First, let me apologize for not posting anything in the last two days. My PMS has been pretty bad this time around and it was messing with my head. There is a voice in my head that won’t quit. It won’t stop telling me all of the awful things about me. Then there is me that puts up a fight, tries to rationalize, induce some logic to the poison being spewed. Good days are when the I triumph and bad days are when I am too tired to fight back.
There is a voice in my head that knows all the wrong things to say, there is another voice in my head that knows all the right things to say and then there is me. Who do I listen to? – Me
Cabrillo National Monument
Mental illness manifests in many forms. It isn’t a right or wrong situation, it is a large spectrum of severeness. To each their own demons.
For the longest time in my life, there never was a voice in my head. Perhaps because the world around me was so busy and bustling with activity or because I was too young to have realized the existence of one. Maybe it was just dormant and bidding its time. One day, the day I moved into my apartment at grad school, it woke up. Sitting there alone (my roommate hadn’t arrived yet), everything was so quiet. No traffic, no noise, no people shouting, no TV, nothing. I heard this voice retelling my life story in my head, reliving some of the awful things I had done. Initially, it was a voice I listened to. I had vowed to be a better person, to grow and be more understanding. I listened to the voice. I used it to become a better human being.
It was a lot of hard work, constantly criticizing and improving myself, looking at myself under a microscope and analyzing everything I said and did. It obviously did not come naturally. Who knew that not judging people, walking in their shoes and trying to remember everyone has a story would be such a difficult task. It took me years, over four, before I was at a place where the voice in my head started to find fewer things. Of course, it is a continuous process, you never really stop bettering yourself, but I had reached a point in my life where I was happy with myself. I could look at myself in the mirror and not cringe; I started to love myself. There were flaws but I owned them, I loved them, I knew I would continue to get better.
There was a downside, however. The voice in my head started to exaggerate things, it would find ways to hit my self-esteem and to make me feel bad about unimportant things. It wasn’t too hard fighting the voice down for a while. I had achieved a lot after all, I had worked hard at becoming the person I wanted to be. I had a lot of good days before I even saw a bad day. Let me tell you, the voice was good at what it did. Because it was me, who else knows me better than I do? Who best to hit me on my weaknesses? But it wasn’t as strong, maybe it was still learning.
Something happened that I had not anticipated. I fell in love with a man. Honestly, a very toxic man. It was the most poisonous relationship I have ever been in. I did not realize how much impact it had on my life until I was out of it. He would make me feel bad about myself – about the things I ate, the clothes I wore and, worst of all, of my past. My past, is obviously, in the past. I am no longer that person, whatever I may have done or not done, I repented, fixed and moved on. No one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves. It was a very long eleven months and the aftermath left me, to the say the least, devastated. My self-confidence had been chipped away at, parts of me were missing and hardest to deal with, was the guilt that I had allowed a man to this to me. It was one of my lowest points, a slump I did not know how to deal with. That’s when the evil voice reared it’s head in full force.
It was a time where I isolated myself from a lot of people and plunged into depression. I went days with really bad eating habits, developed insomnia or sometimes slept for hours during the day. I never thought I could get out of my head, everything seemed futile. Even my favorite hobbies held no interest for me. I put up a face at work and it drained me. One day I got lucky. I woke up and I realized I am a fighter. If I could leave my whole life behind and move to a brand new country, I could pull myself together again. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford some therapy, dig deep within myself to find the strength to get up and be my own anchor. Not all of us have the luxury of seeing the bright sun hidden behind the shadows. But if I can survive, so can you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It shows strength and a desire to improve your health. That is all we really have, our health. We are our constant company and the journey is so much better when we are healthy – physically and mentally.
To this day, that voice has not left me. It has been three years, I have sought help, worked harder than before and am definitely a lot better, but there are days when even the slightest things can tip me off. I have been blessed with wonderful friendships and relationship and the strength to fight. It helps to know, I am not alone in the struggle and there are people always ready to help. Every bad day I tell myself – it is okay to have a bad day, I will survive and historically, my track record is 100% perseverance.