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The sense of self

17 Jun

Recently, I’ve aired my views about blog awards on other sites, and have expressed my concern that it’s all one big chain-letter or, as another blogger said, a popularity contest. As regular readers may have noticed, I’m not exactly known for my popularity, and being part of something is a very difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. In school, I was never in the popular group – heck, I wasn’t in any group – and nothing’s really changed since then. Mostly, I’m happy with it, because I’m not a natural extrovert.

I receive a lot of awards. Each and every nomination makes me smile, because when I started writing this blog I had no idea how far it would reach. I may not have as many views as many others, but I’ve had a lot more than some and that astounds me. I’ve said before; this is just my diary. Me. Written down. One life out of billions of others.

Earlier, I was nominated for the Outstanding Blogger Award by My Bipolar Bubble; one I haven’t received before. As always, I’m touched to be considered; if nothing else, it shows that I’m doing something right, and it’s a good feeling to know that somebody chose me out of billions of other blogs out there. I may have my doubts about awards, but I’ll gladly accept it because, quite frankly, being nominated gives me a warm feeling regardless of how I may otherwise feel about it all.

I haven’t been reading My Bipolar Bubble long, at least not properly. I read a lot of blogs every day and it takes a while to catch up. In the past I’ve only ever had negative experiences with mental illness – especially bipolar –  and religion, so reading a blog about a woman with bipolar and belief is interesting, and restores quite a lot of faith in me. I’m not religious at all, yet her blog is a source of comfort. She writes beautifully, and has a habit of fitting in a lot of words; it feels good to not be the only wordy one, and what she writes is well worth taking the time to read.

The award asks for something important about myself, and I’m struggling with the word “important”. In my world, nothing I do is important, simply mediocre. I don’t say that to fish for sympathy or compliments; I just can’t see importance in what I do, and that’s something others tell me to deal with quite regularly.

So, my important thing is my self-confidence, or lack of it. In everything I’ve done or seen, it’s followed me like an evil twin, swaying my opinions and turning me against myself. I see it as a separate entity; something cruel, stuck to me for life and determining all the mistakes I make.

Perhaps a better way of phrasing it would be “self-worth”.

How do you have self-worth when you have no sense of self? Over the years I’ve become fragmented and everything feels like one big jigsaw puzzle. I try to find who I am, but depression inevitably creeps in and snatches any progress away. J used to tell me I had multiple personality disorder and for a while I believed him because there seemed to be truth in the idea of me splitting away from myself; in stressful situations or when I felt confronted, I retreated into an imaginary world where everything felt safe.

I have never understood the concept of having respect for yourself. If I treat myself well it’s because I want to protect others, rather than through any concern for my own well being. Self-confidence? I have none.

nataliedee.com

Like other bloggers I’ve spoken to, I feel uncomfortable nominating other blogs for awards. All too recently I was the girl who was never picked to be on the school netball team, and I loathe popularity contests. The idea of an outstanding blogger award… well, it has to be something special. Something really deserved.

So I nominate Gypsy at Through my eyes: Adventures in Borderline Land. I can’t really do an introduction to her blog justice, so I’ll let her speak for herself:

“Above all else I write this for me as somewhat of a cathartic excercise, and I dont really expect many other people to read this.  Now for those you who do choose to go on this journey with me, I also write this for you.  For those who can not relate to my story, my hope is to open your eyes a little to what its like to live with mental illness, in my experience alot of people that dont live with mental illness or dont have someone close to them that do, tend not to really believe in it, even if they say they do, they get caught up on the “why dont you just”s (why dont you just get a job, why dont you just talk to people, why dont you just think happy thoughts, why dont you just…).  I hope that by letting you see life through my eyes maybe itll be easier to empathize.  For those of you that can relate, 1st, Im sorry and I wish that you couldnt, and 2nd, for me personally it helps to hear other peoples stories just to remind me that I am not alone, so I hope that I can do that for you as well.”

