I was too much?
I had become annoying?
I was no longer worth it?
I talked too much?
You didn’t want me around anymore?
Or would you pity me? Be afraid of my fragility? Do I seem fragile? I feel fragile, but also… unbreakable. So many have tried. And they really tried, you know? I always convinced myself that they weren’t actually trying, oh no, who would do that, who would intentionally try to break a person? No, no, it was just me, all in my head, I was paranoid and inventing things.
This is why I worried about being told that I’m paranoid, that the test will show that. Because I was told for so long that I was just being paranoid and what if I really was? What if I really was just paranoid and inventing things in my mind, making things out to be worse than they were? “You’re lucky I put up with you, no one else would.” What if it really was all that bad, putting up with me, living with me? Not that I deserved abuse about it, but what if I was the root of the problem, what if I caused it - and, in causing it, deserved it?
This is what I mean when I talked about the tip of the iceberg. The tip of my iceberg is good, solid, she has tools and methods and she handles things and functions, at least minimally, as a “normal” person. Why, to the outside world, she probably looks downright mentally healthy. Or, at least, a super successful mentally ill person, like… high-functioning, right? Or maybe more like a functioning alcoholic - I can function but I still have a disease, I’m still sick, but I’m really good at keeping that private.
The part of the iceberg that no one sees is vast and consuming, a weight pressing on me all the time, suffocating me. And I’m working on that, have been for a long time, but it’s so big and overwhelming and scary. I feel a lot of relief around the tests I took yesterday, to finally have this part out of the way and to hopefully be on a path to more accurate diagnosis, but I’m also fairly terrified what that’s going to look like. I mean, really, what if the results come in and they’re like yeah, you are a textbook psychopath? Or borderline personality? I’ve always feared that one, really, and also identified with a lot of the symptoms.
I know there is no sense in worrying over it. No rational sense. I’ll have the results when I have them and I can decide next steps then. It’s not healthy to speculate. All I’m doing is causing myself anxiety and destroying my own self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Because, you know, if I really am nuttier than a box of Bill Knapp’s Nutty Dunkers, who would blame anyone for not wanting to deal with that, to be around someone who could lose her shit at any given moment? Yeah, losing my shit has become a thing of the past, but… okay, not really. Losing my shit physically and verbally has mostly become a thing of the past. In my mind? Still having regular meltdowns that require hours of self-care and tons of marijuana to mitigate.
I just feel like my hold on myself is so tentative. That feeling has always been mitigated with therapy, diagnosis, and then research of the diagnosis to better understand it and how to cope with it. No matter how much I try to accept myself as I am, I am still harshly judgmental of myself. Whenever I feel my grip slipping, I chastise myself, “Loser, you’re so weak, do better, be better, don’t you dare let anyone see you like this.” And that’s how I make it through, how I keep a lid on the worst of me. Self-punishment, self-abuse. “Don’t you dare talk about it, no one wants to hear it, everyone is going through something, don’t drag people down. If you drag them down too far, they will abuse you or, even worse, abandon you. Be happy, be funny, be cute, be likable.”
I work so hard on being my “authentic self” but I feel like a hypocrite, because my authentic self looks and feels like a big, annoying Debbie Downer. To me, anyway. That’s how I look to me. How I look to others, what I show them, while being 100% authentic, doesn’t feel like 100% of me. All I ever want to be is good and kind and helpful, but the me on the inside, she’s mean and angry and hurt and just wants to lash out. The outside me, the tip-of-the-iceberg me, she’s fairly steady and rational and reasonable. She’s who I wish all of me was.
I’m realizing that maybe what I’m feeling is grief. Grief for that hidden-beneath-the-surface me and all the pain and anger she’s been exposed to and held on to. Grief for the lifetime lost to trauma and mental illness. Grief for her lack of self-worth, her belief that nothing is real and that no one is to be trusted, and grief for a child in a woman’s body, emotionally stunted and always unsure of her place in a world she so desperately wants to fit into.
Test results, diagnosis, those things feel like freedom to me. Freedom to accept myself as I am, to accept that I didn’t ask for nor have control over my mental illness. If I know the face of the enemy, I can fight it, but my whole life was spent believing that the face in the mirror was the face of the enemy, being told the face in the mirror was the enemy, that it was all my fault because I didn’t have control or I was just a terrible person. I genuinely believed that I was a terrible person, a monster, when really I was just suffering from unacknowledged, undiagnosed mental illness and being told it was a choice I made, that it was all in my head and I could control it if I wanted to. I lived a life filled with overwhelming feelings of failure because I just couldn’t manage to control it. Every time I cried, every time I broke down, felt like I was going to shatter apart into a million pieces, felt like all the air had been sucked from the room and I was suffocating, I felt like a failure.
I just want to stop feeling like a failure, like I’ve failed every person in my life by failing myself. I know, rationally, that I am far from a failure. The knowing doesn’t stop the underlying thoughts that still say I failed. It’s like being able to control my outward behaviors but not my inner thoughts. I’m not a failure, I don’t behave like a failure, but a part of me still feels like one every day.