instead of giving moral support. Especially when you've experienced being hated by everyone in class (or at least, the "queen bees") that you don't want to go to school anymore and your grades have suffered. Who would emerge all bright and shining from those experiences?

Based on everything that I've told her, Dr. Gapuz has come to the conclusion that I am insecure of others over these two things: talents and intelligence. That feeling of not being good enough because, well, somebody else does it so effortlessly well. And then, my time was up--this will be discussed on my next session (which I only have a tentative schedule of because Dr. Gapuz will be gone for a month for further studies abroad).

Dr. Gapuz's conclusion made me look at myself in a different light. Talents and intelligence--I'm not lacking on those departments (people have said). I don't know what to make of this, actually. But I think it's good that we've established the things that make me so insecure. And I need to "fix" this; otherwise, I won't be able to advance in life.

So that's it for now. I'm still taking the same dosage of meds (300mg of Quetiapine, 150mg of Lamotrigine). So far, this dosage has been making me stable. I haven't had full-blown, catastrophic depressive episodes lately. Or maybe this is just temporary. That was last month. I don't know about next week. Or tomorrow. Anyway, maybe I should have only the present to think about.


  1. I can relate to this, Kat. Im struggling with the same feeling. Yesterday, my prayer was to have the heart to forgive people who make me feel small, and also to be happy with I have. I have no idea how to defeat my own insecurities, if I'll ever be the kind of person who can accept herself and laugh at her own failings. But...just like you, I'm just trying to take things one day at a time. I hope you feel that you are not alone and that brighter days overcome the gloomy ones. :) - Joyce G.

    1. Hi Joyce! Thank you for your comment. It's really hard to fight our own insecurities. It's like fighting an invisible enemy. Yes, I believe we'll evntualy "get there." We just have to hang on a little bit longer. :-)

    2. Hi Joyce! Thank you for your comment. It's really hard to fight our own insecurities. It's like fighting an invisible enemy. Yes, I believe we'll evntualy "get there." We just have to hang on a little bit longer. :-)