Does anybody else hate themselves as a habit? Like the self-loathing runs as deep as the scar on your knee from falling off your bike when you were seven years old? Like it’s just become part of your nature to despise everything you do? I don’t know how I got to this place, but some days I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I knew I was relatively critical of myself from an early age. I was definitely a perfectionist. I remember arranging my hair ties by color and size and alphabetizing my CD’s, early indications I would pursue perfection my whole life. I would rearrange furniture every couple of months to try to make my surroundings perfect. There’s something therapeutic to me about everything in the right place. I wonder if I did it then to quiet the thoughts in my head as I do now.
I feel overstimulated constantly. Too much noise. Too much of the wrong kind of touch. Too many negative thoughts. Too many hateful people voicing their opinions freely. Too much clutter in my house. Too many ways to be personally offended. Too many ways in which we are all falling apart as a civilization. Too many thoughts in my mind. If everything is perfect, then maybe my thoughts will slow down. Maybe I won’t have any reason to think negatively. It’s an unbelievably futile pursuit; nothing in the world is perfect and everything is subject to interpretation. One day, one person can view a situation as overwhelmingly positive and a different person on a different day may view it as terrible. There’s also the element of time; the longer time goes on the less perfect that which initially seemed perfect becomes. I can’t decide if that’s the luster wearing off or if my idea of perfection changes so rapidly. Ex: I finally found that arrangement of houseplants on my T.V. table that feels aesthetically perfect, yet four months later it seems wrong. From perfect to far from it in such a short amount of time.
Not unlike my home decor proclivities, I can turn a decision I made a few months ago in good conscience and contentment the worst decision I could have made. I look back at my past. All I see is mistakes and my future is saturated with objects of fear. Everything I look ahead to feels full of risk and consequence. My past serves as an example of how I cannot trust myself to embody forward motion. One step forward, three ways in which it was a terrible choice. Three consequences to suffer. How do we break out of this noise? How do we look at the past traumas and perceived mistakes and trust in our ability to be good despite all of it? How, at 28 years old, do I build confidence in myself? Where do you find strength?
There is no magical recipe that applies to everybody. It’s a personal journey to find that ideal combination of what works. It’s difficult to find that combination because it’s all trial and error, and like many parts of life, sometimes what once worked does no longer. This is the place where I am. Most things I thought worked and I cultivated over years (walks, physical activity, tea, yoga, journaling, meditation, time apart, time with others, gardening, decorating, shopping, eating, watching too much t.v., bubble baths, looking at pictures of faraway places, reading inspirational quotes, etc.) do work still, but they feel less profound in their effect. It’s hard to know what to do.
Especially when you’re in a truly dark place, the answer is even harder to visualize. You stab around in the dark without knowing what you will touch. Because you’re operating without one of your senses, the exhaustion sets in. You become unable to fight for long periods of time. It ends up feeling futile and hopeless. You keep trying to pick yourself up off the floor, but as soon as you are up, you fall again. It seems like time is the only variable that changes this situation at all and in the meantime you are destined to remain in darkness.
I know I’m miserable when it feels like this, but I worry about how it is for loved ones. I want to be better than I was last year, ten years ago. I want to be a person I can be proud of. I want to be impenetrable to fear, to stress. I want my loved ones to know it won’t always be this way. I want to, with confidence be able to guarantee them that. I think what kills me is feeling like there’s no way I can make that promise and that I can’t even make that promise to myself. I don’t even believe it will be better right now.
I feel alone. I feel invisible. It’s times like these I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if I disappeared. I wonder if I will reach a breaking point where this seems like the best solution. I increasingly feel I am too old for this shit. I remember I had a therapist when I was in my early 20’s who would tell me parents she thought I would grow out of it. I was waiting for that to happen for years, but at this point I’m done waiting for something that seems like it was a solution for somebody else. All I am left with is escape.
I find escape in pretending I don’t exist. Staying indoors. Refusing to live. I find escape in sleep, even though my sleep is filled with nightmares. When can I stop running from myself?