Getting to know you...or is that me?
After more than 20 years of trying to work out what was wrong with me; and this continues, I found the closer I got to being well, the more isolated I felt. The main point of contention has been seeing myself through the eyes of others. When I began trying to identify myself as independent, all hell broke loose. Conflict on all sides, especially within myself. I sometimes want so much to live my life ignorant of what I've learned. Becoming a self aware individual has it's freedom, but it also has a back-lash. For me that means seeing others for who they really are and learning to walk away from abusive people and situations, even if they're family. Becoming who I thought others wanted me to be, has defined me my whole life. I became a fervent observer of human behaviour and interaction to avoid the 'inevitable', beginning when I was only a toddler. Little people tend to blame themselves for the actions of others. So I trained myself to be who I thought they wanted me to be. This didn't work of coarse, but the damage was done and I became a reflection of other damaged people.
I asked myself a few weeks ago; "Who am I in the core of my own heart, my own truth?" and closed my eyes. I saw myself as a little girl in a baby blue nightie swirling around the yard at dawn on a warm Summer's morning. The memory was vivid and I smiled to myself as I watched. I danced and hummed to myself enjoying the light breeze on my face without a care in the world. Then things changed to another scene where I was a couple of years older. I was again dancing in front of the TV when Sesame Street was on. It was a classic jazz number. I felt my heart grow warm and seemed to glow brighter as I reflected on these memories. It was music and dance that defined me, my joy and happiness. I've always been great at event planning, especially parties. And; music has to be the centre of activities.
I shed many tears that day as the realisation hit. I had been ignoring myself and pandering to others as a matter of coarse because it felt normal/safe. Now that I'm trying to define and create a new me, the anxiety, panic and depression has morphed. Being an individual seems lonely and difficult. Many changes have come about since my mental health declined, but I suspect it is stepping out into the unknown to find 'me', a courageous little girl dancing her way out of my own heart.
Dizzy@home - you're absolutely amazing!
Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums. I loved reading your post - not because of your pain, but because of your journey back to your younger self then the jump forward to realise what was going on in the present. It's a privilege to be able to do that as so many people aren't as self aware.
At the start of your post you describe 20 years of trying to work out what's wrong and getting closer. At the end of your post you describe anxiety, panic and depression. You also describe the realisation of trying to be what others want you to be. That change from being to everyone else and not yourself to starting to give to yourself can be frightening. There's a whole set of emotions that come along with it. Some liberating and some just downright painful and scary.
I wonder if visiting a counsellor or psychologist might help - you've kicked off the journey, they might be able to help with the anxiety, panic and depression. Your GP can refer you, or below under "Get support" there is "find a professional".
I admire your spirit Dizzy@home
Drop by and let us know how you're getting on and if you decide to see a counsellor or psychologist.
I have also felt I need to live up to how others want me to be.
Working jobs to keep people happy instead of being the artist I should be.
I was born with a talent for visual art and music.
Yet I kept going towards a boring corporate life.
I always am paranoid still what family think of me and how they see me, it causes me feelings of shame as I think I am being ridiculed.
Thankyou Paul; your words of encouragement are a welcome sight. I joined this forum to have a voice that's acknowledged and validated. It was a suggestion from an on-line counselling service. Today, writing as I did, made a world of difference to the deep dark place I was in. I felt good afterwards but crashed as I sometimes do. I'm still coping with this as I write now.
I have a wonderful psychologist who's been with me for a long time. I saw her yesterday morning, but she was obviously tired or her mind was somewhere else. I prattled on aimlessly watching her as she clock-watched and yawned. It's the first time this has happened and I suspect my mood today was in part due to this visit. I count on her unbiased attention and well placed open questions to get me into a more positive mind-set.
Anyway, my entry was about sharing a positive experience to add to the 'staying well' subject matter. The thing that's evident within my past is the ability to 'survive'. Even now I type a sentence and then delete the negative words rolling off the keys and start again. I want to survive this period of my life as it has been the most difficult. So staying positive is another purpose for my involvement here.
