It’s Time I Talk About The Voices In My Head
The Problem With Being Myself
You know how people always say “Just be yourself”? Well, I’m not sure how to do that. It feels like someone else is in my head and I always have to fight for control.
It’s taken me over 30 years to know what I’m dealing with. I have a mental illness. Four to be exact, clinical depression, body dysmorphic disorder, ADHD and anxiety. It took me a while to identify these problems. For the most part, I was either ignorant or in denial. So I didn’t talk about it, which made things worse.
Mental illness is super misunderstood, there’s still stigma attached to it. So people don’t talk about it or don’t know how to. But we should be talking, and trying to understand and get better at dealing with it. Depression and suicide rates are up. Even if you don’t have a mental illness, chances are someone you know does, and you might not even know they’re suffering.
It’s hard for me to adequately describe my own neurosis because it’s not logical. That’s the nature of mental illness. That’s why you can’t think your way out of it, I’ve tried.
People also experience mental illness differently. What works for one person won’t work for another. They have a completely different life experience that informed it. What I’m sharing is just my experience, other people’s will vary.
The Voices In My Head
On a good day, it just feels clear. My mind is open and I’m able to engage with the world around me. With ideas and thoughts that I’m interested in. These are few and far between.
The bad days are a constant stream of negative self-talk, anxious thoughts, and over-analyzation. I suppose everyone has some sort of inner dialogue. But this feels like another voice inside my head. Another voice that uses up all my mental energy.
Imagine being at a party you don’t want to be at, and there’s a loud obnoxious person talking to you that won’t shut up. You look around for an exit but you can’t find one.
This makes it difficult for me to be around other people. So I prefer to be alone most of the time. I’ve convinced myself that that’s what I liked, not understanding that it was a coping mechanism from my anxiety.
Here’s an example of one of those voices.
Like many, this one was developed through childhood. I’m skinny, I was bullied for it, both maliciously by kids at school and inadvertently at home. I’ve never been able to gain what I considered a respectable amount of weight and keep it on.
As a result, I have obsessive thoughts about eating. To make sure I eat enough to maintain my weight. I obsess what time I should eat and how much to eat every day. I look at nutrition labels to get the most calories, but also not eat too unhealthily. I carefully consider my appetite and my activities during the day to accommodate. If I need to dine-out I carefully consider how to adjust before and after.
Why couldn’t I have obsessive thoughts around something useful?
I’m a hard gainer, it’s a problem most people around me don’t consider a problem. I’ve spent months at the gym and crammed food down to gain 10 lbs. only to lose it in a week if I got busy.
People don’t hesitate to make snide remarks about my weight. Friends, family, strangers, anybody. My gut reaction is, I want to punch them in the throat. But I don’t, because I know they don’t mean anything by it and they don’t know the neurosis I have.
This reaction is irrational, but I can’t let it show cause people won’t understand why I get hostile when someone triggers my body issues cultivated from a childhood of bullying.
So I maintain composure, keep it in.
My neurosis digs a little deeper into my psyche.
This is not a healthy cycle.
Really though, this isn’t about my weight. I feel fine about my body now.
It’s these thoughts and irrational emotions that I have to cycle through on a daily basis. This leaves little room for my own thoughts and ideas.
This is how mental illness robs you of your life.
Prevents me from being me.
Fuck You, Voices
I’ve never tried to tackle my mental illnesses head-on. Understanding and identifying them was crucial to feeling like I could do something about it. I’m lucky to have the time and access to seek professional help. Many people do not, which is why healthcare for all is important.
I’m also more open about it now and don’t feel ashamed. Though, I’ve never been this open and explicit to the point where I felt compelled to write and share about it.
I’ve rewritten this five times. I feel self-conscious. I’m worried what people will think, if I will come off weak, or worse, complaining.
The voices in my head are yelling a lot of reasons at me on why I shouldn’t share this right now. Which is exactly why I’m doing it. Fuck you, voices.