Do I Even Like Myself?

I think a lot. Too much, sometimes. I’m a huge fan of thinking, but overthinking is where I start to trip on myself.

Lately, and for the past couple of years really, I’ve been struggling. I struggle with a lot of issues personally. I’m fortunate in that I don’t believe I’m currently depressed. As someone who has been diagnosed as severely depressed more than once historically, I can tell the difference now between down and full-on depressed.

Back in 2005 when I returned to the United States after living in Germany for five years, I became so depressed that I was ready to simply check out. My life was a mess. The kind of mess that gets you alienated from your family and worries your friends.

I made the tough choice to check myself into a mental hospital for a week. It sounds scary (and it felt scary at the time), but it was ultimately a very good thing for me. I learned a lot about myself and about the struggles of others. I had a very kind therapist there.

When I returned home, I started seeing a therapist who quite possibly saved my life. Dr. Richardson. She was tough and wonderful and had a terrific sense of humor. She must have seen through some of my issues from miles away and gently steered me towards those truths. There were breakthroughs. They were difficult. I started going to a support group which helped me in so many ways, I can’t even stress enough. I met people I love to this day. I finally put in the hard work and figured out why I did some of the things I did that, more or less, ruined my life. It was an incredibly painful time, but a productive one, to be sure.

I recently decided that returning to therapy would be a good thing for me. I frequently think people don’t like me. I’m more than willing to acknowledge that’s not true in most cases, but it’s accurate in others, and that’s hard for me. I try very hard to be a good friend, and sometimes even the smallest thing derails my feelings about myself.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but stick with me.

This week I found out someone who I had only ever tried to be nice to blocked me on Facebook. That was really hard for me. I’d had no interactions at all with that person for the past handful of months, and I felt strange. I wasn’t sure if I would have felt better about it had there been an actual impetus for that block, or if it was better to have someone that clearly didn’t want to be my friend save us both the time and trouble and do what they did.

It got me thinking.

I care a lot about what people think of me. Sometimes I think I care too much. I care so much about the people in my life, whether that is my partner, or his family, or friends. This extends to friends I’ve made through the internet and gaming and have never met in person. I truly care about people.

And as much as I think about what others think of me, this week I finally looked inside and asked: do I even like myself?

And boy, if you ever want to stop yourself in your tracks, that’s a hell of a way to do it.

I actually had to sit there and think about it.

I acknowledged that I would like to have myself for a friend. I think I can be a pretty good friend. Certainly not perfect, but I try. And I care. And those have merit to me.

There are some things about myself I am nearly proud of. I write on a schedule. I’ve never missed a day. Never through all the chronic illness, through the Great Sick of 2017, never.

The more I thought about myself, the more I realized that I do, in fact, kind of like myself.

That surprised me.

I have so much self-loathing. I could not dislike my appearance more. I feel and am unfit. I need more exercise. I need to go outside more. I need to not sit inside and dwell on the negative aspects of myself.

So, I’ve been trying a new mental exercise: when I’m awake and feeling badly about myself, I try to find at least one thing I can point out to my brain that is positive about myself. These things range from, I love and care about creatures to, I cleaned the bathroom and it is sparkly. They don’t have to be big things, but reminding myself that I am not the colossal piece of sh*t I frequently think I am is a good thing.

Back in therapy, I learned a technique for letting go of negative thoughts, and I still employ it to this day. When visited by an unproductive negative thought about past decisions, I imagine it as a balloon. I imagine myself declaring amnesty for it, and releasing it to float away. It legitimately works for me.

One day I’d be grateful to genuinely like myself. Without prompting. Without reasoning. I’d simply like to like myself.

I am very private about music, but this song, this one song, is not only my most favorite song in the world, but I also think it best describes me. If you give it a listen, well, that would be quite nice. And, on my gravestone at the end of my hopefully very long life, I’d like it to say simply, “I tried.”

I always have.

Categories: musings

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21 replies »

  1. Reading your words and your thoughts here while I let the song play, well it made me tear up at work. I want you to know I find you to be a phenomenal writer and an even more phenomenal friend. If you keep up the positive thoughts about yourself and make yourself a list of every thing you like about yourself, hopefully one day you can look at the long list and see what everybody sees in you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Mike. You know I think the world of you. It means so much to me that you listened to the song. And you kind of knocked the wind out of me with those lovely words. All I can say is a very loaded “thank you” that carries far more than the two words.

      Thank you. Massive hug.

      Like

    • Oh, Colton. I think YOU are a great person and I like you so much. You have been such a wonderful friend and I continue to be grateful for our friendship.

      And yes, life does definitely get trying. That’s for sure.

      Like

  2. It seems to me that your self-perception is almost the opposite of the way your friends online see you. You are one of the most well-liked people on Game Informer, and we all miss your frequent blogs.

    I think you should really talk with a trusted professional. I did that for years and it helped me immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree on the professional. That was part of the impetus for the piece, that I had recently decided to see a therapist again. I think it’s for the best.

      It’s very strange. As up front as I am with everyone, I feel like I am somehow a fraud. I feel like if people like me they must have the wrong idea so I feel the need to clarify everything. I understand there is flawed logic in there. I love and miss the GI community. I am active in the OverBlood Facebook group, but I’ve started commenting here and there on GI’s site again. Thank you for the very kind words. They mean a lot to me.

      Like

  3. In the depths of my depression there were days when the best thing I accomplished all day was putting on pants and that was a big deal. Focusing on the positive and letting negativity not debilitate you is a huge challenge. I’m glad you have decided to return to outside help – it sounds like it worked before and likely will again. The Internet presents its own unique issues, but the work you did years ago will still matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I very much relate. I’m glad you were able to take victories when and where you could. I try so hard to do that, too.

      I am also glad to return to outside help. Sometimes an impartial perspective from a professional is the best thing.

      Like

  4. Well for whatever in the universe that it’s worth, I certainly enjoy your posts and have enjoyed getting to know you. I don’t have gaming friends in my real life. So I turn to the internet to share in that new game release zest (and disappointment) and to just share about games. I appreciate you being there and kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Rebekah! Thanks for letting us into the “thing” that makes you “who you are. I completely agree with Nathaniel & Colton 120%. Yes, I know that’s not statistically accurate; it fits how I feel at this moment. Keep fighting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you can relate. I hope for relief for both of us. But I’m glad you can see that you are a good friend. Finding those spots of truth and beauty about ourselves are light lighthouses. They can keep us going even when it’s dark and we don’t know where everything is. I’m glad you write about your inner critic. I think it’s important to get the stigmas away from struggling. I know so many people who try to hide what is happening from others and I think that only makes it worse and more difficult. My wish for all of us is that our suffering will end. Or at least be lessened.

      I’m so glad you love the song. I couldn’t love it any more. It’s my insides.

      HUG

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes its very true that so many hide their true self or feelings from others due to fear or shame which is very sad. But when we open up then we overcoming the barriers in some ways even if its scary. Lovely to connect to your blog it was recommended in my reader Hugs in return :)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I very much agree. Keeping some of those things hidden gives them this weird, superhuman power over us. I feel like getting them out into the open robs them of their power to hurt us or shame us. We are all people, all trying to do our best (or some semblance thereof). Compassion is the important part, for me.

        It was lovely to connect with YOU. :) More hugs for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

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