I've been forced to medically retire from my career in the public sector after nearly forty years due to what I call; 'the day my brain broke'. I crawled on my proverbial belly through months of delusion and gut wrenching fear until I had my first break-through. It was downhill from there. Not like a normal bell-curve mind you, it was slow. But I've managed to achieve a sense of new things on the horizon. Peter Pan said; "Life is the greatest adventure" and it surely is. I'm grateful for your comments; stay well and productive. All the best...Dizzy
Hi MisterM; thanks for responding. You sound like I've been in a way. Pleasing others for me came about through fear of ridicule, punishment and abuse. All my life I've had a good mind and heart. But I HAD to be average! If I stepped up to a level above where my mother for instance felt jealous or envious of, I'd be berated and physically, emotionally and mentally abused until I retreated to my 'place'. When I achieved A's at school I was ignored. But if I got a C she would encourage me by saying; "That's OK, there's bound to be a man out there that wants someone like you".
Eventually I believed I was destined to be average. But something inside me was rebelling. My own truth was there, whispering words of an uprising. It's this voice that's challenged me to change; to follow my dreams, adventures and face the screwed up thinking and programming that was my family's legacy to me.
Music and dance gave me 'respite' from thinking about what was coming next. While I moved and flowed with the sounds and rhythms, I was free in the moment. It wasn't until a few weeks ago I finally understood why music was my healing power and a path to the real me. MM; you could lose yourself in your gifts for a while. It may encourage you to use what you've learned over your lifetime and combine your visual art/music/corporate skills to discover some wonderful place out there in career land. This is after all the lucky country! You can do it!...Dizzy
That is terrible how your mum treated you.
Yeah I fear ridicule the most, which is why I have kept my song-writing, singing lessons, open mic performances secret from her. Once she saw me playing guitar and started laughing hard at me saying I was trying to be John Lennon.
For me, singing well is that moment where I am free from my troubles, where I feel joy when I hit high notes.
I believe you are above average, I hope you achieve all that you desire.
Hey MisterM! Thanks for your reply. You sound like you have a creative spirit. Writing and music are a match made in heaven. I write poems, but can't play or read music. So power to you. And by the way, John Lennon was a master of song and words. He wrote to bring peace to the world. Don't be insulted by a comparison to him ok. It's a huge compliment. Stay well! Dizzy x
Your journey is like so many others... Your post brought up wonderful memories of my childhood - playing with my cousins under the sprinkler or doing cartwheels in a storm - laughing and being us. I went to piano lessons, loved to watch Sesame Street, Happy Days, Bewitched - that was the normal part of my childhood. I too had a very dominant parent and learnt very young to be what he wanted me to be.
Life went on and I too quit my job and became agoraphobic at 18. I did get better, but do slip back here and there. That's why now I'm seeing a BeyondBlue New Access Coach. Best thing I ever did and I'm hoping that my life will improve for the better.
By writing our feelings and being here for each other is definitely helpful.
Here's wishing you health & happiness. 🙂
Hi Dizzy and MisterM
Your singing stories brought back a memory that still brings a pained feeling to my throat *grin*
Fifteen years ago, I became involved in a church choir, attending practice and singing my heart out and learning some of the songs off by heart (just like I did when I went to church as a kid, many moons ago). This choir and church had an annual concert and the songs were picked and we all practiced like mad and on the night, the organist who was also the music director/conductor told me and a couple of other men to hit the last top note in 'Don't fence me in'.
I was the only one to do it, and the conductor sat at the organ and held the note and held the note, and held the note til I looked at him and he had a broad smile on his face and put me out of my vocal strain. I think he said I'd hit top G, but hey.. ol' timers et al I could be wrong. Sopranos go for top C so this is below that, not above it and may not even be called top.
The thing is, I ENJOYED it and for once in my life wished I had the lungs of, I dunno, Pavrotti. I find music to be a great release even if the song is an earwig IYay, right word). I'd love to be able to still reach that note, but... and I'd love to be able to compose, but... .
If music is the song of life, play on.