From a tortured soul. . . .

Neighbor's Iris

I try to capture the good things around me to help overcome the bad things in my head.

Well, I said I’d talk about mental illness in this blog, but I haven’t been as forthcoming as I could be. Putting my feelings in words would probably help me feel better, but I never feel like doing it when I need it the most. I’ve been really needing it lately.

I can say with total belief in the fact–I’m VERY intelligent. It’s not just that I think I am, I really am. I know so many things and how to do so many things, I forget that most other people don’t. And because I have almost NO self-esteem, I hardly ever stand up for myself when challenged by someone who knows so little compared to me. Growing up, I got good grades–great grades as a matter of fact; but at home I was constantly told I was wrong.

I was wrong about the way I felt. I was wrong about how to fold clothes. I was wrong about how to mow grass. I was wrong about how to comb my hair. I was wrong about my choice of reading material. I was wrong to be sad. I was wrong to want to do things alone. I was wrong when I didn’t want to talk. I was wrong when I did talk. I was just wrong!! If I hung my jeans up folded one way, I was told to do it another. If I did it that way the next time–I was told that wasn’t right, it should be yet another way. My mom doesn’t remember any of this of course. What ever she told (instructed) me how to do something, it was only what any mother would do for her daughter.

Basically, I was hardly ever really WRONG, I just didn’t do it her way–and her way kept changing on top of it. And still, I do it wrong–I chose my own way to do things and I chose wrong. Parents are supposed to teach their children. And then one day realize they are going to consider how they were taught and all the other ways there are to do things and pick the one that suits them best–not that suits the parents best. But my mom still hasn’t gotten to that stage yet.

But this post isn’t to gripe about my childhood, or my mom’s lack of maturity about parenthood. I just wanted to set a little background.

So–even though I’m brilliant, I don’t believe I can do things right, or be right. To overcome this shortcoming, I guess I believe I need something beyond myself, because even with all my brilliance I can’t do things right or defend my positions when challenged. So I buy things. I don’t just buy things to buy things, I think long and hard about what I want. I comparison shop. I take each item I see that could have a use and decide if it’s a use that I will utilize. When I buy something, it’s not an impulse purchase. Also, I don’t have withdrawals when I can’t get to a store. Not shopping is just fine by me. But when I get into a store, I want to look at everything there and see what’s now a good bargain, see what’s new, see if an old item might inspire something new, if the too costly item I’ve been coveting has finally gone on sale before they ran out of it. Then I buy. I’m sure if I get that one thing, or all those things as soon as I can, I’ll be right. I’ll be able to undo  my wrongness.

Now if I were rich, this behavior would not be a problem. But I am far from rich. My husband and I are both self-employed and at the whim of the economy. Well, you say–get a job! work for a company. Well, I tried that–over and over and over. I’m 50 and I’ve probably had 25 jobs! I don’t fit in. Most–not all by any means–but most of the people I’ve worked for have been less intelligent than me. They have trouble dealing with intelligent, creative thinkers who can’t tolerate arbitrary rules designed to keep the masses in line so the cogs of the machine will flow in the prescribed fashion. I can only do that for so long, then I get stressed out from trying to act in a way contrary to my personality. So shortly after that, I’m hitting the bricks again. I’ve almost never left a job of my own free will. I have had several jobs that were basically temporary–student employee or grant driven employment. The best job I had, I would probably still have except that when they finally got around to buying the bonding insurance I didn’t qualify because of some mistakes I’d made in my past. If they had taken care of insuring the organization when they first decided it was needed–5 or 10 years before–it would not have been a problem. But I was the lucky one they had as an employee when the initial investigation took place. My personality actually fit the job–but I spent too many years making some legal mistakes in my youth when I decided if I couldn’t be right I might as well be really wrong.

So not only was I unable to do anything right at home as a child (I won’t even go into how hard it is to be bi-polar as a child while having an overprotective parent) I haven’t been able to do the right thing when I go to work. I won’t list all the little things that get me in trouble with employers, but in the long run my job losses just emphasized my feelings of wrongness. So I continue to look for something outside myself to help me be right or good or of value.

So my lack of self-esteem and my propensity to look for value to add to myself from outside myself leads me to agonize over purchases and to make too many purchases. That leads to over spending. And that leads to a mad husband! And that leads me to believe I’m not worth anything which leads me to look for things outside myself to make me better. Which leads me to buy things. Which leads to over spending. . . . . . . . . .

