This journey started early one morning nearly 50 years ago… when I was born.
I didn’t know it but my life wasn’t going to run along the tracks as smoothly as I imagined everybody else’s did.
I was always shy, as far back as I can remember with a general dread of being left by my loved ones. No, I never knew why but I had a deep feeling of fear , being alone, being left, being rejected. Not good enough… strange really as I had a good childhood with a loving family.
There have been some really pretty awful times, there have been some really great times. But somehow that feeling of dread, guilt, fear of rejection, fear of being found out that I didn’t really belong stuck with me and it brought it’s friends to the party too.
I was born and brought up in a village in the countryside, I loved the nature around me, loved being off to the woods on my own – hang on! Didn’t I just say I had a fear of being alone? Ah, but no one said this flood of feelings was going to be easy. No, for me being left alone and choosing to take off on my own were two very different things and the two made for an interesting mix – not forgetting our old friends dread, guilt,fear, rejection anxiety, a growing social anxiety along with a ton of other things I couldn’t put a finger on.
Anyway, back to the woods and fields. Oh I so wanted a dog, man’s best friend. All that unconditional love. I desperately wanted a pony too. Who needs human friends when surrounded by all that love? I knew with no shadow of doubt my parents loved me too, but of course there was always that self doubt and loathing. I wasn’t really deserving of that love, right?
Time went by. Primary school was bearable, more or less -until early puberty started to stick it’s nose in. Totally uncalled for, in my opinion. Also totally unwelcome! All those hormones milling about, causing no end of chaos.
Secondary school started bad, got worse and went rapidly downhill from there. My parents were unendingly patient which I rewarded accordingly by becoming a bit of a wild child. Psychiatric treatment followed, a resounding failure in my opinion.It certainly didn’t touch the subject of my private agony, didn’t address the severe bullying I was subjected to, that I was ashamed to tell my parents the extent of, the attacks that got gradually worse, the rapidly growing gulf between me and ‘them’ , my supposed peers. I learned to pretend it wasn’t happening, hadn’t happened and when I couldn’t escape I found a front to put on, to hide the vunerable me and bluff over my terror. Becoming a bit wild was a response and I loved that side of my life.
So it went on. And on.
Anyway, enough of that for now. It was the start of this journey I’ve been on, am still on. Funnily enough I don’t know if I would change it if I could. Maybe I’m finally learning that although I have mental health issues I also have worth?
Because what I’d like to share with anyone who can find a scrap of help in my ramblings is that no one should be defined by what someone else thinks, what they say, the shape someone else puts us in. It’s what we think of ourselves that matters and no matter how much you hate yourself there is good in you. There will be something that someone likes about you. Maybe there are even people that admire things in you. Somehow that voice of shame or despair is always louder and more insistant but take the good times on board. Its lonely feeling vunerable and exposed but there are people out there who understand the pain. Sometimes it’s easier to open up to someone you don’t know, that won’t be hurt by or afraid of your pain. Those bad days are so exhausting, it sometimes somehow feels much easier and less hassle to just hide it as best you can and carry on but reaching out for help is such a big step towards believing in yourself. Don’t give up.
I will also add that of course approaching your doctor or healthcare professional is to be recommended. I am in no way a trained health provider, mental health or any other.
The only training I’ve had is in life!