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Sitting with myself

It’s been a rough season recently. Generally I need to hit rock bottom to get this impulse of energy that helps me to try to get back on my feet. I wish I was able to do things differently, to know something different than digging too deep in order to finally take care of myself. For lack of better, right now, I just want to use this moment as an opportunity to be a little more honest with myself.

I’ve been too close to the edge lately. So this morning, I got rid of the things I intended to use to end myself. Got rid of the words I wrote to say goodbye. I’m trying to say no to the idea of disappearing, practically and not just theoretically, as there’s this little voice that just keeps being stuck in my mind over and over.

Avoidance and withdrawal are my things. But I need to keep learning to sit with how I feel if I ever want to live and stop surviving. F*ck, I want to live. But my heart is heavy and oftentimes it feels more comfortable to hide this reality under layers of self-hatred, abandonment and overproductivity. It hurts. It feels wrong to say that it hurts. And it hurts to realize that it feels wrong, while it shouldn’t… what a stupid cycle, and a good recipe to be stuck in despair.

I could say that I have objective reasons and events in my life that are happening and keep being a burden to me. Physically, emotionally, I’ve known much better. I’m a living pile of worries and fears. Well, I could repeat that it feels sometimes that life keeps crushing me with bad news and events, like there’s some kind of negative fatality there. But I also believe that resilience is always possible as long as someone is alive.

If I’m honest with myself, a huge part of what feels like a constant burden to me is not about facts, but how I feel about it, and even more, how I feel about myself. I can have so much hope for someone else and genuinely believe that anyone is worthy of love and care. But when it’s about myself, it’s just constant word vomit. “I’m a burden”; “I’m annoying”; “I shouldn’t have said this/I should have done that”; “There’s nothing good in me”; “I’m weak”; “I’m useless”; “I can’t do this”; I’m a waste of oxygen”; ”I shouldn’t exist” (…). My mind is an unfriendly territory for myself. I beat myself up. I feel guilty for struggling, existing. A lot of who I am is rooted in guilt, which is exhausting. Self-deprecation is a real sport in itself.

It is frightening for me to sit with those thoughts, those feelings. To be in some kind of contemplative state, without judging. It’s actually very uncomfortable. I see that I don’t like myself. And I can’t help feeling sorry for anyone who happens to appreciate me. I see that behind some kind of emotional restlessness, I keep running away from this self-hate music stuck on repeat. Most of the time, I just don’t allow myself to hear it. I guess it’s just human to fear what is hurtful.

Even though I know how much self-love and compassion are important, I also have to come to terms with the fact that I don’t like myself. It’s frustrating and saddening to me. I can’t help feeling that I’ve been regressing. Though I know it’s not really about progress or regression, but change. And change, for me, comes with slowing down and acknowledging this inner music.

I spend so much energy in being at war with myself while I could use this energy differently. It just doesn’t really say its name and it’s not always obvious to me. My biggest mistake is to keep believing too often that it’s about winning, while victory means that I’d also lose as much as I gain. This isn’t about victory or power. It’s about peace. I know I can find it through that kind of moment of raw vulnerability. Also through rest, breaks, silence. But I have to admit that it feels terrible and unsafe to be with myself without holding any weapon. It feels unnatural. Just like a soft touch tends to make me cry, while it should be a comforting experience. My sense of safety changed sides a long time ago. And whatever takes me away from myself comes close to that definition.

I have learned, by internalizing too often the voices of people who have chosen violence against me, to become my own enemy. Now I know that I hold in my hands the potential to become my own ally. It’s not a revelation, not necessarily something new to me, at least theoretically. Yet today I feel a little more closer to actually feel it, for once. It’s scary, messy, hurtful, an unknown territory. But it feels right.

I want to sit with myself. I’m willing to face myself. I want to cultivate this kind of moment, even if it hurts. I want to rest with the idea that this is how I can change the narrative. Also through repetition. I want to believe that one day, maybe, I’ll start to long for it enough to stay in this imaginary campfire with myself, and never run away from it anymore. Just to be one, complete and messy, at peace and alive.

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hi there
thanks for sharing your feelings that’s great that you want to face yourself …
you are brave and strong enough
wish you best of life

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**This post may have just turned into my own journal entry, so feel free to disregard any parts that are insensitive or off-topic.

Wow, how I can relate to this. I want to help people because I want them to love themselves more than I do or don’t love myself.