Well, you can see part of my problem!

But I don’t know how to stop it. No one seems to believe that anyone as smart and creative as I am can have no self-esteem. The best way I can explain it is that I KNOW I’m great! but I FEEL like I’m a piece of doggie doodoo. And the feelings always take over whenever I need to prove I’m great. So I look to get something to add to my worth which leads to overspending. . . . . .

It even sounds lame to myself. I suppose a therapist would recommend role-playing to help me learn self-esteem. Or I should “act as if” I believe I have self-esteem. Or I should just ignore anyone who doesn’t seem to appreciate my intelligence. Or maybe I should meditate. But I’ve tried most of these things. But I never feel good doing them. I HATE role-playing. And I’m not an actor. Ignoring people may be the easiest, but only gets me so far because that pit of the stomach feeling crawls in any way. And meditation just gives me time to rehearse all the awful things I can remember about myself again and again and again and again. . . . Not good either. Constant activity is the best thing to keep me from thinking about all those things. But if I do that and it’s for myself, I feel guilty. If I do things for other people, I get stressed out because I don’t want to do the wrong thing.

So I’ve been stressed out. I’ve been sad. I’ve been feeling worthless. I went shopping and have a mad husband again.

I want to get off the treadmill of my life. But don’t worry. I won’t commit suicide. I’m pretty sure that since I can’t do anything right, I’d screw that up and have to live out the rest of my life hooked up to machines while I lie around being totally useless and drool on myself. People wouldn’t even have the decency to put me out of my misery like they would a dog in the same place. So as bad as I feel, I don’t want to make it worse by screwing up killing myself. I’m not even dwelling on dying in any way. I’ve gotten over that. I still think our society is too focused on life at any cost, but I don’t dwell on it any more.

I just want to be comfortable in my own head. I want the mantra of worthlessness and self-flagellation to go away. I want to believe in the fact of my own goodness and value. I want to be able to defend myself when challenged. I want to be able to help others without driving myself to distraction and exhaustion.

Sometimes, I just want someone to talk to. I don’t want more drugs. I don’t want someone to give me solutions. I need someone to tell me that what I’m feeling is natural and I’m OK even if I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to burden any of my friends either–they all have their own problems. Mine seem so minor by comparison to some of theirs.

Oh–and on top of it all, I’m in almost constant pain. The pain isn’t always the same. The pains isn’t always in the same place or the same strength. But the term “pain-free” has no meaning for me. I have pain and more pain. If my feet don’t hurt, then my knees do. Or my back hurts in any one of a half-dozen ways. I have heartburn. I have a headache. My shoulder hurts. And now my jaw hurts. Or my hands ache. Right now my jaw and my back hurts but if I take any more ibuprofen, I’m going to make holes in my stomach.

Well, I’m glad my mom doesn’t have a computer. And I hope not too many of my relatives end up reading this because the fact that I talked about my mom would send her off into spasms about how I don’t appreciate her and talking about her is the worst thing I could ever do to her. Not only should I not feel this way about her, but I should NEVER ever tell anyone else outside the family (and by family she means herself and me). I’ve learned to live on a narrow line with her–trying not to do anything that she has reason to dislike while not actually lying to her. I don’t want to antagonize her any more, but since I never really know what’s going to annoy her that’s hard to accomplish all the time. I just try not to do it intentionally.

Well, if you’re still reading thanks! I guess I’ve had brain diarrhea. But I just hope it makes some kind of sense to you. Thanks for “listening”!

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  1. Greetings,
    I stopped by to say welcome to AMS and to peruse your work.

    I have a deal for you. If you will promise to comment on my page and be honest. Tell me when you think or know I am wrong; I promise not to behave badly and badger you till you give in.
    If you are an intelligent Liberal; I and all my friends who blog would love to have your input.

    It is possible that through this proccess; we will find other topics of agreement and/or discussion and some other great bloggers stop by from time to time.

    I’m not angry at everything and everyone. Just the flaming sphincters over at the GOP and their friends.

    • That’s a deal.

      But I don’t spend a lot of time commenting. When I do it will be honest and respectful. All I ask is the same.

      • Deal.

        On Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 7:50 PM, Living on the Left Means I’m in the Right Side of My Mind wrote:

        > ** > Diane McCarthy commented: “That’s a deal. But I don’t spend a lot of > time commenting. When I do it will be honest and respectful. All I ask is > the same.”

  1. November 23rd, 2011
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