I realize the way I’ve been writing my posts about my personal life, it seems as if it’s some tragic drama with an endless violin playing in the distance.
While I do struggle with a lot of my mental illnesses, I do have some redeeming traits — I think it’s important to recognize my pride in accomplishments.
1. Sometimes going through the kind of stuff that triggers anxiety or depression leads to a wholly underwhelming self-esteem. You start worrying about how everyone judges you, and you blame yourself for everything that occurs afterward. But what helps me cope through it is that, at least, if I get something I wanted done, I am extraordinarily proud of the fact.
Whether it’s just getting up in the morning, or getting out and having a positive interaction with a store clerk, it’s something to celebrate for me. It helps me feel better about getting through the day.
2. There’s the engrained sarcasm already, which is definitely something I’ll never get rid of, but another thing I really enjoy doing is talking about myself and my problems openly when asked.
I know so many people who are reluctant to this because of reasons like not wanting to appear too vulnerable, feeling embarrassed to talk about how it happened to them, and even worrying that they’d annoy someone by talking about themselves too much. These are completely understandable — but in this way, it becomes easier to set up a scenario in which you’re completely alone. Help is actively being cut off, because no one else can understand just what you’re going through. You’re basically setting yourself up for disappointment.
I’ve learned slowly that I don’t mind talking about myself and I’ve managed to convince myself that it’s all for the goal of getting better. I realized that something was wrong, but if there’s one thing I’m determined to do, it’s to pinpoint the source and fix it. Seeking help is one thing, but talking to others about seeking help is totally different. It took me 2 years to stand up to my parents and finally tell them to stop invalidating my cries for help as laziness and irresponsibility. And I didn’t do it disrespectfully. That’s what gets through to them.
3. Another factor I recently figured out: I am a pushover. Not in the sense that I’m too afraid to stand up to my friends (because I learned to do that a while ago), but in the sense that I’m too afraid to stand up to authority figures and people in power. If I got cut off from financial aid, I didn’t fight back. I cried. If I missed too many classes, I didn’t contact the professor to tell them what’s wrong. I waited it out until the end and then re-triggered my depression.
A friend recently told me something that really struck me — She said, “Why do you accept whatever life gives you?”
It’s a powerful statement. And I hadn’t thought about it this way, but it’s true. Why do I back down in fear and just take everything thrown at me? That sentence alone was enough to get me thinking, “I want to fight back.”
If I don’t start standing up for what I know I deserve, someone else isn’t going to come along and hand it to me on a platter. I want to take more control, and if it bugs people along the way, well at least they’ll know what’s on my mind. The number one goal for my mind is to stop caring if someone is annoyed or inconvenienced because of my thoughts.
4. I’m extremely confident on stage. This one’s a big plus, because public speaking is one of the biggest fears for the majority of the world. If I have my material 100% prepared, my greatest boost of confidence is either on camera or in front of an audience. I can’t network to save my life — my anxiety gets the better of me in that. But put me on a platform, and watch me become a completely different person.
5. I’m really stubborn in subjects I know a lot about. If I know I’m well-versed in a topic, like television shows, feminism, science fiction, etc., I will do anything it takes to proudly display my opinion. I used to partake in a lot of debates — and my passion is relentless. I know what I love and what I hate, and it takes a lot to shake my thoughts. I might feel intimidated in areas I’m not as knowledgeable about, but the very few things I have carefully mastered, there’s no stopping me. I also know my level of dedication.
It’s sometimes not that great a thing, because I leave behind my health and sanity to sell my soul to whatever it is I’m doing. But in the end, if I’m learning something new and it requires acquiring new material or doing a lot of work, I will probably be willing to die to get it finished. Everything in my mind gets channeled onto that one new thing, it could be a job, a subject, or even a book.
It’s not easy to try to remain positive, despite whatever the magazines and motivational speakers tell you. At times, it seems damn near impossible. But at the very least, acknowledging and wanting to improve is a huge step to coping with it. It’s a very gradual process — you can’t just stand up one day and want to fix everything, nor can you just “be more positive.”
But I think sometimes taking the things you love to do and highlighting them to make you feel better isn’t a bad thing, if it’s possible. Immediate pick-me-ups don’t seem to work for me, they only get me distracted for a bit. So these kinds of positive thoughts are rare.
At the very least, though, I’m glad I realize that.