Gypsy and I are eerily similar in so many ways that I sometimes begin to wonder if she’s me in a parallel universe. Hers was one of the first blogs I read by somebody dealing with BPD personally, and over the months I’ve gained a lot of comfort from what she has to say; through her words, I know my way of thinking isn’t special to me, and that I’m not the only one who reacts to certain situations in the way we both do.

Reading about her relationship with Toast I have begun to understand why my past romances have been the way they have, and I’m slowly beginning to see that no, I’m not crazy. Mentally ill yes, but not crazy. I can’t be, if there’s somebody else in the world who’s so much like me.

 

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21 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2012 in Every day life

 

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21 responses to “The sense of self

  1. dankline2000

    June 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I have to say that you have put into words what I am feeling like today, self worth, self confidence of this things i have none, but i do have endearing quality i have anger, but i ask what is that worth, nothing. I dont know if what i did today was right or wrong, you see i have gone back and reread all of my posts from the time I started blogging until today and you know what I found? Nothing, not one blog that really told anybody about me about who I am, not that this was the idea in the beginning then it was all about me and somehow it became about all of us, and I started to create a post that told things just about me, with out all of the other shit that i have written about getting in the way, a simple tale of who I am, and i cant do that, i have found it impossible to do just that, it is no simple task to write about ones self with all the shit that comes with you, i found out it is a part of who i am, of who i have become, this man in front of the screen. i now realize that this is about what comes form my mind that i want to get out and down on paper so to speak, i cannot be concerned about content for others, if they think i am strange and weird, who cares it aint about them it is about me and if they dont like the things that i write about then they dont have to read them, my blog is for me about me and by me for me and my self discovery. this has been long winded and probably doesnt fit with what you were saying in your post and i apologize for that, in will leave you with my congratulations on your award, oh and i did try to write about me and i will post it but it aint pretty. thank you for reading this
    Dan Kline

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Don’t apologise Dan; I love a bit of long-winded! Comments like yours are what make writing this blog worthwhile. It’s true that it’s hard to write about yourself when all the shit comes along with it, and you’re very right when you say it’s not about them, it’s about you; if I try to write with an audience in mind, I can’t. It just won’t come out.

      I have to pretend that nobody’s going to read it. That it’s just my own, personal diary, locked away where nobody can find it. Then, the honesty and the life-story comes out.

      I don’t think you’re strange or weird – you’re just trying to deal with the shit life throws, as am I – and even if anyone does think that… you’re right, who cares? The thing I had to remember is I’m not forcing anybody to read what I write, so it’s up to them if they choose to judge me. And that judgement means nothing, because you and I are the only ones who truly know what happens in our lives. No blog can ever paint a full picture of somebody.

      I replied to your post, and I said keep writing. I mean it; reading back through your posts, you have made progress. You have given information about yourself. Like anything, it takes time to build a picture, and you’re doing amazingly.

       
  2. Summer Moon

    June 17, 2012 at 1:00 am

    “Self worth.” That is indeed a tough one for me too. I struggle a lot with my past and how I was made to feel worthless by bullies in school, and then again by people who ignored my pain caused by my illness as an adult. It’s something I talk with my therapist about a lot and try to work through. But, oh how hard it is to move past all of that when it’s been so prominent in your life for so long. Thank you for sharing this important issue in your life, ’cause I know a lot of people struggle with this and it always helps to know we’re not alone.

    Also, thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. You really made me feel valued by what you said, and I greatly appreciate that! :)

    God Bless!

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      ” I struggle a lot with my past and how I was made to feel worthless by bullies in school, and then again by people who ignored my pain caused by my illness as an adult.”

      Me too. Being bullied… it took something away from me, which I’ve never managed to get back even though I’ve forgiven the bullies and moved on. It’s like the confidence disappeared when I was in school. Then, as you say, by people who ignore the pain as an adult… I’ve experienced that so many times, and it really does destroy your sense of self-worth. It is hard to get it back, you’re right. In truth, I don’t even know where to begin looking.

      Thank you so much for the comment, I really do appreciate it :) Your blog deserves the kind words *wink* And I’m glad I could make you feel valued. I’m not usually very good at that!

