The sense of self

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.

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.