Part of my insecurity is that on the surface I can accept a compliment, but I never believe it. I don’t think any of my achievements are REAL. Things like good exam results, going out with confidence, and having days without anxiety are things I SHOULD be doing. They are things that most people just do without thinking about it. Why should I congratulate myself for doing them? In the context of my personal history I have small victories almost every day. I mean, spending the whole day in bed is an achievement sometimes!

I have really high expectations of myself, which is often self-defeating because it makes me fear failure so much that I don’t even try. I sometimes think, I won’t go out today because I might have a panic attack or feel anxious, and that isn’t normal, which means I will have failed, and then there will have been no point to going out. These kinds of thoughts stop me from doing things that I really want to do, and they give me more ammunition with which to beat myself up. Maybe my high expectations come from desperately wanting to be normal—I am constantly comparing myself with people around me and feeling that I should be more fun, more outgoing, more daring, go out more, be more independent, be less worrisome. Perhaps I just have to accept I am none of these things.

Can’t I accept myself with all the things I don’t and can’t do? Can’t they become parts of my character, rather than reminders of what I am lacking? I always focus on what I think is wrong with me instead of seeing the big picture. I should be embracing myself all the time, 24 hours a day, even when I am feeling sick and sad in bed. ♦