Widen the Circle

Was talking with a friend the other night. I had met them in college and we bonded over the fact that we both viciously late a certain YA book. Enough so that when I am talking about them to my spouse I add on “who hates Twilight” after their name. I know I think three or four people with that person’s name so I need an identifier.

 

They had posted a thing about trauma and how it is normal for anyone with trauma to at some point be like “But someone else has it worse.” That’s a pretty common topic in my mind and has come up in therapy.  I’m trying to build a support system with people who actually understand, which is so not easy. The stigma with mental illness is really screwing things up. We discussed that due to mental illness being something people avoid, a lot of us are missing out on what could be really awesome relationships. They are trying to be more open about their own struggles, because they are tired of seeing how everyone looks at the world of mental health.

 

Childhood can really screw a person’s whole sense of self up. At my core, I honestly do not believe that I matter. I really just don’t feel that I matter to anyone or anything. The old white dude always puts a chink in that thought chain because I do have a spouse who loves me completely, no matter who I am.  However, on a regular basis, even though I know it to be true, my brain just defaults to the fact that I do not matter. That’s how I’ve spent my life so far, I just completely do not matter and it doesn’t matter what I do to try and be better. I’m not good enough for my family and those around me and that innately there is something or multiple things that are wrong with me. This wrongness makes me bad rather than just a person.
As I try to become a little more open about certain things revolving my mental health, more people tell me about their own. One person who I respect beyond anything opened up and actually told me they take an antidepressant. Just to show how no two people are alike, that person is taking the drug that I started on… and that made me immensely suicidal. It works for them, it’s shit for me. They were very happy to find out that I was finally taking care of myself. They knew I spent a long period of time where I was just avoiding all of it. Mind you, I still avoid a lot but I am trying to get a little better. I can look just a fraction longer at the painful things. Some days I need to retreat and run away, but I go back to doing the work.

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