So all of that navel-gazing and talking with my sister and I’ve realized a lot of what drives my depression is plain old insecurity.
I shouldn’t be surprised, my insecurities have insecurities!
When I was a small child my mother told me that she hated me, I was stupid, lazy, worthless, ugly, etc. etc. etc. And kids believe what they are told, sadly. I was sure that I was horrible, worthless, stupid. All those things she said.
One day in third grade I wrote it out, “I hate myself” over and over again on the back of one of my school assignments. Maybe it was a cry for help, maybe it was just the only paper I had, the only way of expressing myself. And I was rewarded by being called into the principal’s office. I remember a bunch of well meaning adults asking me why I had written that… and I had no answer. No words to offer. I couldn’t figure out what they wanted me to say. I’d written it because it was true.
I still fight this struggle; this belief that I am bad. wrong. flawed. Someone else would have done that better. Anyone else would have. Every stumble or mistake is a confirmation of this, every success forgotten quickly or “I should have done better”
Also, it’s more important that other people have fun. I am not important. My feelings don’t matter.
It’s made me very careful and introspective. A good troubleshooter, I always start with what steps *I* did. I like to think I’m a kind person and a good host. But also it means I don’t let myself join in the fun, because the fun is not for me. It’s for people who matter. (Which is anyone else.)
And then I am sad because I did not join in the fun. When I was Chamberlain I purposefully did not do any of the fun things, left them to the others. I was taking care of them. And I was miserable. Why didn’t I join the fun? What’s the matter with me?
It has also made me very appreciative; any time anyone thanks me or is nice to me I’m surprised and full of shock and awe, because how wonderful they are to acknowledge such a wretch as I!
I have been trying to acknowledge my strengths. Acknowledge and own my successes as well as I do my failures. (Oh am I good at owning THOSE!) I am actually kind of awesome. I am skilled. I am empathetic. I am creative. I am adaptive. I am patient.
I do not suck at everything. I am good at my job. I am good at many things.
Next step is to believe that other people actually do like me. It’s hard, when you have that negative self-talk all the time. How can they like me, when I don’t like me? Shush, lizard-brain! I will like myself. And trust that other people like me too, just as I am, warts and all.