I won’t insult you with the message “It’s all fake, the voices in your head are telling you lies.” You already know that. Some days, it’s okay to not be okay. Long term, we can only endure not being okay for so long before it crushes us. One bad day’s coping mechanisms eventually turn into unhealthy thought patterns, beliefs, and lifestyles.

One of my handful of psychologists told me that long-term emotional disorder physically rewires the brain, creating a feedback loop where strong negative feelings are rewarding and anything else is numb. That’s why it feels wrong to acknowledge that it hurts, that it’s a problem. Of course it hurts, and of course the pain is objectively bad, but dammit it makes us feel so alive. That’s where meds come in. They help balance the serotonin and norepinephrine and dopamine and shit just enough to start therapy, and with therapy the physical exercise of correcting your neural connections and chemical receptors. Even so, you know that just around the corner is a familiar, comfortable place of emotional self-torment. If we fight the urges to go back there, we will eventually lose strength and succumb. Instead of fighting, we need to turn away and focus on the good.

Good. Recognizing that circumstances are more temporary than the feelings they impart removes the power of those circumstances to dictate how you feel. It took me about 6 years, but eventually I realized that forfeiting a full ride scholarship wasn’t the reason I felt worthless. The implosion of toxic relationships wasn’t the reason I felt worthless. I felt worthless all by myself, for no good reason, and that was the start of realizing I could control the narrative. I like your reference to negative fatality. Controlling your narrative is hard as hell, but we are not victims of circumstances for more than an instant. If we were ongoing victims of circumstance, everything that life throws at us would keep us crippled forever and there would be no hope for any of us. Life is like a football (soccer) match–the clock doesn’t stop no matter what happens, and like you said, we have to be resilient and keep going. One of my favorite lines from The Walking Dead is “Just Survive Somehow.”

I used to push back against my therapists by saying “My life is like an out-of-control car on its way to crashing into a tree. Should I jump into the passenger seat and let it happen, or should I stay in the driver seat and fight like hell to keep it from happening?” When I dropped out of college, I effectively moved to the passenger seat. I surrendered my control, quit fighting, and became entirely vulnerable. That was the point where my life began. I didn’t crash into the tree. Every positive turn my life has taken since then has happened when I’ve relinquished control, while the most exhausting and demoralizing parts of my life were during periods of obsession bordering on panic.

When we find our identity in self deprecation, to examine our flaws and negative feelings without name-calling and self-shaming feels unnatural. So too does surgery, but it helps get the disease out, even if it causes immense pain in the short term.

This is not only self-deprecative, but insulting to the people who appreciate us. You’re discounting yourself as unworthy of appreciation, a feeling I also know well; but as I’ve learned through having this conversation with friends over and over, to say that you’re undeserving of their appreciation is to imply that your loved ones have poor judgment and that their appreciation is misplaced and flawed. How would you feel, for instance, if you stopped to admire a sunset and it spoke to you, saying your admiration was tasteless because it wasn’t as good as some other sunsets?

This is beautiful. It reminds me of the end of the movie Inside Out, where Joy, Anger, and Disgust eventually wore themselves out, and Sadness stepped in and provided the rest and healing that the girl needed. How exhausting is it to keep moving upward? How boring is it to keep moving on a flat plane? Sometimes life takes a dip because stagnation and fatigue have drained our strength, and resting or even sinking for a little while can renew our drive to climb again if we don’t linger too long.

This is very good. Removing the tools for any job means having to put in effort to gather them again. When I need to repair my cars, the most daunting part of the ordeal is working myself up to it from scratch, and a big part of that is the idea of gathering all the tools and supplies I need for the job. I don’t want to cheapen suicidal ideation by comparing it to car repair, but not having the tools available makes the task much more laborious and much less appealing.

I wish you well on your journey, and I hope that I have the strength to follow after you soon. You are an inspiration @Micro. Your words and perspectives resonate so much with me, and I feel privileged and grateful to know you, even if it’s just on this forum.

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This hits like a hammer right in the head. I always thought that is’s about winning or losing to your inner demons. But the picture now is getting whole. The demons will be there always, you cannot change the past, but you can live in synergy with them and call when they are needed. Inner demons are part of us, like it or not.

