Updated: Nov 2, 2021
I have a full life, but I myself am not full. I have always, in some capacity, had anxiety and depression and was subsequently diagnosed with Bipolar II a few years ago - it explained a lot. I won't get into my sob story (yet) but just know it's there. Anywho, somewhere in the last year, when we were all going through it, I realized if this is how life is going to be until I peg out, I don't want it. I do not by any means, have it bad. I have a beautiful daughter, a loving partner and I make a good salary. I have a nice place to call home, and yet I am rarely genuinely happy or fulfilled and can't explain why. I feel dark most of the time but I portray myself to be this jovial, carefree girl who can get along with just about anybody - quite literally the antithesis of how i feel. But the reality of it is I feel entirely trapped in my own mind so much of the time, that I am rarely ever "in the moment". Our brains are literally "ours" and yet we don't always have the power to control what they do, and that gets frustrating. It's hard to articulate exactly what I am trying to convey, but if you're reading this and you know what I mean, me too.
I often feel like a fraud - people see happy, funny, outgoing. And here I am feeling alone in a room full of people (yes, the cliche is a real thing), on auto-pilot most of the time, weighed down by the guilt of all of the hurt I have caused with my destructive behaviour and poor decision making. I carry it with me everywhere. I haven't done bottley harm to anyone, but I have a long history of being a shit friend and an even shittier girlfriend. I should say for the record, my daughter is my absolute world and she gets the BEST of me at all times, so don't get that twisted up with this. I am a pro at compartmentalizing at this point, so for her, I am just her fun mama. But the above definitely stands: shit friend, shit girlfriend. The amount of lies I've told to avoid people, places and things, are just embarrassing. I am not out to hurt anyone, my reliability goes hand in hand with how "okay" I feel at any given time. I often commit to something knowing I will absolutely be reneging on that commitment down the road. Why? My way of coping with my emotions is to hermit. At the peak of it, I was unreachable for extended periods of time, I would simply fall off the face of the earth just to be alone, which never actually helped, and would come back when I felt slightly better OR if I sensed they would leave me for good. It was a horrible feeling, knowing what I did to everyone, like they didn't matter. I was so overwhelmed with myself that I had no ability to take anything else in. I was fun to be around, but hard to pin down and it ruined many important relationships. I couldn't explain it and still struggle explaining it now but the best I can describe it is this: I have important people in my life, whom I love. I have a supportive family and supportive friends but in spite of those positive relationships, I yearn to be by myself almost always. Couple that with social anxiety and you've got an unreliable person on your hands. It's so strange, even low key plans like going to dinner with friends would oddly intimidate me as if it were some huge excursion when in reality it was a couple of hours with food and friends. I dreaded getting asked to social events but also wouldn't want to miss them. I had far more anxiety than enjoyment out of those experiences and yet I can't explain why. Part of it, I think, was the aspect of hiding how I really felt. I did it so well, too well in fact, but it was exhausting to keep that up for extended periods of time. To simplify: being alone allows you to feel how you feel, no extra effort required. Being alone meant I didn't have to fake being the chipper, funny one around people who actually were chipper and funny.
I want to get swept up in Christmas again - I used to love the season. I don't need the presents, but the season itself used to be the happiest. You eat all the things, you see all the family, everything feels cozy and quaint. And then somewhere along the line I started to dread it (sob story). It's like this countdown to the anniversary of the worst day of my life juxtaposed with the "Most wonderful time of the year." It's such a stark contrast between how I feel, and how I want to feel. I guess that's what has lead me here, writing to strangers (or maybe nobody), on the internet. Getting it out never hurts, right?