“Everything happens for a reason, for experience or a lesson. Nothing is ever wasted because the soul is always gaining insight.” ~ Leon Brown
I remember flying back home from Barcelona and cruising over London, I had just had an amazing holiday with my family in the South of France and I was thinking about life. For some reason as I flew over the London skyline as the sun was setting, I felt really small and insignificant and then started reeling off all the bad things I had done in my life up to this point. The way I may have made someone feel, the prejudice I may have bestowed upon someone, taking the piss out of someone else just so I wouldn’t have the heat of the ‘cool’ girls thinking I was weird. I was around 22 years old, I was in university but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about the things I had done while I was in high school.
I felt, I had changed since that time but for some reason these things still haunted me and at this moment in life everything decided to infiltrate my mind like loads of characters on a page of coding. And more and more characters were being added because I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t stop my mind from going into over drive and all those things I remember imposing on other people were at the front of my episodic. It just felt that, any time, where I would have things on track or felt that things were happening without any issue, I would resort to things I felt bad about.
This event, flying over your beloved city, to most would have been awe inspiring to me was the realisation, I was just a bad person. I already felt like a bad person on a daily basis, I’d feel bad if I said something that was taken the wrong way, unintentionally cut someone up while driving, done something to annoy someone or saw a vulnerable child, animal or elderly person and couldn’t do anything about it. My heart would race and I would not stop thinking about what I had done for hours after, it would completely take over any other thoughts I would have, and there was nothing I could do to resolve it (in most cases) so it became more of a reason to think I was a bad person. It seemed, that whatever I did to be a good person wasn’t enough… for this voice in my head. Even though, I knew I was a caring, empathic and generous person, this was always clouded by feeling of self-contempt.
After this time 11 years ago, I spent a majority of the rest of the years thinking about how I was just the worst person in the world. How people would see me as just a d*ck and I didn’t deserve to hang around with people. Always worrying what stupid things I may have said whilst drunk (having the ‘fear’), this made me more and more inclined to stay around the few people who maybe knew me but I always used to wonder how I was perceived. What people thought of me and if people would ever say ‘She was a really caring and considerate girl who had loads of friends’….if I died.
It also took me a while but I also knew I didn’t have the most appealing ‘flaws’, I was:
- Aggressive when talking
- Rushing through everything
This would naturally get me on peoples last nerves but what was worse is that I didn’t do anything in my life with the intention of wanting to hurt people but I would get myself into situations because I would be as I explained above. And it came to a point where I had decided that I was as I was and I couldn’t change it. I thought that the way you were was just the way you were, how is it possible to adapt a personality which I had for over 20 years?
However, one of the pivotal moments in my life, the break up actually brought about the change I needed. At the beginning I spent months and maybe years thinking about how much of a shit person I must be, if even after being in a relationship for so long I wasn’t good enough to be the ‘forever’ person. I thought I provided enough to be the be all and end all but as I’ve said before it’s not always about what you do, you cannot impose those expectations on someone else hoping for the same result it would garner from you. I would wake up most days berating myself that I couldn’t even manage to be a decent person enough to still be in a relationship. Being a bad person was an enhanced feeling now, though it took some time and it wasn’t immediate I became just a gormless person floating around. I didn’t want to impose myself on anyone as I couldn’t deal with any more self-deprecation, it was all way too painful. Especially as I couldn’t find anyone who would understand how I was feeling and I was becoming needy. People thought I should be ‘over it’ already and I was nowhere near.
And so I became more inclined to not engage with anyone and spending time in front of a TV, was the best way I thought I should spend time. I could pretend for some time things were ok.
When was the turning point you ask? Not sure really, but it came to a point where feeling sorry for myself wasn’t good enough anymore. Why was I hiding myself and not trying to be a better person? I will tell you why, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to achieve it and then would feel even worse because then there was no hope. What if I tried and it didn’t work, I would have just failed? And then there would be no hope that maybe I could. A lot of this was the depression talking. I didn’t see it at the time, the lack of motivation, feeling debilitated, wanting to be isolated, always feeling tired and just really retreating into a person I wasn’t. If you let these feelings fester they just take over and you already feel shitty, soon you think you are nothing more than that. But from the break up, I realised I hadn’t figured out exactly who I was and now it was my chance to be the person I wanted to be.
And then one day I came across this:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson
It was a trigger, was I going to spend the rest of my life wondering ‘what if’ because I was too scared to even try? I can’t say this one quote changed my life but it taught me to think differently. Change a mindset I thought I couldn’t change. I had to build myself up slowly, convince myself that I couldn’t fall any further than I already had. And if I was a bad person, I would have to work on it. I also had to understand that I wouldn’t make everyone happy and not everyone would like me even though that’s all I wanted. I couldn’t stand it when someone wouldn’t like me. It would just eat away at me. But in reality you’re not made so 7,346,235,000 all like you. That’s impossible….even a small percentage is impossible.
I’ve had times where I can’t sleep at night because I have felt like I was the sole cause of a friendship breaking up and the reason arguments have happened. I’ve even once or twice taken out a notebook and written down the events that have happened and how I have contributed and by then end of it all the diagrams I have drawn have pointed back to me. And I can’t say I didn’t play some part but it’s not always just you even though you feel you are. And I had the same ‘bad person’ feelings creep in the other day but you have to learn to manage these to keep them at bay.
I had to understand that I, had to be the one to overcome this draining feeling, it wouldn’t happen any other way. And so as with everything, I started educating myself with the resources out there, starting with podcasts as they were easy to digest. Learning that I wasn’t on my own and others out there, felt some form of what I felt. Taking each day at a time, realising that I shouldn’t just let the rest of the day be shit just because one thing had gone bad, you have to strengthen your resolve to not just give in as soon as something doesn’t go the way you want. It’s not always meant to, its just likely trying to eat better, don’t just continue to eat bad because you had one slip up. It’s such an easy way to lessen your will power as it’s the easier way out. Strive to be better and not give in, it doesn’t come easy but it will with consistency. Making a vision board was a big step, even though when I was doing it, I thought to myself “yea right, I am going to achieve any of this…” But I had to try, what harm would it do me to do it? I went to CBT ( Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions and even though I had started doing some of the things they suggested it provided me a space to break down the things I wasn’t doing and made me accountable to someone which, I needed. If I was left to do it alone, I would just give up if I didn’t see instant results.
Throughout this time and many times since there has been one person who has always been pushing me to keep going. Advising me of things to do even though I wouldn’t do them. Telling me I was worth it even though I knew I wasn’t. She provides me with so much strength and capacity to keep moving yet she doesn’t know this strength herself. She would pick me up and still does even when she’s in the deepest dark places. She could be one to love company in her misery but she doesn’t, and now I am one to also be able to be this person to her again. We will continue to champion each other and laugh at our bad times and wonder when life will just be ‘ok’ but we know in reality it’s not meant to be. I cherish this friendship and her, she’s a light to many.
People sometimes don’t know the feeling of anxiety and depression and won’t ever imagine the way we can feel, its up to those who do,to speak out about it and make others aware, so people can feel comfortable seeking help and the rest can became more understanding.