After those words, there is now way you will give up. It really takes a lot of energy just to say that. But to actually do that - it’s maybe the most tough decision in life. It’s like when you do everything with you right hand, but you just decide and start doing evertything with the left hand. Yes, it’s very wrong and cheap comparison, but i hope you got the idea :slight_smile:

Reading your post made me understand a lot and assembled a couple of puzzle pieces. Thank you, sincerely!

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Thank you so much for your response, @MikeA. Also I’m sorry if my own answer looks like a lot of ramblings, full of overly personal statements/perspective or even off-topic, lol. I tend to be a little bit too passionate when it’s about digging deeper, even just theoretically. 8)

I’m really glad to hear that some parts of this post resonate with your own heart. I’m trying to figure out some of the things I’m experiencing and writing down definitely helps to process that. It’s good to know that it doesn’t just echo in my own mind.

but you can live in synergy with them and call when they are needed.

I love how you phrased that. It makes me realize how much our intention matters when it’s about healing. Even if it’s not only about willpower, there is still an intention that shapes our expectations and the outcome. When you call those demons, you take the time to see them, to see yourself, with more and more subtlety and clarity, because you choose to do it. You know, like looking at a painting. The more you take the time to look at it, the more you’ll see the details, the difference of colors, of light and shading, even the mistakes the painter made, their hesitations and uncertainties. The more you’ll see a story, and not only paint on a canvas.

I believe there’s a difference between looking at something and seeing it. Grounding exercises (not only meditation), for example, are all about this. If you’re used to run away, to be disconnected from yourself and what’s around you, you can absolutely train your brain to learn to see again, without applying a judgment and without the urge to destroy what you see. An exercise I’ve been trying to do more and more this year is to take just 10 minutes every day (or when I think about it) to identify and describe three things I’d touch, see, and hear at the moment. While I use my physical senses, I describe those things out loud. And honestly, it’s insane how many details I never noticed before on things that have been part of my daily environment for years. I started to do the same this year with what’s going on in my head and heart too. Just listening, noticing, during very short moments (not like 10 minutes or more, too much for me at this point). It helps me to understand why I always feel so uncomfortable just with the idea of staying still and in silence. The screams inside of me, the rushing and overly anxious thoughts… it’s crazy. So it’s tempting to close the box and put it somewhere else or just to burn it when I see the mess inside. But what if instead of saying “it’s ugly”, we just start to say “it is”?

Love, compassion, stillness are destabilizing. When someone is shouting in front of you, regardless of the context, responding with the same tone will probably amplify and nourish their anger. Bending the knee and saying “yes” to everything would feed their violence. Just like ignoring them and going away won’t make their frustration disappear. I can tell, there’s a huge part of myself who really likes to shout, scream and cry… against myself. But it longs to be heard, so much. And I won’t be able to listen if I keep running away or if I respond with the same violence. Doing that is almost a way to gaslight myself. We can be 100% toxic to ourselves, even abusive. And I believe that abuse stems out of fear, especially a fear of vulnerability.

Behind hatred, even self-hatred, there’s oftentimes a lot of pain and vulnerability that needs to be acknowledged in order to feel more safe and calm again. Not outside of myself, not through relationships, responsibilities, games, food or anything, but within me. Escapes are needed, helpful. Just not all the time, and not if it becomes the only answer. Our heart is our home. It would be sad to keep being at war in such a precious place. If I stop reacting, if I drop my weapons, I try to change the rules.

I read your own post by the way. And I’m right there with you for what you said about having an abusive/violent parent - just to add a bit of context. My heart goes out to you. I get how it is to feel like someone “shaped” you to become a messed up adult. How it is to feel this longing for something you didn’t have. How deep are the emotions that are tied to the awareness of such injustice. Also to wonder who you are beyond your past, especially if it started at a very young age. But you definitely don’t have to be your enemy. Just like you are not a person in a process of being - you are someone already, with strengths and flaws.

That war didn’t start because of you, yet it can certainly stop thanks to you. Without the weapons that someone else put in your hands at first and that you’ve been used to make yours. There are people who failed you because they never decided to face themselves. Some people turn that energy against others, some against themselves. But it doesn’t have to be like this. At least, that’s my personal belief. I think there’s a middle path that comes along with acceptance (which is not resignation or a passive attitude at all) and honesty, but it’s certainly not the easiest one. Heck it’s very uncomfortable and chaotic. Being human is incredibly messy. It takes time to outgrow the things that have been part of ourselves for so long.

