I 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.