Validation

Validation is a verb meaning to give meaning to. So does that make finding validation in others the same as having others make you happy. To me, the words are two different actions that often overlap and have the same outcomes. Kushandwizdom which I see all over the Internet had a quote that I saw on Pinterest. “When you depend on people to build you up they’ll have the same power to break you down. You don’t need their validation to know your worth.”  According to the many online tests (taken with a container of Mortons Salt) I have low self esteem and don’t value my worth to be very high. (disclaimer: I could have saved myself 20 minutes and just written that last sentence without taking the tests)

I do understand and now I can say I understand AND agree that the amount of self torture I did looking for validation from others hurt my self esteem and made me feel that I don’t have any true value in any kind of relationships with people. But I’m learning. It’s okay to not have other’s validate you. As a matter of fact it’s better.

Paraphrasing something written by Daniell Koepke; It is very easy to feel unworthy and unwanted when people aren’t able to communicate with you the way you want them to. It’s very easy to turn that into overthinking and internalize what you are feeling as uselessness and unworthiness. But as I realzied last night, most people are caught up in their own responsibilites, struggles and life to even think of asking someone else how they are doing. It’s not that they don’t like you are are rude; they are just busy and focused on what they are doing. Something I learned from as very smart family member.

People not responding to you right away via text or email or any form of communication isn’t a shortcoming on my part. It doesn’t make me any less  likeable/loveable or invisible. It doesn’t mean that I’m too much, too needy, too annoying or too bothersome.

Don’t Judge…

I had one of those leaks in my wall today. It’s funny, because when it happened; I had to take a pause and think about it. Why did the incident make me stop and think that I did something wrong? Why did I take the look on the person’s face to be one of “Oh fuck, there’s Kelly. I can’t duck her?” As I got in my car and drove away, I really stopped to think about what was going on in my mind. I don’t remember where I read it, but there was an article that said when we (or I) have these moments I should write down what was going on at that time. Who it was about and what was I feeling. Well driving and writing are probably more frowned upon than texting and driving. So I thought this out.

  • Be honest, did I really DO anything to make me think this person was unhappy to see me? No. I didn’t plan to be where I was at that moment and neither did they. It was just chance circumstance.
  • Do I know what kind of day they were having? No. This is where my title comes from. I have no idea what that person just came from. Maybe they had a bad morning. Maybe they had a bad phone call or text. Maybe they had a really bad choice of lunch item and were regretting the mambo their stomach was now doing and I had the misfortune to be the first person they saw.
  • Does this person EVER make me feel like they are sorry to see me? No. Never. This person is always very nice, kind and we have the most interesting conversations. This is someone I’m actually comfortable around.

So, that crack in the wall; well it turned out to be a shadow that was just passing by. In the past I would have been so upset and thinking what a fucking loser I am. This is baby steps….little things that are part of the long marathon ahead of me.

Leaks in the wall…

plugging-leaksI always knew that this was going to be an uphill battle…fighting depression. I knew it wasn’t going to be a sprint, but a marathon…one without an actual ending. There would be good days and bad days and days that fall in between. But I will admit that there is/was a small part of me that hoped that I would just wake up and all the doubts and anxieties would be gone. I discovered that wasn’t the truth.

The quote that I put in my last post by Sarah Silverman (I think the difference between being miserable and finding happiness is just a matter of perspective. If you live your life defining yourself by what other people think of you, it’s a form of self-torture.) sat on my mind as I tried to fall asleep last night. I was torturing myself worrying about what people thought of me and if in any way shape or form I thought they were thinking negatively of me, then I found my hapiness disapating. To combat worrying what people thought of me, I thought I’d build a wall up around my mind and to some degree my heart to keep the thoughts I felt away. So now I have this wall up; even though I no longer self-torture, I feel these cracks in the wall I’ve built.

Sometimes a little leak over there because of something I said and I take the comment/reply the wrong way. I percieve a look from someone and a leak spurts in my self confidence. Okay, plug up that. I think I’ve got that covered and worry that I don’t. That all the old thoughts and worries will come back. Do I have to “equipment” to seal that crack or will the leak wear out the foundation around it and cause more and more damage?

One thing I have an awful life long habit of doing is replaying conversations (either verbal or written/text) in my head and I go over and over them. Did I say the right thing? Did I make myself unclear? Do I sound a certain way? This is one of the things that I hate about text and email. You don’t know the frame of mind or the intent of the writer, you have to interpret what they have written based on your frame of mind.  And this…meaning my frame of mind….can sometimes….no let’s be honest – a majority of the time – cause some serious leaks in my walls where I look like the guy in the picture above.

And that brings me back to the quote. I’ve spent a great deal of my life defining myself by how I think other people think of me. Of what their perception of me is.Do they see me as a kind person? Do they see me as petty and needy? Do they see me as a funny person? Do they see me as a joke?  Most of the time I am wrong in my thinking.

