It’s hard being true to yourself

Positive thoughts are fleeting nowadays.  I see it when I write, feel it when I am emotional, think it when I let my thoughts wander.  But is it all that bad?  I am finally able to live as myself for the first time in my life.  I am finally with someone who encourages me to be who I am and doesn’t hold me back.  Why am I not happy?

Life situations tend to cloud what could be a very hopeful and happy situation.  I am unemployed, so my worth to society seems very little.  I have not made anything creatively in a long time.  My motivation to create, work, and do things has reached an all time low.  I know this and it’s a constant cycle of feeling worse and worse.  I know the solution is not to wallow in these horrid feelings that feel impossible to escape.

It is not easy living as ones true self.  In a lot of ways it’s been self defeating.  I have already said I have lost friends, lost this, lost that, etc.  So how have I managed to keep going and not just stay in bed.  Well for a few months, I didn’t really want to do much.  Depression can be very crippling.  I didn’t even apply for jobs, do house work, feed myself properly, take my meds, etc.

What has kept me going despite all of this?  Stubbornness?  To lazy to stop existing?  Some days I can’t fathom why.  But I know what has helped a lot.  The few friends left that I try to message and support, the few twitter friends I try to message every now and then just to see how they are doing, and watching the successes of my twitter friends.  I could talk about all of them individually, but that post would be excessively long.  Maybe I should write it anyway.  We all need a boost from each other right?  I feel as if even with that I have not been as supportive as I could be.  I don’t ever feel that I have done enough or that I have forgotten about others.  I try to remember that I have to take care of myself before I can help and take care of others.

My partner has been extremely patient and supportive during this time, even working overtime to help cover bills.  I of course feel guilty for this even though I know there isn’t much I can do about it.  I don’t want her to work so hard just to make ends meet.  I feel worse because I don’t feel like I am contributing to our household.  But I also have to remind myself of what I am doing and what I can do to contribute.  Depression doesn’t help make this any easier.  I have started to say “sorry” way more often than I should.

So why am I still trying when a lot of things have made me feel like a failure?  I love my family and friends so much that I don’t want to fail them.  I feel bad for not being able or willing to provide as much as I can.  So what is left if the depression has convinced me of these terrible things.  I have to remember to be myself, take care of myself, and that I can not help others if I can not help myself.

I have recently been trying to take care of myself.  Self care is so very important right now.  It comes in many forms:  learning a new skill, getting some chores done, applying for more jobs, getting interviews scheduled, updating my resume, eating right, taking my meds consistently, being a good listener for my friends, helping a friend who needs some advice, promoting my friends accomplishments, collaborating with others on projects both creative and otherwise, using my career skills to help friends and family, and more.

Part of this is self care, the other is doing things that I am able to do to help others out.  The latter is a reminder that I still have something to contribute to others.  The former helps me do the latter.  I can build my own cycle of reward to hopefully help me get out of the cycle of depression.  It gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  It gives me a reason to live and breath.  It gives me a chance to be myself.

I have had to discover a lot about myself these past couple of years.  My journey has changed course so much during this time.  I thought I knew who I was, but I still do not know fully who I am.  But I have made plenty of discoveries about it.  So who the hell am I?

I am a kind and caring person to a fault.  I am a strong defender of those I care about.  I am forgetful.  I am intelligent but scared to show it.  I am flawed, but not trash.  I am imperfect but not worthless.  I love hard.  I will not put up with others stomping on my civil rights.  I will defend myself and will defend others.  I will lift those up I care about who let me know they need help.  I am strong willed and am unable to completely give up.  I am able to fake it till I make it.  I take things hard, but can bounce back from it if I try hard enough.  I need support from those I love, but rarely ask for it.   I am afraid to speak out of fear of offending others.  I am afraid of others judging or disliking me.  I am not 100% introverted.  I am not extroverted.  I want to be heard instead of ignored.  I am a person who holds honesty in the highest regard.  I show respect to those who are honest to me even though they may be afraid of hurting my feelings.  I fear the future, but am not opposed to it.  I want to experience new and interesting things.  I want to be free from my depression.  I want to continue to have the few friendships I have.  I want to strengthen those relationships.  I want to build new and fulfilling friendships with others that are mutually beneficial.

And finally, I want to love others who are close to me.  I want to be loved for who I am, not who I was.  I will continue to fight to be who I am and love those around me.  I will continue to try and build up current and new relationships.  I will not let depression take the things I care about most from me.

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Reflection

As I was cleaning up my desk today, I found something I had wrote on several months ago: 

I feel alone, I feel I am an irritation to others, I want to cry, I don’t want to work on anything, My throat hurts, my head hurts, I want to go home, lock the door and hide from the world.  

A few months ago I was not okay.  I was hurt, felt abandoned, felt like I had no place to turn to and I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.  Those feelings seem distant and fleeting.  I still get depressed from time to time, but no where near what it use to be.  I have an abundance of love around me from friends, family and extended family.

Love lost meaning to me for a long time.  Before my first marriage, I had dated and gone out with several girls, but nothing that lasted.  I wanted to find that kind of love from someone.  The kind that is unconditional, the kind you get from someone special.  I thought I had found that.  For the first few years of the relationship I though I understood what love was.  Eventually that faded and the I love you’s became habit and lost all meaning.  Despite that I was still willing to try.  To try and make things better, to deepen the feelings and make them meaningful.  I am not perfect, but I sacrificed a big part of myself to try and make that work.

I realized that its hard to love someone when you do not love yourself.  I started trying to change that.  I started trying to accept who I really am.  Apparently this was too much for the person I was with.  She did not love me despite my flaws.  I was “too much” or “she could not handle someone like me”.  It made me realize that the love she said she had for me was not really there.  I was destroyed for a long time.  Lost and didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to just be alone and suffer.

Luckily I could not let things stay that way.  I went out, tried to meet people at social groups.  Sure it was a BDSM group, but I had to explore the other parts of me that I had hidden away to please someone else.  I started talking to some people.  One person saw I needed help and decided to do something.  So far she has helped me to redefine what love is.  This may or may not have been her intention, but that was the result.  Her family and friends, her unconditional love and affection have helped me realize that I haven’t really known love for a long time.  It’s helped me in my other relationships and helped in building others.  Talking to other people seems easier now with a bit of the self love I’ve gained.

I still have self doubt and some depression.  I know I am not out of the woods yet.  But instead of stumbling in the dark, I have tools to see through and a person to help guide me on to brighter pastures.

Shaping

I’ve thought a lot about this lately and have many questions running around my head.  Did I ever really grow up?  What does being an adult really mean other than having added responsibilities?

Experience.

Not easily trusting others, remembering the past so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes (or remembering after the fact), knowing generally what to expect from common situations, knowing what is expected.  Its experiences we have had coupled with how we learned to deal with them (for better or worse).  Our childhood experiences shape how we are as adults.  Especially our quirks.  I wonder to myself what did I experience to want, need or act a certain way.

We are all born with genetic personality traits.  How that is developed as we grow up, determines what kind of personality we have.  You can have a outgoing personality genetically, but if you were abused mentally or physically, the personality traits will be vastly different as opposed to not being abused.

Experience shapes and continues to shape who we are.  The good thing about experience is that it can change.  We are constantly remolded by experience.  Our past scars can be healed through better experiences.  Bad memories can stay as they are, memories.  New experiences replace or overlap the bad ones and can help shape you.

Its often hard to see the forest for the trees.  But when you realize that your experiences are not helping you, its best to find new things to experience.  Those bad memories don’t have to haunt you forever.  They will never leave you, but they don’t have to be the only thing that determines who you are.