I’ve always lived my life as if there was no tomorrow. The function of planning things has always eluded me. Over the last few years while I’ve been ill its become worse. Days and weeks go by without attending to things that are calling for my attention. If I just call it procrastination then I judge myself for it, throw it on the pile of reasons I’m a failure and go back to sleep.
Recently it’s been hard to believe that I will ever feel better. The day after the election strikes me as the first day that I realized I was going under again. But I hadn’t reached the bottom yet. That would come shortly after Thanksgiving when I realized that being haphazard about my thyroid medication and my antidepressants was about to take me down a road I’ve been down too many times.
Sometimes its difficult to fathom how I’ve derived my perception of myself. I treat myself as if I am the worst person in the universe, irredeemable. I set up this council of people and institutions that have betrayed my trust and I turn to them as the final word on my worth as a human being. I withdraw from everything in an attempt to decrease the pain. In short, I am not even sure why I think I’m so awful.
Rationally I think there are good things I’ve done with my life. I never seem to draw on those things when I go into the darkness. Instead I rehash every bad decision in my life that I regret. I turn this movie on everyday and I watch it as it seems to play non stop.
I want to let go of the past that haunts me.
In 2012 I received a letter from one of my sisters who at one time I had been very close to. I opened the door for this letter to come by asking her why we were not as close as we had once been. In the letter she presented several examples of times we spent together where she had been hurt or disappointed in my behavior. It went all the way back to 2007. At the end of the letter she concluded that she didn’t think there was anyway we could be close as we once were.
The impact of the letter continues to haunt me. This was someone I had trusted without question and the letter felt like a validation of all of my worst thoughts and fears about myself. With the exception of my mother’s funeral, where we spoke to each other on a surface level, there has been no further contact between us. I honestly don’t believe our relationship will ever recover.
The effect of this letter continues to haunt me, especially if I feel bad about myself. Ever since that time I am always expecting to find out that people who say they love me actually don’t. Maybe this has been present my whole life and the letter brought it to the surface. Either way I can’t seem to get past it. The act of receiving the letter seems to have invalidated everything I once thought was good about myself. It seems this one person’s opinion of me was so important that the letter seemed like the final verdict of my worth. All of my worst fears were true. I was too much. I was damaged beyond repair. I was unlovable.
I have two sisters and one brother. The three of them are 6, 8, and 12 years older, respectively. They have a different father than I did. My father adopted them before I was born. My mother was narcissistic and loved babies, but not children. My oldest sister, the one who wrote the letter, was like a substitute mother to me. I would never have imagined that there would come a day in my life when I would be estranged from any of them. I had connections with each of them separately and saw myself as the connecting link in a very disconnected family. But now I only have a relationship with my brother, which is tenuous.
I’ve often thought of my family as similar to the TV show “Survivor”. I feel as if I’ve been voted off of the island. However, I know that is not a realistic picture of the situation because I really voted myself off. I changed and I just couldn’t accept the reality of the situation as it was. I wanted close relationships that were authentic. One of my sister’s actions (the non-letter writer) were disgusting to me. I felt like I couldn’t tolerate her craziness anymore. The other sister wanted a surface level relationship that ignored the truth about the past and what we had experienced as children. My brother seems to have no connection to the experience of anyone other than himself.
All of the relationships that once existed were fraught with tension that exploded when I started to be more authentic. When I became ill and no longer was able to be the peacemaker, each relationship exploded and then self destructed. The first one was when the non-letter writing sister verbally attacked me and accused me of trying to turn my other two siblings against her. The second one was the letter from the second sister. The third one was in a grocery store where my brother attacked me verbally, got in my face and told me I never thought of anyone but myself.
And yet somehow I came out of it as the villain.