Am I a bad person?
After six years of depression, random weeks fending off its reemergence, only now have I identified the cause. Negative Self-talk.
My parents divorced when I was a teenager, and the events stay vivid in my mind at the age of 22.
“I’m going to send you away, Why do you do this to me!” my mother would scream and repeat.
An hour before this, she drove me to the sandwich chain called Subway. I saw a friend and wanted to stay while I ate my turkey sandwich. Calling my mother who sat in the car waiting, I asked, “Can I stay and eat with Katie?”
She said no. I asked her, “why? I’ll walk home. I just want to stay here and eat.”
After a minute of escalating conversation, she hung up, and I gasped. “Looks like I got to go,” I said. As I walked outside, the blue soccer mom van sped out of the parking lot. I knew I was in for a bad night.
Getting home, I expected the berating to begin. It did, but it was worse than expected.
As I dry heaved over the toilet unable to control my hormonally ramped emotions, she called my father and put the phone to my ear, I said, “Why do I deserve this!? All I did was ask to eat with my friend!”
He said something I will never forget, “It’s not about what you think you did, it’s about how you make others feel.”
It’s my fault. He’s my dad, so I thought he was right. Every time from then on, when something negative happened, I wondered, “what did I do wrong.”
My closest friends saw my happiness dwindle no matter how hard I tried to hide it. As they talked in the hallway about their family weekends, I stood silently ruminating in how I couldn’t say a thing. I sent them messages, long and kind, but letting them know how I couldn’t still be friends with them — it hurt too much.
I was losing it, like a hormonally triggered depressed teenager would. Unfortunately, the backlash was a whole entire school year of fending off rumors and shit talk that chipped at my public persona.
Until recently, I wondered, “What could have I done to prevent this? Did I deserve this hate? Is something wrong with me?”
Stop blaming yourself!
Nothing is wrong with me or those who hurt me, but I wish someone had told me this. Instead, it took years of searching, reconfiguring my opinions and chasing stupid decisions. I would blame them, blame myself, forgive, take my forgiveness away. And, put the depressing events of my life into a folder of “irrelevant information” only for it to float back up and say, “I’m not gone, why are you ignoring me.”
Well, I don’t have voices in my head, but that’s what it would say if I did!
We are all human beings trying to live our lives in the best way we can, and bad things happen. Sometimes, bad things happen because of ignorance. I’m sure my ex-friends had no idea they were bashing my psyche and that I’d battle the events of my past for close to a decade.
Sometimes bad things happen because we are ill-equipped to deal with our current situation. I was 13 when these unfortunate events were starting to happen — I was too young to know anything about how to deal with stress and strong emotions. This doesn’t even account for the hormones.
Take responsibility, but realize that negative self-talk has no use.
When blaming yourself, you make too many decisions for the sole purpose of, “how it would affect others?”
If positive, you are being a good person.
If negative, you are being a bad person.
Life isn’t that simple. Black and White, Good and evil, the idea of “either or” is a man-made construct to help us navigate our lives but sometimes reality is far more complex.
Life is full of emotional triggers, psychological predispositions, insecurities, belief systems, and many other things that affect our decisions. Everyone is complex.
Find out why you are unhappy. Go deep. Is it your relationships? Are you blaming yourself for everything? Maybe it is health? Find out what you want.
I have chased anomaly success in hopes it would prove that I am worth something. Maybe make those who hurt me a little jealous (hehe), but this goal chasing was a form of it if I allow myself to commit some pseudo psychiatry, minor psychosis.
I was disconnected with reality. Here’s the truth. I want good friendships built on solid foundations, the freedom to express my creativity, and a life lived with purpose. Why? Because these things make me happy.
I’m starting to rant, but all these revelations came with remembering one thing, I am not a bad person. Neither are you.
Photo: Flickr/ Maʝicdölphin