In my family growing up, I am the oldest. My father drank until I was 16. It wasn’t pretty. He wasn’t abusive he was just a drunk. When he stopped drinking, a popular threat to me was it would be my fault if my father started drinking again. I hated that threat and how it held on to me. I had to do to make sure I didn’t do anyting to make my father drink again. So much so, I ate to ate to conceal my feelings.

Looking back at my friends and relationships growing up, I would conform myself and who I was to make sure they would like me.In college, every guy I dated, I transformed myself to be someone he’d not want to loose. I lowered my standards and made bad choices. (I hope I have raised my daughter to be better than me in this area.) I made friends with girls who I had nothing in common with and would do everything I could to become their best friend and their go to person. Even now, in another situation, I’ve found myself doing that. Pushing my way into someone’s life (and she is a family member) and trying to be their friend and confidant because I feel the un-nerving need to be needed and I’m twice her age.  I pushed too far and caused some serious damage. I felt and still feel stupid and petty for all I said and thought. We’ve worked our way back from then, but I still feel awful and ashamed of how I acted. There are times, like last night, that if I feel  I said the “wrong” thing; I’ll be pushed away and shunned. Then the cracks show up.They showed up last night and sent me on this post idea and wondering what my wall looks like. It also made me look at why I feel the need to be defined by a person’s opinion of me.

And then I get scared. Will the cracks over power my wall and send it crashing down on me drowning me in all my self doubt and insecurities.

Finding my happy…

My last post was an open letter written to someone who doesn’t suffer from depression. It was actually written to one particular person. If that person knows it was them or not, I do not know. I write a lot as if I’m writing to someone in particular, this is to no one in particular.

Today I was driving along taking my dog to the dog park and I started crying. They were actual tears of happiness believe it or not. I realized for the first time in a long time I was really feeling good. I was feeling happy. It was an odd feeling. I honestly thought I’d lost my happy. I thought I’d be spending the rest of my days with a mask on my face pretending to be happy and dying on the inside. A week ago tonight I was convinced of that. This past Monday found me (at the suggestion of someone I trust) to call my doctor and tell them that the depression was worse on the dosage of the new med that I was prescribed. Maybe one of the best calls I’ve made in a while. They upped my dosage and that creeping feeling of depression holding on to my back has slipped away. It does come back every now and then, but I have dealt with it. And I’ve noticed that I feel happy. I don’t mean that my depression is gone for good, but I mean that I feel myself smiling when … well for no reason. Like on the way to the dog park. I just felt genuinely good. This will be a daily battle for sure, but it made me think about finding my happy. About anyone finding their happy. What is happy?

What is happy?

When you Google search what is happy, you come up with a ridiculous amount of quotes about relationships between lovers. Do you really need someone to make you happy? Well to a point you do, but your happiness is from you and another person can contribute to it and make it grow. But if your happiness is dependent on that one person, then that’s not happiness, that is a control that person has on you making you a slave to them…so to speak. I suppose to a point I let people decide my happiness. I let them control how I should feel in terms of myself. Taking the reins of control back has been an uphill battle. Today was a perfect example. I felt the reins slide out of my hands for a bit, but my inner strength held fast and didn’t let them go. There was a feeling of Oh Fuck No. I don’t want to go down that road again. I understand it may be a tempting side trip in the road of life, but if I took that side trip down that exit it would be up there with going to the Circus for me. Clowns and things I don’t like.

 

Quotes I found say that you have to decide to be happy. Okay, well that can be a big fuck you to someone like me. I absolutely hate when someone would say that to me. Like I have a switch on my neck that says “up for happy; down for sad”. It doesn’t work that way for someone like me. Someone who has depression and overthinks and has a surplus of negativity about herself. If I had a switch like that, I’d tape the fucker in the on position 24/7. But my switch has and up position, a down position and 300 stops in between. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, it maybe has 5 stops in between.

You have the sad position, but that’s not the bottom one. The bottom one is the I can’t deal anymore position and I’m thinking everyone I care about will be better off without me position. It was stuck there last weekend. The next position up is the sad position. That’s not really a bad position. We all have the right to be sad.You have to have sadness to balance things out and see what you really have to make the sad go away.There’s all kinds of sadness too so it’s not always a bad thing. Next up is the fake smile one. It’s where I really feel useless and undeserving (not to be confused with the lowest position) and have a fake smile on.  The next position is the neutral one. I’m neither happy nor sad, I just am. I felt that way last week. It’s like walking in a fog. Gravity is pulling you down to the lower buttons, but they can’t succeed. Next button is the momentary happy. You feel moments of normalcy and happiness and think that it will all be okay. Buttttttttt not really sure that position will hold. Then the top is true happy. Like Snoopy dancing happy.

Quotes said, ignore the drama, ignore the hatred, ignore the pain….but when you feel you have caused the drama you deserve the hatred and the pain you feel. When you suffer from depression, you think you are the drama and people hate you for the drama you bring to them not always on purpose. It’s hard to turn that all off and say that you can find the happiness in yourself if you let that go. The only way to make that happen is to have amazingly supportive people who will call you on the drama and tell you that yes, they may be angry with you and your actions or words, but they still love you.

