Automatic negative thoughts, or ANTs, are things I’ve been working on smashing for quite some time in therapy. Unfortunately, a ton of triggers over the course of the last week sent me spiraling into old, crippling habits of mine. With my ANTs typically comes that tendency for fight or flight, chronic stress reactions (usually the inability to eat and lots of throwing up), and high anxiety that sends me straight into panic attacks, which triggers my asthma.
With the help of my therapist, I developed a plan of action, which was two-fold. First, I wrote down some of the ugly things people have said about me in the past—things I hold onto and continue allow to take up space in my brain as I combat my ANTs. I wrote them on small note cards—fueling myself with wine and homegrown cucumbers and tomatoes—so I could stare at them one last time. With my husband and my friend Nichole encouraging me, I buried them in my compost. Next summer, that ugliness will allow me to grow something beautiful.
And before I get to my second plan of action, I want to add that most of the words came from people I love, which always hurts most of all. Maybe that’s why they hold more weight. Most importantly, I can’t wait to spread tomatoes and watermelon across my neighborhood that were nourished from my ability to let go.
The second part of my journey came from a heavy amount of grief I’ve been able to process this week. I realized I’m ready to start on my next book. If you don’t hear from me for a while, just know that I’m working on something beautiful.