The Self-esteem of Mental Health

I recently read… well listened to Turtles All the Way Down and it got me thinking not just about the main characters but, about what my mental health means to me. I’ve gotten so used to talking about my anxiety and my depression that it doesn’t really bother me to bring it up in normal conversations.

Don’t worry I’m not that guy who brings it up every chance they get as if to say that I’m going through these things somehow gives me a perspective someone else doesn’t have, but… to connect with people. When I see someone in pain or hurting I can’t help myself but, want to step in. Now, this trait has gotten me into a lot of trouble because used to sacrifice my mental health just to try and cheer someone up. I say used to as if it’s been a while but, I think it’s only been a few months now so I don’t know if I’ll be falling off the wagon again but, hopefully, I can keep the chip this time.

I would expend so much of my energy giving a damn about somebody else just because they do or have made me feel good one day, that I’d be a wreck because I hadn’t spent time on myself.  And often times when I’d ask for what I needed from them I’ve been trying to stop that now.

For a long time it took me forever to just love myself now I’m working on treating myself better… It’s been a long road and even though I feel better I don’t know if I’ve made the strides I think I have.  I won’t really know until I’m faced with the same situations… But, I can see the people who really need help and at least not put myself in the same position I’ve put myself in before. So hopefully that leads to something new.

So anyways, Turtles All the Way Down paints interesting characters who try their best to rise above their own problems. The main character is so interesting and seeing inside her head is both frightening and beautifully complex. What I love about John Green’s writing is it’s witty and careful and the people are actually people none of them are exactly who they appear to be. I’m not surprised by how much I liked it, only surprised by just how much his work could still impact me. I think I’ll be a lifelong fan.

 

Confidence.

I’m confident in a lot of things about me. If you ask anyone close to me they’ll probably tell you how I can talk about myself for hours. Which is probably true. I am not afraid to talk myself up. I don’t mind putting my best foot forward and I think people actually respond fairly well to it. Am I a little cocky? Probably. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. But to get to my point there are a couple things I’m not too confident in.

I don’t think I have much to offer people. It’s probably the last dregs of that teenage low self-esteem angst but, I’m not sure how much I add to people’s lives. I mean they tell me they like having me around but, everyone lies. People get into relationships (all types) because they want something from someone else. Whether it’s companionship or because the person is smart and they can help me get ahead or do good on a math test. Whatever that is they offer something. I don’t know what my thing is and I overcompensate.

I try to be a big part, helping them through their pain and troubles. A shoulder to cry on when they’re in need. If they need something they can always count on me. I push myself way too hard to be available and ready with the right thing to say.  Not that I’m bad at that part but, it weighs on me. There’s sometimes when I’m an absolute mess and there’s no one to talk to. They tell me their problems and I try and fix them. It’s easy not because it keeps me away from my own problems because it makes me feel useful. I like feeling useful. I like knowing that no matter how low I get someone’s life would be worse without me in it.

Does that make me selfish? Probably. Do I tell them? Yes. I tell them that I’m self-centered that I do most of these things for myself. Do they believe me? No, they just think I’m being humble. If there’s anything you learn from reading this blog, other than the fact that I’m an overthinking basket case, it should be that any bit of demureness that comes from me is due to uncertainty.

The other thing is my writing, it’s not as interesting as the earlier topic, not much to analyze here. I guess I’m the same as everyone else here. We’re all just trying to get through the next project and hopefully, one day write a hit. I know I’m not alone in wanting this so bad you lie awake at night hoping just hoping that it’s good enough. That the right person thinks highly enough of it and tells all their friends about it. That it somehow gets on the right person’s blog and they read about it and love it. And everyone is just clamoring to get their hands on your book like it’s the only one out there. They read it all in one night or savor it over a week. They love your world so much they dream up their own characters to fill it. (Deep breath. I actually did this while writing this.)

I want what every writer wants. What every person wants. To be loved for what I bring in the world. To be admired for what I can do. And to be cherished by the people who love me.

PS. Sorry, this is so heavy but, I had a lot get off my chest.

Anxiety (Part 1)

I think everyone deals with anxiety differently and as long as you don’t let it fuck up your life then you’re fine. I asked a couple people, in this Facebook group I’m apart of, how they deal with their own anxiety, what made them anxious. I was surprised about the many ways people dealt with it some people it. It made me think maybe I wasn’t dealing with it in the way I should. That maybe just walking away  from the things that make me anxious wasn’t solving anything.

A ton of things happened this week and I had panic attacks for three nights in a row. Maybe that’s small change for some but It has never actually been that bad for me. First I finally got out of situation that had me on a knife-edge. I was slowly climbing up the walls and I wanted out. So I finally said so. I know it was my fault for getting into that situation and for me not getting out of it when I started to feel this way.

The second day was mostly a layover of what happened the first day but, I found out someone I looked up to had done something reprehensible. For me I knew how to feel about it but, the people in the group I mentioned earlier were split between raising money and condemning them. Maybe this wasn’t a big deal. I guess its hard to separate big and small things when you’re in a whirlwind of your own emotion.

On the third day, because of how badly I dealt with what happened on the first day, I had a friend decide she didn’t want to talk to me. I’ll admit I didn’t use my words well and I hurt another friends feelings. I’ll own that but, they didn’t even tell me their feeling were hurt. So while I had been going through all of this and I needed her she ditched me. I felt like I didn’t understand our relationship anymore. I was hurt and angry and I wasn’t so silently vacillating between them. I had thought we were close and it really cut into me. I don’t know if I can trust them again. For me the forgiving part is easy but, forgetting doesn’t do anyone any good. If you forget you are open to having it happen again. So should I forgive them?

I’m sure this is absolutely boring, but I think that people with anxiety should talk about what upsets them. I think that I have felt so much better dealing with this stuff with words then I ever had just walking away. So if you go through stuff like this talk about it. There maybe tons of other ways people deal with it but I think talking goes somewhere above something like self-harm.