The above graphic was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. I read it early last week, and it’s been rattling around in my mind since then. I had to go back and read it a couple of times, and make sure that it was really there, that someone had really written those words, turned them into a postable graphic, and that they were making their rounds on the internet.
I don’t know if anyone will actually read these words that I’m going to write. I’m writing them tonight, mostly for myself, to purge some of the thoughts and emotions that I’ve had inside, and haven’t expressed, ever; but also because if anyone is reading this, I want to know if you ever feel this way too, or these feelings ring true to you.
I feel like a failure. I always have. I feel like a failure all the time, precisely because of the words above. I hadn’t associated them with depression or anxiety. To the contrary, I attribute my moods and anxiety as being the results of the above.
Making a list of all the things I’ve started, but never completed, is a task that I can’t bring myself to do. As I type these words, I’m trying to think of something that I’ve ever started, and actually HAVE completed, and I’m having a very hard time coming up with anything. The list of un-finished projects though is miles long and spans decades.
Since reading the words above, I’ve been thinking a lot about “why?”. Why am I not able to finish what I start? As soon as I ask that question, the voices that I’ve lived with my whole life start to chime in with their chorus of “Because you’re worthless. Because you’re stupid. Because who do you think you are? Because you won’t do it well. Because you’ll fail. Because you just can’t do it” and on and on and on and on. They’re pretty relentless, and they’ve been around for so long, that I frankly don’t even realize that they’re there until I stop and make myself think about them.
I’m so afraid of failure, that I won’t put the energy and time into anything.
Facing this fact, isn’t causing me to feel any different. I’m not suddenly taken with the desire to go in the other room and study for the real estate test that I’m scheduled to take at the end of the month, but I won’t…because I know I’ll fail, because I haven’t put in the work, because I’ve always known I wouldn’t do it. See what’s going on here?
That premise extends into the other aspects of the words above. Friends. I made myself a quasi-new year’s resolution that I’d spend more time with 3D friends in real-life and not so much time in front of a computer screen. I’ve made this commitment in the past, and as with everything else, I haven’t followed through. As I think about it, I realize that I am so socially awkward outside of very finite people. When I’m around most people, unless there’s a specific topic of discussion taking place, I have no idea what to talk about, what to say, what to do. Unless the person/people I’m with is a talker, I freeze, and then am faced with stretches of silence. I don’t know how to banter. I don’t know how to go beyond the ‘small talk’, and when I find myself in the presence of someone with a greater intellect than mine, then I just feel stupid, and small and worthless.
Caring about everything, and not caring about anything. That part there really struck a cord. This too relates to the not finishing anything. I find myself faced with one heartbreak after another and wanting to do something about it; whether it be through church, or through volunteering, or through donating money, or through online support. The causes are many; children, animals, war, poverty, illiteracy, crime, abuse, racism….all of it. All of it hurts, all of it has brought me to tears and I *feel* it all, but I don’t commit to any one. I’ve gone to countless meetings, and signed up for countless projects, and donated countless numbers of dollars….but nothing of myself.
If anyone watched “The Office”, there’s an episode called “The Fun Run” where Michael Scott organizes a 5K to raise money to combat rabies. Towards the end of the race, he collapses and when Pam tries to get him to finish, he states how nothing he does makes a difference, and how he can’t fight rabies (it’s a funny scene) and she looks at him and says (and I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the actual quote) “It’s ok Michael, you don’t have to worry about any of that. There are other people, better people, who will take care of it.” That’s how I feel. There are other people, better people, who donate their time, their efforts, their care. I just feel it all.
So, is this all because I’m a lesser person? Is it because I am not good enough, or smart enough, or caring enough? Or is it because I’m ‘stuck’ inside my head? How do I become un-stuck? How do I move past the person I am, to the person I want to be?
There we have it folks. Out there.
Maybe this is a first step in breaking through the voices. They’ve been exposed, put on paper, thrown out there.