I write the following not as a cry for help, but to try and unburden myself a bit. Right now my brain is a cacophony of thoughts, all battling each other for the prime spot at the forefront. My way of finding some semblance of control is writing it out, so this is me writing out my feelings just like my 14 year old emo self did. On a Friday night as well – talk about deja vu.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about what is like living in my brain. It would be a safe bet that whatever you have thought about me, on any topic and with regards any of my failures and flaws, I have been plagued by thoughts of a similar nature that are 1000 times worse. (Which sounds like the world’s worst humble brag!) My brain’s default setting is optimism for everything and everyone else, except myself. My external monologue is limited to anti-Charlotte propaganda, everything that opposes this agenda and demonstrates anything that could be perceived as self-positivism is censored out unless a mighty internal battle takes place. And that requires such an incredible amount of emotional energy, and I’m totally tapped out. The end of the academic year is nigh and I am running on empty.
I need to put these thoughts on paper/digital paper for myself, and I can feel myself becoming increasingly adrift right now. And it’s scary seeing these words forming and lay out my inner truth. It’s frightening reading them, even more so knowing that a few others may read them to.
But this week I had the greatest privilege taking 20 of my students to the Houses of Parliament (thanks to the amazing https://www.ministryofstories.org/) to perform speeches on what matters to them. Not only where they all so posed and articulate, they were all so personal and honest. They displayed true bravery, so I’m going to do the same here.
I should be out with my friends this evening. But I’m not. Partly that’s because I’m tired physically, but it’s the mental exhaustion that is stopping me. The self-doubt and self-loathing playlist (they take turns but sometimes team up for a discordant duet) has be beaten and bruised to the extent I can’t face going out. Not tonight.
Here’s the tracklist from today’s trains of thought – Don’t you realise no-one really likes you? You’re such a waste of space. No-one will miss you if you go. In fact, they’ll be glad you didn’t. You’re really not enough are you. Why can’t you be more normal? Why can’t you fit in? You always say the wrong thing, you’re doing everyone a favour by not bothering. You don’t really deserve it. Don’t they realise what a fraud you are?
It hurts to see those words on the screen. It hurt to write out the lyrics that have been attacking me today. And yet, I feel the venom of them lessening as a result of seeing them written out. They are just words after all – or at least that is what I wish I could say. I wish they weren’t so powerful and I wish they weren’t so loud. I wish they didn’t make sitting in silence so frightening without something drowning them out or at least partially muffling them. I wish I could actually accept a compliment as opposed to briefly acknowledging it and shaking it off.
This week, in a rather Baader-Meinhof manner, I’ve seen and heard a lot of people speaking about how we never fully know of someone’s struggle. We see the surface, making judgements and presumptions without ever fully knowing. Yet we can never truly understand unless we walk a mile in their shoes. So this is me writing about how, right now, I’m struggling a little bit. Possibly in the manner of the swan on top, paddling desperately underneath. Or perhaps I’ve been less able at concealing it and maintaining the illusion that I’m okay.
Thing will get better, I know that. Soon this term will end, and after sleeping for a minimum of a week, I’ll be less fatigued. I’ll be stronger and be able to hold up in the fight against my negative thoughts. But right now I’m not. And that’s okay too.
And even just the act of acknowledging and writing that makes me feel a little lighter.