Often I find that when I am at my most self-loathing I am most unlikely to express it. It is exactly the most important time to express it. My brain calls me undeserving, unworthy. Who wants to listen to all that negative crap? Why should I burden anyone else with my difficulties?
It’s simple really, this is when my self-love is tested, my empathy to myself. This is when I’m challenged to respect the ones I love and allow them to help me. To allow those I love to help me is to allow them the chance to show their love for me. It’s easy when things are going well, but more difficult in hard times, problem is, there is so much less to gain when things are going well compared to when things are bleakest.
When that voice tells me how much of a failure I am, how useless, how undeserving I am, it leads me to mistrust others, unwilling to seek their help, I cry invisibly for them to notice and lament alone for assistance I would reject anyway. I automatically assume people are sick of listening to my crap, even though I don’t tell it to them. They rarely ask, and when they do, I reject it. I have a poor attitude.
I write a positive post and I am a fraud. Do not take the word of someone who cannot apply lessons to themselves, those who say they know the path but do not lead along it.
What has been a month of brutal anxiety, anger and panic attacks has roiled over into a depression. I may take that as a positive, depression I understand, how that part of the primal mind with nothing to hunt must make up reasons to feel inadequate. Quite often the depressed state is wrong, ‘Ooooh, no-one cares about me’, and all of a sudden I realise someone does, then I cry, feel guilty and ashamed for being so silly and find a new way to be unhappy. It’s a very difficult chain to break, especially when you know and expect it to return.
All of it boils down to one thing, self-love. To think of the perception of how others perceive me is impossible and immensely damaging. With self love, the perception of how I believe other people see me is irrelevant; with depression, it becomes auto-cannibalistic, because it is a deflection from the self.
A friend of mine told me about her relationship paranoia, and I said I believed it was because she also had a lack of self love. I opined that a good, stable relationship must have four factors: Your partner loves you, your partner loves themself, you love your partner, YOU LOVE YOURSELF. Without all four, there is trouble. Her response was along the lines of ‘Oh dear, so the relationship will be unworkable if I don’t love me?’ the only reply I could give was ‘You say it like just loving yourself isn’t a consideration.’
If only I treated myself like I treated the ones I love. I love to help them, I love to give to them, and I love to spend time with them. Instead I give my heart away, rather than giving what my heart is, and it can never be returned in as good a shape than if I cared for it myself. A lack of self-trust. One person, one heart, full responsibility.
If only I believed they could think to treat me in the same way – Can it be so hard to believe? That my loved ones love to help me, they love to give to me, and they love to spend time with me? To believe anything else is either fear or arrogance, to prevent them from doing this is to deny their expressions of love. Put simply, by not loving myself, I am being selfish in refusing help, in refusing to be vulnerable, I am being a bad friend in not allowing them to know me by not giving them that chance to grow mutual, irreplaceable love.
It is selfish to not allow good friends the opportunity to enhance our friendship through gaining trust in adversity, but in expecting their help when I refuse to help myself, I show a lack of self-respect for my own capabilities. I feel that if I take help then I owe someone, it creates a heavy pressure and makes relationships transactional rather than human. After all, why would someone help me unless they thought they were getting something from it? Why would someone help me at all? So stupid, it’s not just about me, sometimes people do get the same joy out of helping me that I do in helping them. Self-loathing negates the value of this and takes so much away from relationships with others.
What a twist this puts the depressed mind in. ‘…if I don’t love me’, how could I when my mind says I suck and don’t deserve it? It becomes a spiral. There is only one direction to look to find the answer I believe, inwards, lest everything else becomes a reflection to self-despair.
I am in the midst of some of the most difficult few months in my life in one of the most dejected mental states. For well over a month now there has been no joy, just a continual grind to try and make my life better whilst embracing none of it. How could I possibly expect to make my life better with success when success tastes like ash? Yes, I do things because they need to be done, but ultimately, there is no point if it means nothing to me.
I’ll be honest; this transition has become a nightmare. The more intense and real it gets, the more I pull away from myself, the more I try to go alone, the further I get from understanding and embracing my identity. Exercise, healthy diet and so on are great tools, but tools are useless without confidence of the wielder.
Yesterday I signed the consent form for hormones, the most major medical decision I’ve ever made and in all likelihood, the forbearer to a stroke in an orange pill bottle. In two days I put my only hope of genetic offspring into the hands of strangers with the risk of losing it all. So so so so heavy. This coming week I have laser, a voice lesson, and a pro make-up session which is a terror all of its own.
