I wasn’t sure whether to write this post but the subject has been increasingly plaguing me the past couple of weeks. It’s something I’ve touched on numerous times on my journey and have been continually working on yet there’s some worries surrounding it that have stopped me facing it head on.
At the beginning of this year I couldn’t even begin to imagine not hating myself. It’s how I’ve lived my entire life and I truly believed that at my core I was a completely worthless person who deserved every bit of pain I felt. I thought the ‘me’ that people saw was just a facade. One I’d honed to perfection to hide my awful self behind. The self-deprecating thoughts were so engrained and so constant I wasn’t even aware of how often I was kicking myself down.
The irony is, all the vicious thoughts I was feeding myself controlled me to the point that most of what I was saying became true, in a way. It reached its worst in high school when I had no idea how to talk to new people in such a big environment. I came from a primary school of around 50-60 pupils and going from that to a high school of over 1000 broke me because I didn’t know how to deal with it. At first, the excitement of somewhere new where it would be different to before was great but then I began to notice how everyone else had formed groups and friendships that I hadn’t. I already believed that I was a just a piece of rubbish, a nobody, so I would second guess everything anyone said to me and pretty quickly I accepted I wasn’t meant to fit it.
The trouble with schools is they can be hell for kids if they are feeling similar to how I felt. Snide comments stick in your brain forever, ‘jokes’ made in class isn’t just banter and people looking at you and whispering is definitely them hating on you. And all that stuff whirling around your mind- it becomes your identity. It didn’t occur to me to try to object to them because they were true. It didn’t matter if anyone did say anything nice, they were just saying that because they felt sorry for me. And that was my ultimate downfall.
I was so unhappy and so desperately wanted to fit it, I wonder now how obvious it was to people who knew me then. The trouble is when you’re trying to do that you do become what you fear. You become that annoying person standing on the sidelines trying to get a look in (in fairness I don’t know if that’s true because of my skewed view of the past). The worst days of the week were always Fridays-Mondays and that’s still the same to this day. I would feel so despondent sitting next to a group of people, hearing about their plans and all the fun they were going to have. All the while wondering why I couldn’t have that and why I was the only one not invited. I’d spend the weekend wishing I was a part of it and then dreading hearing everyone talk about all the weekend gossip on Mondays.
As I got older I would hear my name whispered or notice a pointed look in my direction during hushed conversations. I would catch snippets of things said about me and have to pretend I couldn’t hear. Why would I say anything? How could I when it was true. Instead of trying to fight my thoughts I gave in. I would float around different groups of people, never attaching to anyone but allowing each failed attempt at friendship to chip further away myself.
Looking back I’ve spent a fair while feeling bitter about so much. I was upset that I had missed out on experiences of ‘a normal teen’. Not all big things, small things that you do with friends on a typical day off or experiences as you’re given more freedom to look after yourself and go out without supervision. I hate when people say ‘how can you not have done this?!?! Or how have you not tried this?!?! Or how have you not seen this?!?! It makes me feel awkward, and sad, when they then say ‘oh my god, you haven’t lived!!’ because my first thought is that I haven’t. I haven’t done them because I didn’t have someone to experience that with and didn’t have the inclination to try it alone. I haven’t stopped to enjoy the moment and find beauty in the little things.
Nowadays I hold myself back from everything and everyone but I am working on it. I’m so uncomfortable talking to anyone because I feel so out my depth. I struggle to keep up with the ebb and flow of conversations, to keep up with the laughing and joking. I struggle to contribute to so many topics because I don’t have any ideas about it or experiences to add to it. I struggle to talk to even family because I’m often asked questions about your life and what I get up to and I don’t want to have to reveal that I don’t have anything to say. It’s much easier to say ‘I don’t like doing this or that’ than it is to say ‘I don’t have anyone to do that with’ or ‘I’m too scared to go somewhere like that on my own’.
I’ve become so much stronger this year and overcome a whole bunch of hurdles I thought I never would but my biggest fear right now is that I’ll live my life always separated from those around me. It’s something on my journey so far I haven’t been able to figure out. It all seems so complicated, is it really a case of just saying what you think? Just messaging someone when you need to talk? I’m scared, actually I’m terrified, that I’ll never stop holding myself back. That I’ll always keep a barrier up and never let anyone in. That I’ll run at the first sign I’m getting close to someone. That I’ll never trust anyone enough to explain how complicated I make even the smallest things. I feel like they’re valid fears because, honestly, who wants complicated? Life is hard enough as it is without have to be friends with or in a relationship with someone broken.
I’m the only person that can stop my fears being reality. Maybe one day I’ll reach a stage where all this doesn’t matter because I believe in myself regardless. Maybe that’s where I’m headed right now. I’m already better than I’ve ever been. I’m making the most of every day and loving the beauty and wonder and any single moment, place or word can bring. I don’t hate myself anymore. I don’t particularly like myself either but the good things I think and say to myself…I’m starting to think they maybe could be true. The other week I made a commitment to live my life doing what I wanted and not letting other people’s view affect me because chances are, I’m completely wrong about what they’re thinking. I’m not a mind reader so I need to stop inventing negatives they could be saying about me in their head. Maybe I’ll look back on this as one of my biggest learning experiences. It’s a whole bunch of maybes. It’s the single biggest thing I don’t know if I’ll overcome in my recovery. Partly becuse I’m scared and partly because I feel irrationally ashamed that I’m starting to think positively about myself. Maybe I will succeed in this particular challenge but one thing I can say for sure is that I’m not there just now.