PS - I remember reading this on an IG account (I think it was a poem or something):

“You deserve a love that does not expect you to be the sun, but understands all your shades.”

Just wanted to share it. :slight_smile: We don’t have to love our shades, don’t have to hate them either, but we certainly have to compose with them. A kind of accountability, not only for how we treat others, but also for how we treat ourselves.

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**This post may have just turned into my own journal entry, so feel free to disregard any parts that are insensitive or off-topic.

Nothing insensitive at all, no worries! And you are more than welcome to reflect with your own experiences and thoughts. That’s what is exciting about those discussions.

I don’t want to cheapen suicidal ideation by comparing it to car repair, but not having the tools available makes the task much more laborious and much less appealing.

The comparison is actually very helpful. And very true. Doing this was painful, honestly. It still is. But it wasn’t helping at all to see those things everyday. As you said, if it’s not accessible immediately, it’s likely to become less appealing. At this point it feels like I traded a pain for another, which also feels like a punishment. But being physically safe shouldn’t be optional. There’s this moment when you know it’s not about choice anymore, but a need.

This is beautiful. It reminds me of the end of the movie Inside Out, where Joy, Anger, and Disgust eventually wore themselves out, and Sadness stepped in and provided the rest and healing that the girl needed.

Ok, I really need to watch that movie again, haha. There’s certainly a lot of subtleties in it that I’d catch now, but didn’t before.

One of my handful of psychologists told me that long-term emotional disorder physically rewires the brain, creating a feedback loop where strong negative feelings are rewarding and anything else is numb.

100%. This is the exact description of my own experience with depression. It’s whether the depths of it or this state of numbness. Everything else seems to be empty, most of the time, except for some exceptional and temporary sparks of vitality. It’s difficult to find “happiness” (more generally its spectrum) appealing. Which is awful to say. But when you’re doing “good” for a certain time - aka being mostly in this state of numbness -, you can find life to be very boring. Which becomes even more perverse when you find some kind of creative fuel in this darkness. We all know poets, musicians, writers, visual artists whose creativity is all about melancholy and misery. It creates some kind of magic, a deep connection, but what’s the cost behind it?

This is not only self-deprecative, but insulting to the people who appreciate us. You’re discounting yourself as unworthy of appreciation, a feeling I also know well; but as I’ve learned through having this conversation with friends over and over, to say that you’re undeserving of their appreciation is to imply that your loved ones have poor judgment and that their appreciation is misplaced and flawed.

Oh man… this hits really hard. But it is so true. I had similar conversations sometimes… and it hurts. Because when I say “you shouldn’t love me” or “you deserve better”, I’m already struggling. Then comes the guilt spiral… But at the same time I’m very grateful if a friend call me out when I’m stuck in this. I don’t trust a lot of people with myself, but when I do I surely rely on their own perception too. It’s precious to have people around us who know us enough and are caring enough to say when something’s wrong.

Something really important to me is self-agency. When I truly appreciate someone, I also want to truly respect who they are, which includes their right to love who they want and make decisions for themselves. Which is also why I’m weary of giving concrete advices most of the time, unless I really know the person or if it’s what they ask for. It is indeed insulting to reject that love because of self-deprecation. Deciding for someone is insulting. And knowing that is definitely part of the things that are motivating me to better myself.

How would you feel, for instance, if you stopped to admire a sunset and it spoke to you, saying your admiration was tasteless because it wasn’t as good as some other sunsets?

I’m definitely going to keep this example in mind. It really speaks to me. Thank you for sharing it.

When we find our identity in self deprecation, to examine our flaws and negative feelings without name-calling and self-shaming feels unnatural.

“Unnatural” is definitely the right word. You have to remind yourself what you’re doing over and over as it’s not automatic at all. Exhausting. But hopefully rewarding one day. I believe it can become something that would be more experienced than rationalized.

I wish you well on your journey, and I hope that I have the strength to follow after you soon. You are an inspiration @Micro. Your words and perspectives resonate so much with me, and I feel privileged and grateful to know you, even if it’s just on this forum.

Thank you, @SheetMetalHead. The feeling is mutual. A lot of what you share/write is very inspiring to me, sometimes even quite challenging, and it’s pretty neat to see you growing as well. Also my DMs on Discord are always open! Take care friend. :sunflower:

PS - There’s still an element of what you said that I’d love to respond to, but I might do it later because my posts are super long , lol. Or even spam you with a DM one day. 8)

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