I had a recent conversation with a friend where I talked about how I sometimes I get afraid of myself. Back before my suicide attempts at different times in my life, I had that fear of the unknown that helped keep my mind in check. After my last set of attempts – after I’d done extensive research into the matter – I no longer have that uncertainty. Knowledge truly governs ignorance, and this sort of knowledge isn’t anything I’d be able to forget any time soon.
What happens if I was able to live on my own without anyone watching me?
As terrible as my current living arrangements are, they do me one invaluable service. People are around to keep an eye on me. I don’t know if I’d be writing this if I was able to remain apart from people. There have been quite a few days where having people around at least made me pretend to not be having depressive episodes.
Then again, I do live in an environment where I’m also encountering the things that caused all of these problems in the first place. My barrier to moving on is not being able to move on. If I was able to be around strangers without feeling like I’d run a marathon afterwards, this wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Eventually something has to give, and there are times when I’m not sure what will happen first – my mind breaking, or my mind healing enough so I can at least pretend to function normally.
Not knowing if my mind is reliable makes me afraid.
Only someone who has had to come to terms with their own mental infirmities can truly empathize with me here. There’s something about finding out that reality can be fiction which makes everything seem less than it used to be. It’s like being told there really are monsters under the bed. They’re just invisible, and they’re only interested in killing you.
The fear has decreased my writing output, of which I’ve blogged intermittently over the last year or so. Each time I look at it, I find a new problem. As of late, I decided that I wanted to write down my thoughts on how my religious upbringing contributed to my mental infirmities. I realized when typing out the title that it needs to have my actual name associated with it.
I realized that was only going to happen posthumously.
This has turned the whole effort into something macabre. Did I have any ulterior motives for writing my thoughts? Was I trying to write the world’s longest suicide note? Should I stop despite feeling like it’s important to tell people that what you do to small humans can break them when they grow into larger ones? None of these questions take me to happy places.
I’m back to where I was when I started this blog.
I need to grow my sense of apathy at everything in my life, though in a constructive and not destructive way. Part of the grotesqueness of depression I think is that the capacity to care about things really can and does get used against me. I start getting distracted at trying to help myself because this part of my mind tells me that eventually someone’s going to misunderstand it, or someone else is going to get pissed off by it.
It’s really not my job to control those people’s thoughts and actions. Remembering that simple thing is difficult, especially when I act out during an episode. Mistakes are going to happen, and I can’t live life without making them. Even though my mistakes can have some scary consequences, I’ll have to work little by little to become less afraid of them – and myself.
4 thoughts on “On Being Afraid of Myself”
I see your dilemma–that you’re stuck in the very environment that has caused your troubles–and I wish there was something I could do. I realize that statement is wholly unhelpful, but I want you to know I care. Very much. ❤
Re “Not knowing if my mind is reliable makes me afraid.” I know for a fact that my mind is not reliable. (Read “The User Illusion” if you want the details.) Our minds are an emergent ability that is layered atop the rest of our functions. Many are spooked to find out that our bodies are primed to take an action seconds before we have a conscious decision made to act. They think we are just robots responding to environmental cues subconsciously and that we have nothing like free choices available to us. This is an illusion fostered by a false identification. We identify our conscious thoughts as “us.” They are not, they are just the thoughts we can “hear.” In reality, if we look at our own actions, which are driven primarily subconsciously, you will find that they can be interpreted, acting a little like being able to hear our subconscious decisions.
Before I do anything substantively, I check in with how I feel (actually physically feel) about a decision I think I want to make because I know my mind isn’t trustworthy. (Our minds have no truth detectors in them, although we have determined some ways to detect when people are lying to us (if a politician’s lips are moving …).)
This is not frightening to me, it is “interesting.” (I try to adopt a Mr. Spock attitude toward things I do not understand and I can call up Mr. Spock saying “Interesting.” or “Fascinating.” when he was in the most dire circumstances.)
Re “Each time I look at it, I find a new problem.” Stop looking! We have this tendency to reinforce things through repetition. The more often we consider a fear, the more real it becomes. This is hard wired into us. we gauge threats via probabilities. The more often we encounter things, the more afraid of them we might be. I have never been robbed at gun point, but if I watched TV news a lot, I think I would have a fear of being robbed at gun point … simply because I would have “seen” it so often. I stopped watching TV news because I had the realization that of all of the bad things I saw reported, I encountered those activities almost never in real life. My life improved when I stopped picking a scabs that didn’t exist. Also, in my sport, I had a performance issue that lasted for years. The more it interfered, the more attention I paid to it. I finally realized I was reinforcing it and just stopped thinking about it and a few months later, the problem was gone.
I do not mean to prescribe anything to you or try to belittle anything you are going through. It is just I study human mentality as it applies to my sport and I have come to realize that we tie *ourselves *into knots, no one does it for us. I wish there were better information available as to our real nature (again I recommend *The User Illusion* book) so we could stop being the pretzel-bender and the pretzel … at least part of the time.
I wish you the best, my friend, and admire greatly your courage in facing your fears.
On Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 9:32 AM, Amusing Nonsense wrote:
> Sirius Bizinus posted: ” I had a recent conversation with a friend where I > talked about how I sometimes I get afraid of myself. Back before my suicide > attempts at different times in my life, I had that fear of the unknown that > helped keep my mind in check. After my last set” >
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Is it better to live alone or with people who aggravate your depression?
Boy, can I relate this this. I’ve thought about this a lot.
I can’t advise strongly enough *against* your living alone. Despite how shitty people can sometimes be. It’s kept you alive.
Though long-term you really need to get outta there and into a living situation that’ll help you actually live and not just survive.
You need people around you who have a basic understanding and empathy of your mental illness, who aren’t going to trigger you. The tough thing is, how do you find such people? And how do you sustain yourself without your family’s help?
I know there are answers for you I’m just not sure what they are at the moment.
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It is unlikely that I have much to say to be truly helpful. All I know is that you are a good soul and I’m rooting for you as much as I can. Stay strong SB, I think you’re a tough fighter.
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