A couple of days ago, I woke up and didn’t feel like myself. It was strange, to say the least. Something had happened to my personality. It had detached itself from my body. I felt like an actor playing the part of me, or a doppelganger here to replace me. It is hard to explain how I felt like some non-me and yet I still knew who “I” was supposed to be. But I was the clone. I was the imposter that you ultimately end up destroying to save the real person.
“She’s not feeling quite herself.” It sounds like a phrase from a movie, doesn’t it? I’ve never heard someone say they weren’t feeling like themselves in real life. And usually when they say it in the movies there is some sort of extra significance… “I’m not feeling like myself this morning,” says the imposter on the other side of the door, trying to delay discovery.
I didn’t know what to do with it. I was surrounded by things that weren’t mine and all the memories that didn’t matter. I could sit at my computer, but what could I say? There were no honest words in me, only things I could lie about to continue my disguise. I couldn’t call my mom for the same reason.
Feeling utterly defective, I did what you naturally do when some machine is giving you trouble. I tried turning it off and turning it on again. In this instance meaning I got back into bed and went to sleep. It worked. I woke up a few hours later and I was the right version of myself again. I was the original.
When this happened to me I was severely weirded out. Now that it is over, though, I am a bit fascinated. What was that about? Where did it come from? Will it happen again? At this point I have no way of knowing.
As far as my current state, I am not sure what I want to explain, so instead I am going to try a brief exercise. I am going to put down some of the incriminations that have been running through my mind lately. I don’t know if this is a good idea, but I am inclined to think that exposing the negativity in my mind can help to weaken it. If I put it down somewhere maybe I can steal some of its power?
You are weak.
You are disgusting.
You are lazy.
You are pathetic.
You are selfish.
You are alone.
You are trapped.
Even just looking at these words… after a while, it feels strange. I suppose initially they sting because I often feel them. I can recall piling the evidence on myself to support these words. They are volatile, and I am certain I risk triggering myself or others by putting them on the page.
But there is something else. Ultimately, those bad, cruel thoughts are so…. mundane. They are boring! As a person who values creative expression above nearly everything, I am actually turned off by how uninspired the negative voices are. It’s almost laughable. There is a defense mechanism in my mind that sneers at how typical those insults are.
Come on! Is that all you can manage? Talk about lowest common denominator!
I realize this creates a dialogue between me and myself… which might seem a little crazy. But no, I don’t think that is accurate. It is not me in the sense of true identity. What I am talking back to is the poison. I am refuting the corrosive thoughts that are spawned by depression.
Whether you accept that or simply think I have begun talking to myself, I have to advocate for this activity. It seems to be helping. Last night I was flooded with the bad thoughts and they held sway. This morning, by compartmentalizing, I find I can fend them off.
The negativity is petty. I can see that when I look at all those words. It isn’t going for truth or accuracy. Just the rawest of attacks. Anything and everything that might generate more bad thoughts.
I am writing this instead of lying in bed and crying. That was not working for me. Somehow I made the choice to come back to the living room and get back on the computer.
Back on the computer and back on the blog.
It’s been at least six months.
I kept seeing notifications from the site popping up in my inbox. And I would feel conflicted and uncomfortable. Now I think it’s a good thing, because I didn’t completely forget.
I have slid down from wherever I was six months ago. It’s not good.
I am fighting wars with myself. Battles between shame and avoidance. Introspective campaigns of guilt and fear. There is so much of it and it has dragged me down to dark places. I have woken up tired too many days. I have resented living my life because it demands that I cope with myself… something I can’t seem to manage.
And yet, while sinking, one hand has found a grip on a lifeline. This blog. Even these words. A voice. My voice.
I am rusty, I barely remember how to use the site. Still I want to. There are other outlets I could reach for but this is the one that I think is the most constructive. I am going to review my old posts and see if I can teach myself anything.
I am hoping this is the first of a resurgence in posts. If I can brave it, I may expand on what exactly is going on.
Say that three times fast. It’s my way of saying that I’m not good at this whole humanity thing. I find it hard to empathize with other people, to trust them, to value them as equal to myself. This is introversion and then some. I suppose it might be considered anti-social. I feel like people use that term like they’re bragging about themselves. But putting any consideration into this anti-social attitude creates an enormous problem. How do I begin to feel like I have value to other people when I don’t place value in them? What draws the distinction between me and everyone else?
All that I can claim is a limited view. Here in this head is the only place I can live, and so by default it is the best place to be. It can’t be otherwise. If it is better to be someone other than myself, then I am doomed. I am this person. The only choice I can see in wishing I were another person is the choice to despair. So to protect myself, my mind prefers its own company. I may want to be in better condition, but I still want to be me.
It’s not that I don’t care about anything. Clearly I do. The problem is the egocentricity. It is so pronounced that it is isolating me. I am at once glad and frustrated with my distance from other people. I know that human connection can be a truly vital component to life… and yet at the same time I wonder if needing that connection isn’t some sort of vanity or weakness on my part. I exist whether anyone knows it or not, don’t I?
What bothers me most of all is the idea of an extreme. I am falling victim to an absolute way of being when I shut everyone out. I am being rigid when I value flexibility. I am letting black and white thinking take over when I prefer the gray area.
So how do I change? Where do I start? The only thing I can think of at this point in time is to keep myself aware. I am also going to try and rationalize my way into having a heart. If there is no use expecting to be valued when I am selfish, doesn’t that mean that the value lies in generosity? It seems so cliché and obvious… it’s essentially a clumsy way of expressing the golden rule. Maybe that’s why I don’t quite feel it deep down. It almost seems too simple to be real.
Even if I can’t convince myself for now, it’s a start. It seems that it’s necessary to trace the same patterns of thought over and over again before they truly stick in a different direction. This makes a lot of sense. After all, most of what we learn, even the negative thinking, is a product of repetition.
It’s a painful truth that I have dealt with for a long time. I start projects but I am terrible at seeing them through. I am going to do my best not to impose the expectation of completion on this blog. I am using this to cope, hence the title. There will be ebb and flow, I just have to accept that.
So what’s the plan? Truth, truth and more brutal truth. Maybe some hope thrown in there and maybe even -dare I say it?- a dash of change as well.
My current status: unstable. I am wavering at the edge of downward-spiral land. I’m not there yet, I’m keeping afloat, but it’s pretty meager in terms of functionality. This means that I am taking very poor care of myself and my surroundings. It’s a mess, I’m a mess. I spend a great deal of time not thinking about it and coasting on avoidance pass-times.
Is blogging this any better than what I’ve been doing? I like to think so. At least this is an outlet. A purging method that allows me to reflect a little. I have this idea of adding my little cartoon character… but I may lack the confidence to keep that going.
She’s not much to look at, but she’s a decent echo of low mood.
Already I have mixed feelings about this… the blog in general. But, somehow feeling bad about it is doing something to convince me it’s a good idea. I really want to make it work, at least for a little while.
I’ve tried to look the other way for quite some time, and it doesn’t help me. How I have managed not to devolve entirely most likely has a lot to do with luck. Now I am trying to look this thing in the face and see what comes of it.
This is short… very very short as far as a post is concerned. Still I wanted to start somewhere. I’m going to put more into this tomorrow, perhaps touch up the menus and whatnot. It is time for me to be getting into bed.