If I were to write the story of my life it would lack structure. My life is a series of disconnected memories. I suppose this is true for many people. They are faded and lacking many details. They are like dreams and am often afraid I am mixing the two. I suppose it’s because there is a lot I wanted to forget, and a lot of living I never had. Am told I was the outgoing, outspoken child when I was very little. I guess I must have been competing for attention between my older brother and younger sister. I do have one particular cringe-worthy memory of that time. I put on a jacket, hat, and sunglasses to pretend I was a different person. It’s embarrassing to think about, but that embarrassment might be the only reason I remember it.
Much of my childhood only existed between two things. School, and the time I spent in my room. I did not have friends, not really. The only friends I may have had I convinced myself were only interested in my brother. I was just something that followed him around. I was a B student. Never doing more effort than was necessary. I slept on the bus to school, I did my homework before the start of class, I hid near other geeky kids or kids that know my brother. The worst was when I had to eat lunch alone. I know I did these things, but asking me to pick a single moment out of any of them would be difficult.
The most dreamlike of all my memories, however, were the times I was losing my mind. The times I had panic attacks or the times I was completely lost in despair. I’ve been on the ground, begging for anyone to help me, but unable to call out or even move. I have walked down the streets at 2am with tears endlessly falling down my face. It doesn’t feel real, nor did it then. It was like watching someone else, It would have been so easy to walk in front of a car, or step onto the train tracks. I know I know I once swallowed a fist full of pills then Immediately throw them up. I can’t tell you when this happened, but I know it did.
Perhaps I should leave it alone, perhaps they are better off feeling like dreams. But sometimes I remember something I completely forgot and surprise myself. Recently I remembered I was in some kind of choirs in middle school. We went to six flags, but this is the only thing I remember about it. Did I like it? Did I hate it? I don’t know.
I procrastinate, things I enjoy, things I want to avoid, everything. Every decision I make I must question, painfully, as hour by hour goes by. Then I sit unfulfilled at my lack of action. Read a book, play a video game, even writing this very sentence is a long dragged out process. It’s painful. I grow up avoiding things that may hurt me, it has become second nature in almost all my actions.
This is anxiety of course. I tell myself to just take that first step, and it will be easier. It is easier, but it is fucking painful it is to get there. It is exhausting. I feel like my heart has broken after just a few hours of spending time with friends or family. “It is better to avoid it altogether” that little voice in my mind says. I would try to silence it with sleep but then I fall prey to a cycle of dreams I can’t see to awake from. I would spend the rest of my life in those dreams if I let myself. They are not happy dreams, they are painful and sad, but they have a sweet taste to them, a control over reality you can’t find in the waking world. Still, I wake up day after day.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote in his book Walden “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”
I have always had poor self confidence. My own self opinion has caused more damage to me then any bully, rather i am my own bully. When you set out an action with failure in mind, you are more likely to fail. Such thoughts bind you and weigh you down. It’s easy to make myself feel stupid, and ugly. I second guess every word i speak, if i speak at all. I could never speak to a girl, make friends, try new things. Sometimes i just want a hug, to have my existence acknowledged.
Who to you gain confidence? Its hard to say for sure, self esteem can often be elusive to people who suffer mental illness. However, i can say for me, whats turned me from an emotional wreak to functional is practice. Practice brings confidence in anything you do. The first time i try a new recipe i have no confidence in it, i worry about every little bit of it and it takes me at least twice as long to make it as anyone else. However the more i make that dish, the more it becomes second nature, i no longer even think about it anymore and just move. Failure hurts, it always does, but if you get second chance, or even a third, fourth, or fifth chance, you will succeed and soon your success will out weigh your failure.