Today is one of those days that began in an okay-ish way but determinedly kept slipping lower and lower on the scale of okay-ness. It’s afternoon now and I’ve closed the doors and windows, drawn the window shades. I was going to have a little lie down.
Instead, knowing that all those sad, dark, niggling thoughts of inadequacy would still be there keeping me company, and causing me to second guess myself, I thought I’d write about them. I am not afraid of those thoughts, I just don’t want to let them pull me into a deeper hole than I am in right now.
The sadness, to call it depression seems to somehow lessen it, which I know is counterproductive. This deep and abiding sadness I feel is almost always present, I have moments when I can genuinely smile and feel a lift of happiness, but they don’t last long. I spent all of 2018 working on ways to lift myself out of this too-long-lasting depression. All the things, the commitments, that helped to keep me focused on other things are no longer relevant in my life. I was once outgoing, the organiser, the one everyone came to for advice and help of all kinds.
Now, I find people really exhausting to deal with and I no longer have the strength of spirit to deal with the need to cover up my true feelings in order to let them feel secure in their own fantasy lives. It is so exhausting putting on the face that is required to interact in what is an acceptable manner, in the world.
If I have to venture out into the world outside of my home, I can pretend I’m doing fine with a happy, smiling face and some throw away conversational lines. It’s what I’ve learned I have to do if I want to get any sort of assistance. I have, in the past, told certain people, trusted people, professional people even, about how awful I have been feeling, asking for guidance. The reactions have never been positive, ranging from disbelief to completely ignoring me, to ghosting me from their lives.
A smiling face keeps the other person safe in their bubble of illusion and allows them to interact with me without feeling like I am contagious or dangerous.
Sometimes I even wear lipstick, it adds to the impact of ‘playing the game’ to fit in and makes others more comfortable with my presence. I don’t like to make others feel uncomfortable for no reason, but nor do I like to be uncomfortable myself. I do what I can to find a compromise as often as I can. I wore complete makeup for years and years, until I decided makeup hid the truth behind a mask of lies.
There are reasons for the way I feel, reasons that are spread across the whole of my life, woven into the very fabric of what has made me who I am. Sometimes I am unashamedly bitter and filled with rage at the people who have betrayed me. Sometimes that rage and bitterness is directed at myself. Intellectually, I know I was not to blame for being the target of someone else’s self-entitled actions. For a long time I did not know this, partly because my mother told me that had anything bad happened, it was my fault, and partly because I felt I should have somehow not been so stupidly naive, even though age and other things meant that was an impossibility.
Sometimes, it’s not even so much that the bad thing happened, it’s how it was, and wasn’t, handled by the adults who really should have known better, or at least different. While I have, mostly at least forgiven myself for all the myriad aspects of being me, there are some people whose actions I choose not to forgive.
So much to carry forward into a life twisted and scarred by all that went before! My efforts to obtain help have, over the course of too many years, also often been the cause of more heartbreak for me instead of an assuaging of the ever growing, and all too present emotional and physical pains experienced as an after effect.
It’s not like I want to die, nor is it like I don’t want to live. These are two very different things. What I want is some understanding, some recognition that these experiences are really hard to deal with and for sure they are going to have an impact on many aspects of life.
I want to be able to live without the weight of the awfulness-es of experience getting in the way. I want to live without stumbling over the memories of nasty people at the most inopportune times. I want to go about my days without the obstacles of old hurts being flung at me from the shadows when I am enjoying a pleasant moment.
What I don’t want is the dismissal of these experiences as something simple that I need to ‘get over’, or move on from. What I don’t want is to be told that I can CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) my way out of this. CBT is how I get through every. single. day. and it does not make the pain go away, nor does it prevent the likelihood of similar things from happening again. Denial is not a viable management process.
In fact, I did, for many years, cover up, deny and live in complete ignorance as to the impact the past had had on me and how I viewed the world. I lived in ignorance of the fact that I mattered in any way at all, and in doing so, allowed my family of origin to have greater influence over my decisions than they should have. Not believing I mattered allowed my marriage partner to behave in unacceptable ways until it lead to multiple types of domestic violence. When he started venting his alcoholic violence on the children, I could no longer ignore it and had to face it and do something about it and our lives.
I do not understand why there has to be so much meanness in so many people. Why can people not express kindness instead of always acting from the worst case scenario and reacting. Kindness can be the difference between a person taking that final dose or living for another day, it’s that simple.
I will get through today. I always do. I will find a small thing to focus my attention on. Perhaps a row of my current crochet project. Perhaps I will cook something simple but tasty. Perhaps I will look at pretty pictures on the internet.
Simply be kind whenever you can. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to those you miss having in your life. Be kind to total strangers.
Be safe, but be kind, and never mistake kindness for stupidity, you have the right and sometimes an obligation, to yourself to say “No, not today.”