Happiness is a choice. No one chooses to be unhappy. No one wakes up and says “Oh today, I will be unhappy. I will put on my unhappy socks, unhappy pants, unhappy shirt and go out and bless the world with my unhappiness.” You will never be happy until you let go of the things that made you unhappy. Sounds like a very simple thing. Dust off your hands and BOOM, all those nasty little unhappy things are gone. For me, being unhappy had a sense of safety in it. Unhappiness had been where I’d spent so much of my time that I knew the landscape, I knew the scenery. I knew all the bumps in the roads and knew that unhappiness gave me security. Happiness was foreign. It was unknown. It was that road that was new and unexplored. (Yeah, milking the road scenario).

Then there is the infamous “Happiness is liking yourself.” Well here’s the thing with me. I don’t know if I like myself. This is how I see myself. I see someone who is not attractive (yes, happiness comes from the inside, but I need to spell this out) I see someone who is quiet and shy. I don’t feel I contribute much to society or bring much to the table of friendship. I think I’m an awful friend. I may be able to give advice because I’ve been through so much in my life and it’s those things that lend to me not liking myself. I feel I brought so much of it on by my own actions. I tend to hide and make myself invisible. Thinking if no one can see me then that’s a good thing. People have told me I’m funny and kind and have a great writing voice. But those things to me are what I give to others…if that makes any sense.I think I have a petty heart. I think I’m needy. I think I’m a loner. I don’t mean I think I’m better than anyone else, I just think people find nothing in me redeemable as a human being to be my friends.

And finally what is happiness? How do you find it? I guess that’s a personal answer for each of us to find. One thing that made me happy in spirit this week is the comment that Selena Gomez made at the AMA awards. That if you’re broken, you don’t have to stay broken. I’ve been broken for a long time. Most broken the past few months. I’m not intending to stay broken. I’m going to find my happy and hold on for all it’s worth.

I found this quote by Sarah Silverman: I think the difference between being miserable and finding happiness is just a matter of perspective. If you live your life defining yourself by what other people think of you, it’s a form of self-torture.  

 

Is this what I’ve been doing?

An Open Letter

I’m writing this to the person who doesn’t suffer this. I want you to understand what it feels like. I’m not a terminally depressive person. I’m not a lost cause or a person to be avoided. I didn’t wake up this way. I’ve fought it my whole life. But recently, be it life changes or hidden truths revealed, things became off in my life. Things that made me happy suddenly didn’t. I struggled to find the elusive ray of light and happy that I always had.
Tears..well tears became too common. And I don’t mean the kind that you see in a Hallmark movie. I’d burst out crying over dumb things. Things I knew were lies Depression wanted me to believe and the struggle of heart and mind brought oh so many tears. I am a writer at heart, but vocalizing a simple request or plea turned top over bottom and made things worse.

I forgot how to genuinely smile. I couldn’t look in the mirror because the image I saw was Depression grinning back.
I felt this wall go up and it wasn’t brick and mortar. It was glass. Distorted glass at its best. I saw my family and friends in that elusive ray of light; living and loving and having everything I didn’t think I deserved. Behind this glass wall I felt worthless and no matter how hard I tried to get on the other side of the glass wall, I couldn’t make it. I began to feel like I was falling and no one would catch me. Every past failure, real and imagined grew in volumes in my head. People were mocking me, every look I got was followed by a laugh. They saw me as attention seeking. Silly girl, who do you think you are? Who cares about you? That was my mantra. Who did I think I was? Why would I think people would want me around? What value did I bring to any table? Who would miss me if I was gone?
Oh, that terrible … awful road. Depression grinned. It found me at a crossroad. Go left, take one step even if your feet felt like they were mired in cement, I would make it. Go right…well that road took me to a final place. I stood there scared and alone. I thought of those I love and care about. How they’d be so much better with this albatross off their neck. Would they notice me gone? How easy could I be replaced? Very easily I believed. They would move on til the missing albatross was naught but a memory.
There I stood at my crossroad. Depression climbing up my body threatening to engulf my soul. And there in the darkness I saw it. No bigger than a speck of glitter, it lay on the road to the left. Depression grabbed tight and whispered in my ear. It told me I was not worthy of that speck of glitter. It begged me to follow it to the right and let the hurt go. Stop being a burden to my family. But that speck of glitter began to glow. My heart fought back and began to beat harder. The glitter became a gleam. Depression tried pulling me away from the light that beckoned me. I looked to the left and saw my family and loved ones and knew that they would be there no matter how lost I felt. Then I looked over my shoulder to the darkness on the right.

“Not tonight.” I shrugged Depressions hold and started down the left road.
I’d like to say this is a metaphor, a nice little explanation; but it was this past weekend. I’m still here. I’m not okay today. I may not be okay tomorrow or the day after. But I will get there. Please be patient with me.