I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an advocate, a student, a teacher, a lover, a fighter, a child, an actress, a winner, a loser and yes I am a human. I’ve been working hard on the different aspects of me that cause me to feel less than. I plan to tell you some of my discoveries today. I do this not for attention or sympathy but because I’m not afraid to tell my story. I feel by exposing my darkest fears and challenges maybe I can in fact inspire. Inspire someone to know they are not alone or maybe inspire them to seek help. Whatever I inspire in you or them, please know I’m doing my best to be real and honest so people know living with depression or after a tragedy can be possible. It’s not easy but if I can stay so can they.
This last week when I went to my therapist we talked about my inability to recognize anything good without feeling bad. It’s hard to explain but somewhere early on I learned that feeling good about something or talking about yourself was bragging and therefore wrong. I’ve touched on this before but lately I’ve been working hard to reconcile some of my early learned thought patterns. Why is it wrong to feel pride? And because of this, I have to depend on others to give me my self worth. Wow, that right there is a new revelation to me. I could not understand why I needed other people to give me my sense of self definition until just now as I write this. I can’t do it without feeling bad. So in order to have a feeling of belonging and value I take those outside comments and internalize their meaning. I can tell you allowing others to decide who you are and how you feel about yourself isn’t a good thing. I’m working on it though.
The discussion I had with my therapist (her name is Darla) also brought up how I always feel like I’m playing a role. Thus this list at the start of my blog. It makes me feel like a fake and that is not who I want to be. I said I feel like there are all these little pieces of me and depending on the audience, I choose who I should be. I feel conflicted and torn. I feel like I can’t be a good this if I’m also a good that because this person wants me to be this way while another wants be to be the opposite. It’s a constant struggle and balancing act. Have you ever felt that way? I’m sure in one way or another everyone has but for me and I’m sure others, it’s a tug of war that never ends in a victory. I’m working on it though.
Another internal discussion I’ve been having comes from a statement that was made to me years ago by a classmate. I think I said I was fat or something and their response was “stop fishing for compliments”. That’s been 27 years ago and it still stings. I remember the feeling of embarrassment and how confused I was. It made me doubt my true intent and it still does today. Maybe I was just looking for attention and if so, how pathetic does that make me? Questioning my true intent has plagued me since. Maybe I don’t help people for the right reasons? There is a Friends episode where Phoebe tried to prove you could do good without getting anything in return. I constantly struggle thinking maybe I do what I do for the attention it gets me. I was actually told that I liked getting my picture in the paper and since then, I’ve felt almost dirty because of it. In my heart, I want that coverage for education but maybe I don’t. Maybe I am that person. I know I’m not but that feeling creeps in. I’m working on it though.
Lastly, I know I have written a few times about my daughter and her problem. She of course is not happy I’ve shared it here or any where for that matter. However, I’m not embarrassed about what she’s going thru and I don’t want her to be either. I told her today, I love you but I’m scared. I love you but I’m worried. I don’t have any answers still. She offered me none. I just hope one day we can look back at this as the worst we have been thru. Only time will tell and only she can make the decision to change. I’m trying to remember I can’t control this. As a mother, it’s difficult. I’m working on it though.
I tell my story as unflattering as it is, not to illicit pity or evoke shame but in an attempt to shed light on the way depression, addiction and self loathing can effect any person or family. I tell my story in hopes that if there is a person like me, who struggles too, they can feel less alone. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an advocate, a student, a teacher, a lover, a fighter, a child, an actress, a winner, a loser and yes I am a human. I’m many things but I’m not perfect. No one is. I don’t always remember that but I’m working on it.