I know the self doubt that runs inside your mind,
I know the self doubt that treats you so unkind,
If you could see the you that I see,
When I see you seeing me,
You would see yourself so differently -
--Henry Rollins, Low Self Opinion
When I was at my lowest ebb a few months ago, every morning when I woke up I’d play the Rollins Band song “Low Self Opinion” to get my day started. The hard rock sound, and Rollin’s lyrics, which sound as though they are coming from someone who has been to some very dark places and survived to tell the tale, helped me get up, helped me to force myself to start another day.
I am definitely doing better than I was a few months ago, no question. I had fallen so far into depression that I had no choice but to try and radically change the way I was living. So I got more serious about exercise, tried some alternative therapies, as well as different medications, went back to therapy, started being more honest with myself and others about my state of mind. I cut back my work hours, and started eating healthier. I have tried to be of use to others. I started this blog. Basically, I did everything I could think of to get myself out of the big black hole I was in. And it has worked to some extent.
But when it comes right down to it, I think I still have a low self opinion. Very slowly I am getting better at being understanding of others, at putting myself in their shoes and not being so judgmental. There is a long way to go, but I am making progress.
But when it comes to myself, it sometimes seems I haven’t made any progress at all. I often feel a crushing loneliness, feel separate and unwanted from those I know. I feel ambivalent about reaching out to others, thinking that I am simply a burden, a buzz-kill, a drag. In the movie Strange Days, Angela Bassett says to Ralph Fiennes: “Friendship is more than one person constantly doing favors for the other”, and I guess that is how I feel about my relationships with other people. It is like they are doing me a favor, that it is some kind of charity work.
Essentially I feel alone. Unnecessary. And this, more than anything, is what keeps me in this depression. I long to be wanted, needed, included. To be part of what is going on, and to be accepted for who I am. But I can’t seem to find that. I never seem to have what people want, so I pass through their lives with barely a trace. I wish I could be the happy shiny person that it is apparently necessary to be in order to be included in things, but I can’t. It isn’t in me.
Sometimes it feels like I am swimming in an underwater cave, and finding social interaction and someone I can really talk to honestly is something like finding a small pocket of air. But then I have to plunge back underwater again, and desperately swim for the next air pocket. And I’m getting really tired of it.