The Problem with Optimism

untitled_by_marinacoric-d6d9bitDespite my depression I have always thought of myself as an optimistic person, until the day my therapist told me to stop…

People who seem to be the happiest are those that are the most optimistic. Because of this, there is a lot of push to be optimistic.

Now, I’m not saying that optimism is a bad thing but it is a problem. A problem because, like me, most people do it wrong.

While in the eating disorder treatment center I kept putting on a happy face. I wanted to get to know and be their for everyone. I mean, we were all in this together right? Wrong, it wasn’t girls camp. I was their to help myself and I wasn’t doing anyone, especially myself, any favors by pretending to be fine when I wasn’t.

The truth of the matter was that I didn’t want to face painful emotions. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t okay. I didn’t want people to see me cry. I was horrified and full of shame at myself. How could I let other people see that? How could I let myself see it?

While participating in the treatment’s day program I would literally go home every night and break down. I would hid myself away and cry, which then led me to engage in a lot of destructive behaviors. Then, the next morning I would go back to the center all smiley and happy because despite the hard moments this I was going to be “optimistic.”

My therapist saw right through it. She told me I had to put down my happy mask. I had to face the reality of the situation around me and let myself be sad, upset, frustrated, ashamed, hurt, scared… whatever the emotions were that I was hiding. She put me in twenty-four hour care so that I couldn’t hide away when I could no longer hold the mask.

Being optimistic and positive doesn’t mean hiding behind a mask of everything is okay, I can do this, everything will work out. It isn’t that everything is happy, smiley, and sunny. Instead, it is being honest about the situation and feeling the true emotions that come with it. Then, and only then looking forward with hope and confidence.

We don’t like to feel emotions because it hurts. Emotions are painful! We don’t put our hands on stoves because we know they are hot. Difficult emotions are the same way, we avoid them because they hurt!

It was so difficult for me to see inside myself and deal with the emotions and shame that was there. It was a deep, dark, and terrifying place, but only then was I able grab hold of the reality of what going on around me. I was then able to realize that I truly was okay. I could do this but I needed help. And, that I could get through this tough situation even if meant that there would be some dark days.

3 comments

  1. There is truth in this article, but also confusion. Optimism is not about faking or pretending you are ok when you are not. Optimism is seeing the good in things even when there is still some bad. It is gratitude for what you have, even though you don’t have it all. It is faith that God will make up for what we missed out on because of our weaknesses and sins through the atonement of Christ. I could go on. Optimism is not the problem, having a misunderstanding of what optimism is..IS the problem. God bless you in your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s