       
  3. judithatwood

    June 17, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Love from an almost dark, dusky night at 9:00PM. Self-respect was not something I ever understood, and a friend told me something that has never left me. I offer the same to you, “I respect you. And don’t think I shouldn’t. I respect your candor and willingness to grapple with really hard stuff. So, I,( and your other readers, I think,) will respect you until you can do it for yourself. No rush — I’m not going anywhere. Big warm hugs!

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you so much Judith *big squashy hugs*; I’ll bear your friend’s words in mind.

       
  4. gypsy116

    June 17, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Oh, you made me cry a little. Thank you dear, and I feel the same about you.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      <3

      Don't cry! I'm so glad to meet someone who's so similar to myself, who understands what's going on in my head.

       
      • gypsy116

        June 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

        Good cry :) and me too

         
  5. Bourbon

    June 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    When I first started blogging I knew nothing about these awards. Now all of a sudden they are in every blog I read. I can see what you mean about it being chain mail. But well deserved chain mail in your case :p B

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Cheers B ;)

      I suppose it is chain mail of sorts, but at least it gives the chance to discover other blogs… I think that’s the really positive side of these awards. I’ve found lot of blogs I now read daily because of other people’s nominations. I just worry that someone might feel left out, I suppose.

       
  6. ryoko861

    June 18, 2012 at 3:34 am

    No, you’re not crazy. I never thought it. I actually feel you have a better sense of reality than most people I know. You deal with alot of pain. You mind plays tricks on you which can be evil. But overall, to me, you’re pretty damn normal! I think the majority of women these days lack self confidence in one way or another. I know I do. Society has done it.
    Kudos for the award! You’re more popular than you think!

     
  7. Angel Fractured

    June 18, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I also feel conflicted about awards. Like, there’s no way anyone would want to give me one. What’s more, I feel like sometimes if I nominate people then contact them about it I’m bothering them. It’s something I struggle with while reading blogs. Sometimes I just feel like any sort of comment I leave is annoying the writer, they don’t want it . . . Why would anyone want to read my blog or want me writing comments to them? (And no, I’m not fishing for reassurance here.)

    I also was never popular and was quite a loner in my school days . . . so I understand the feeling.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      I hear you on the bothering them thing. I worry they’re going to think “oh, just go away” because it’s not really saying anything constructive. I also worry that all my comments are annoying the writer, so at least you’re not alone in your struggle.

      Heh. I also worry that people will think I’m fishing for compliments. This blogging thing is more difficult than it’s made out to be.

       
  8. whereimstaying

    June 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Congrats on the award, I haven’t forgotten about being tagged in yours. Am going to do it today, I think I can, I think I can! :)

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Heh heh, take your time! And thank you :)

       
      • whereimstaying

        June 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm

        problem I’m having now is that I don’t think I know 15 bloggers on here, lol.

         
  9. S.

    June 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Hey there,
    I find it very interesting that while you were writing this post, and as you published it, I was writing on a very similar subject. I have been working on a post entitled Unworthy for (I am rather embarrassed to say) over a week. I will be sure to link up when I publish! It amazes me that we were thinking very similar thoughts on the same day!

    Anyway, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “How can you have self-worth when you have no self?” When I read these words it was like my stomach dropped to the floor. I too have no vision of my self, so how can I value her?

    You are an incredibly strong and courageous woman and you deserve to feel worthy. Your words mean a lot to me and you are worthy of my admiration and praise, and everyone else’s. Having mental health issues is a long, lonely road to take through life but there are people walking in the same direction. We will bring you back to the middle path, with all of us holding you up, when you stray so you can walk with us rather than the dark path we walk when we’re alone with our thoughts.

    Wow! That maybe one of the sappiest things I have ever typed. But it is true. I have read through comments here and you have some awesome people willing to help.

    You worth just as much as all kind hearted people are, an unidentifiable amount to an unidentifiable number of people! Look at how many people read and comment, they all love you.
    Maybe we can look for our lost selves together?
    xoxo – S.

     

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