Sunday, September 12, 2010

Low Self Opinion

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 -
Believe me!
--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.


  1. My own favorite depression song is Bad Religion's "Sanity"

    "Depression is a fundamental state of mind.
    It doesn't really matter how my day has turned out.
    I always end up living in this world of doubt
    And sanity is a full-time job
    In a world that is always changing,
    And sanity will make you strong
    If you believe in sanity."

    Not at all sure about Greg Gaffin's conclusion though...But he's a college ejumicated prufessuh so he must know better'n me.

  2. Hubaloo! I've found the cure for depression, the magical elixar: substance abuse.

    Kills depression in seconds! Of course, there are some side effects; the crash, temporary insanity, arguments with family and friends, deprived sleep, increased bouts of depression, loss of memory, etc. and so forth.

    However, substance abuse is also a suitable and effective cure for these aforementioned symptoms, so they easily cancel each other out. Just add it on! Of course, some substances may prove more expensive or harder to obtain than others, so you might find alcohol as the most cost effective and simple over-the-counter remedy, and so I highly recommend it.

    If this solution leads you into an irreversible downward spiral, there's nothing like a spell at the local rehab clinic to set things straight. The sobriety will bring on the depressive bouts again, but after you clean-up a little, substance abuse will soon set that straight again.


  3. I don't recall you talking about anti-depressants. I've had a bunch of them over the past quarter century, and they can make a world of difference especially in cases of severe, long term depression. I went off my last one--Zoloft--several years ago, and there was hell to pay for it. One thing it did for me, however, that I still haven't lost was that it took away most of my social anxiety.

  4. You described it perfectly here describing lonliness. It's such a big difference between being lonely and alone.

    I've never been to your blog before, I know you go to mine, but your writing is lovely. I never heard anyone quote Henry Rollins before, but someone once told me his song "Liar" describes having a relationship with a bipolar person. I need to check into this.

    I hope your lonliness ebbs soon. It is not a great feeling.

  5. Hello all, thank you for coming by and posting!

    Against the Grain -I like the line "sanity is a full-time job". That is very true. Music is a great help in that endeavor - I'm glad for all the tortured artists in the world whose work helps us through those difficult times.

    Anonymous - As much as I envy the apparent obliviousness of drunken sailors worldwide, my loathing for the taste of alcohol will unfortunately prevent me from following your prescription...

    Snowbrush - I have been on anti-depressants for some time, and they seem to help a little. But they aren't a real solution. I think that exercise combined with living a more meaningful life is the real solution to dealing with this depression once and for all.

    Susan - Thank you for coming by to visit my blog, and thank you for your kind words. Henry Rollins is quite an interesting guy, you can find a lot of his music and spoken word on youtube. I think he is a guy who has spent decades battling his own demons, and I relate to a lot of what he has to say.

  6. Hey, I just randomly came across your blog after randomly listening to the song "Low Self Opinion" on YouTube, currently going through something similar. Feeling everything starting to point back to me and ready to deal.

    A) I feel exactly the same as you. Maybe there is some comfort there. I think that's what Mr. Rollins was trying to say.

    B) "I never seem to have what people want, so I pass through their lives with barely a trace." The guy that wrote that has the potential to be a tremendous writer. That line blew me away.

    C) Hang in there. Good luck. Thanks.

  7. Hello Anonymous,
    I haven't checked this blog for a long time, so I have just read your message. I am in a much better place these says than I was when I wrote this post back in 2010. Thanks for your comments, and I hope things are going well for you now.