There is a running myth abut me that I am somehow confident and happy and even remotely well-adjusted. I’m not sure where people get that. It seems to take a lot for people to see deeper and see me as the fumbling, neurotic fuck-up I so aggressively believe that I am. This is one of the many disconnects I have with the world around me.
I don’t often open up about myself or the things going on in my head. There are a handful of friends who have seen me at my miserable, self-loathingly lows. I’ve had often fragmented, frustrated conversations with my parents that end in a “chin up, kiddo” sort of mentality. But the truth is that I am plagued by vicious anxieties that pick at my bones and a growing depression that recently began flexing its ability to stop me in my tracks. Usually its something that I’ve been able to bury, put somewhere off to the corner, but as I try to make a place in the world for myself, its becoming frighteningly apparent how big a problem these things can be.
I can’t remember a day where all these issues started becoming issues. I think I was largely a happy kid. But I remember moments where that image is fractured a bit. I remember being picked on and bullied, but I also remember that I had done my fair share of bullying in return. I remember being angry that on my seventh birthday they made me swing at the piñata last because I was bigger than the other kids and someone broke it before I got a chance. I remember leaving my own party that day and just running away off into the fields behind my house. There are so many disjointed memories of being lost or scared, even in my own home. Whether it was someone I didn’t like came to watch me or my sister’s boyfriend being mean to me or being dropped off when I was six and finding no one at home. There are so many memories of being young and alone. To the point where it began to feel like alone was the way I was meant to be.
There are many dirty parts of my life that I choose to remain secret. Some I don’t disclose to therapists. Some only a few friends know of. I tend to think I grew up a bit faster than I should have. The fact that my parents were never home became a legitimate excuse to be used in class for why I didn’t do something. A point that many of my friends eagerly vouched for on my behalf.
But I never felt depression until high school, when waves of paralyzing apathy or anger or frustration would wash over me, leaving me feeling completely powerless and once again alone. It was in high school that I started seeing myself as something other. Alienated and off to the side. Something that didn’t quite belong. Someone not good enough. While the bouts of serious depression or panic were few and far between (except for dealing with homework) there was a growing sense of self-loathing that was always present.
This past year the bouts of depression and anxiety have become more and more frequent. Growing steadily until in the past few months where depression often feels like a daily battle and my anxiety and bouts of panic derail me at every turn. A few weeks ago I sat at my desk at my internship, knowing that there were pressing things and deadlines ahead of me, but still I sat there, motionless and paralyzed for hours. This little ball of pain sat on my chest and scratched at my insides. In the ensuing weeks deadlines have come and gone with a good deal of panic but no action. I now boast four or so job that offer little to know compensation and so I sit, defeated in a ball of panic and dread and watch as all those precious responsibilities slip past.
I frighten myself a lot of the time. I’ve cried more in the past four months than I think I have since I was a baby. Most days I feel so disconnected from the people in my life. So far from their love or their affection. I feel isolated and abandoned most days. This utter unsympathetic self-hatred burns at me, saying that I deserve to be alone. That this is how I am fated to be. There is this crippling belief that I am not in control of my own life. That its just spinning out of my grasp, kicked around for others amusement or placed on a high shelf and forgotten. It is felt so genuinely and with so much earnest that I often forget to do things for myself or that that is a possibility for me. This unconscious belief that my happiness leads to other people’s suffering on some level leaves me completely numb.
It’s hard to articulate exactly what I feel. It’s harder to believe that anything I am writing holds any weight or any purpose. That it is anything beyond my self-righteous pity party that no one cares about. Something that will sit as an ugly, self-indulgent scar on the internet.
I wish I felt as connected as I should be. There are a lot of people in this world that I love purely and wholly. But I don’t often feel it in return. I look out into the world and it yells back at me with this crippling apathy. This constant belief that everyone hates me as much as I hate myself. That my co-workers see me as cumbersome and in the way. That my intern advisers don’t like my very existence and see me as a bother or worse, a waste of space. It’s this thing I’ve always seen of myself. I’m too much. Too much of everything. Too big, too loud, too phony, too quiet, too bombastic, too timid, too assertive, too passive, too fat, too selfless, too self-absorbed. Complete, vicious contradictions. Unsettled at all times no matter how I adapt.
And lately all these fears and paranoias and worries and hatreds have ground me to a complete halt. I have thoughts about what it would be like if I were to die in a car crash and I get these flashes of all the people who would miss me and all the things they would say and I feel their hurt so completely that I start bawling while sitting in traffic. And in those moments I know that I am not the garbage that I feel I am so explicitly. I am reminded of all the legions of family and friends that love me so completely. But then I’m left with a more haunting after image. A persistent question: Why do I have to go to such a dark place to finally feel everyone’s love?
I don’t know how I’ve become so disconnected from everything and everyone. More so, I don’t know how I’ve become so disconnected while appearing so engaged from the outside looking in. But I’ve reached out for help. I’ve begun to seek therapy once again. This time with these feelings a little more clearly articulated. A little more willing to eradicate that gnawing pain inside me. And that’s why I don’t want to keep it secret. I don’t know who all will read this. Probably no one. It is quite far off from the humor that usually populates this blog. But it felt important to share.
My mission through writing is to reach out to kids and young adults who feel all of these feelings. That feel so lost and alone and need something to hold onto. But I think I still need something to hold onto myself. A reminder that the story is still being written. And a happy ending will be on its way. We all have stories inside us and I don’t think mine is a sad one.