On top of this is the soul-destroying voice practice. Morning, noon, evening and night, they remind me that there is no rest anymore, no relaxation, and for each shade of personal darkness I drop a semitone, compounding the difficulty.
I’m preparing to move house and town in just over two weeks, even though I am far from ready to being capable of employment, have limited funds and few friends. The only time I see friends is when I make the effort to go to them, so I know they won’t make the effort, and I wish I could say that was only self-defeat, but it is recorded true from experience.
At a point the load becomes ever more difficult to bear, but like I quoted in my last post, it’s how I carry it. Still, I feel utterly crushed, alone within myself.
Oh yeah, gender transition. Woopy-do. The therapy session yesterday was difficult. We discussed potential changes on hormones and got caught up in a debate about breasts. She asked why I don’t care about them and I explained about my dysphoria being a sub-conscious deal rather than conscious. She argued that many/most transfolks feel their gender consciously, and transwomen want breasts and so on to feel their femininity. She challenged that if I’m not that bothered about my body, then why should I even want hormones.
I don’t care about my gender, I care about dysphoria. However on the way home I thought a lot about it. Two words came up, bright and bold. SHAME. GUILT.
I’ve rarely felt through my life that I have deserved anything for myself, this is why I give away so much more of myself than I have to give, destroying myself and close relationships. This is why I never took my dysphoria seriously. It is why even now I feel that I don’t deserve to have the body, mind, soul of what my heart tells me I am. I am ashamed to want any of this treatment for myself, the same as I am ashamed to present my true self because my negativity asserts that my true internal self isn’t worthy of expressing. A lot of the time, I don’t feel I deserve to live, though what’s the alternative.
I feel guilty complaining about all the appointments that I go to, knowing that there are people who are incredibly physically sick, missing limbs and so on who must go through even more intense treatment programs, yet I am completely healthy and going to appointments which will ultimately destroy me whether I endure or not. I feel guilty that I would get any treatment at all, when I could just keep trying to find a way of dealing with this even though I don’t think there is any other way. I can’t think of a more bizarre medical treatment option for a situation.
Some of these feelings seem reasonably typical at this point in transition, when reality begins to take its’ toll, when the limits of endurance are pushed, when the determination of resolve is tested. Dysphoria is the only constant.
I feel like I’ve totally screwed this up, that instead of a time for freedom, openness, expression, love and joy, it has become a nightmare of depression, anger, panic, loneliness, anxiety and self-loathing. I still think too much and feel not enough. No success is a victory for the self-loathing – for example, I will have quit all forms of smoking for a month tomorrow, I have such reason to be proud, yet I don’t care.
The only salve is to somehow love myself again, to make time for it beyond anything else, to make it more important than anything else. It is not selfish, it is selfless. It has been said since humans could speak, ‘Love thyself to love another.’
I cannot love outwards unless I love inwards first. If I am hollow, my intentions outwards are loving in intent, but they are still hollow. If I am full, the love I give is full.
The truth is, we are all equal, so when I disrespect myself, I disrespect others. When I respect myself, I respect others. Once again, it is arrogant to hold myself to a different standard than others’, it is unreasonable to expect myself to be so much more capable, and to be able to cope with more. It is unreasonable to say I should receive special punishment for mistakes no-one is invulnerable from committing. A counsellor one asked me, ‘What have you done that is so bad that you don’t deserve to be as happy as anyone else?’
Alternatively I’d take a cuddle and a cry but neither of those seem forthcoming, and I’d refuse that too, I’d need someone to force me into their arms, to not let go as I crumple into teary anagnorisis. I am afraid to be vulnerable, I am afraid of the rejection of experienced all too often, yet I know I have to keep trying to bare the open wounds to see who might sew them in positions that I cannot.
At this point I’m so lost that I don’t even really know much about my identity, I don’t know how other people could help me more, and I am really struggling to find a way to help myself. For so much as I despise myself, the most despicable thing I can do is to not make time to confront who I am once again.
I feel like I am so busy that I can’t make time for this most singularly important need. How ridiculous that I can fret over all matter of minutiae and neglect the core of being.
“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”- Ghandi
Depression is a temporary state, just like any authoritarian regime the lies and oppression will come to an end when I demand my freedom. The tyranny of despair will end when I fight for my happiness. I don’t need to know how, I just need to know to never to give up, to expect and move past failures, to ask for help, to not know just that I can get there, but I that I will.
♣ Amy Xx ♥