“Our entire life … consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are.” - Jean Anouih
Describe yourself in five words?
Say them to yourself now, the first five that pop into your head. How did that feel?
I can’t. I need another five, or ten, maybe twenty.
It’s not because, darling, a galaxy of adjectives could only begin to pick the lock of this treasure chest.
It’s because I’m scared of getting it wrong. Of those five words not fitting this idea of “me”. I’m scared of how others will judge, of not maintaining my mask(s). Of my words not being witty, eclectic, firm, tender, understanding, strong, intelligent, moralistic, accepting, vulnerable, accessible and helpful, all at once. I’m scared that those words won’t be good enough and that they won’t matter.
To who? It’s only me sat here, so who is this audience?
When did I stop thinking for myself?
What do I really think when the lights are out and it’s just me?
I don’t know because I have ran away from it for so long.
I can’t sleep without the aid of medication, company, podcasts, booze, screens, noise. It’s a broken sleep at that: I’m alone with my fears of what lurks in the shadows, confusing vivid nightmares with reality. Most nights my sheets are soaked with cold sweat.
I can’t eat meals or use the little boy’s room or sit on a bench or breath without distraction.
My life is dictated by fear. My mental illness fuels it and feeds off it’s flames. But I have also cultivated this fear: hiding, denial, people-pleasing, ignorance, self-destruction, lethargy.
I am standing in the way of myself and that has to change first before I can recover and find any peace.
It’s been two weeks since my last post. In it, I wrote about starting Lamotrigine, a mood-stabiliser / anti-psychotic used to treat Bipolar and Personality Disorders.
The first week was pretty positive: my spells of anxiety and lows and random elation were frequent and present, of course, but there was nothing out the ordinary. I was also showing myself care in other areas: I attended several sessions of group therapy. I got in touch with my local Mind centre about addition support. I ate relatively well and cycled every day.
All this was reflected in my sleeping better. I felt a little more settled. I was exhausted, but, one very sudden and severe afternoon of panic attacks aside, I knew I was a lot more stable and busier than I had been used to the last few months.
It felt like the beginning of something amicable with myself.
So, of course, the second week I set out on an excursion of sabotage and self-destruction: I stopped eating, stopped attending group, stayed in bed, started fights with or ignored those closest. All the while, hiding in my ideals of peace and love and positivity for all.
I can point to the meds, and yes, they played their part no doubt.
But it’s the same cycles over and over, with or without medication: Standing in the way of myself. Punishing myself. Fuelling the illness with my fear and guilt.
And masking it all because of ego.
“The Ego, however, is not who you really are. The ego is your self-image; it is your social mask; it is the role you are playing. Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear.” – Deepak Chopra
Really, I don’t matter. Not in a self-deprecating sense. In that none of this really matters. The world is full of romance and chaos and pain and beauty and amazing pizza toppings and malt milkshakes (I haven’t eaten yet today). And I have become very lost in myself and my illness and my distorted ego and view of others.
The first person I need to be honest with is me. I am struggling. This is where I am right now and this is who I am. The rest will come, but I will start with honesty.
A deep breath in, then out, then on we go.
Peace and love xx