That was a really horrible Google Image search, let me just say.

I have long acknowledged the fact that I am probably the most boring person I have ever met. I’m very clever, but not in an endearing way or in a way that makes people automatically assume it (basically I have to tell/remind people that I’m clever, and even then they don’t believe it). I’m geeky, but not geeky enough and not over fandoms that people get really enthusiastic about. I’m fat but I don’t own it as much as I’d like to, I’m so ugly that it has long been assumed among the meaner of my peers that I am at least part troll, and I tend to be the person that people will talk to if there is nobody else around and is immediately ignored as soon as someone more interesting comes along, at which stage I am relegated to interjecting random and often unintentionally insulting harmonies to the melody of the conversation, and if a communal effort is made to change locations I tend to be forgotten and left behind.

Now, is all of this actually true? Probably not. Or at least, not as true as it seems to be. The reasonable part of my brain knows that most of this is nonsense. I can’t possibly be as awfully mundane or invisible a person as I’ve just indicated. If I were, nobody would want to be my friend or would listen to me whine about UKBA or whatever else I do more often than I should (and for this I humbly apologise to my friends, but your ever-patient ears help me a lot :P).

But then there’s the other part of my brain. The part that is and always has been ruled by Mental Illness. This is the part that takes every situation I’m in and puts the most negative spin on it it possibly can. I’ll give you a few examples of how this has manifested recently.

1. I was in a show in Brighton with a bunch of friends. We were flyering for the show, but had pretty much finished. While some of the others were chatting, I sat down at a street display and had a bit of a play. I got up to discover that my friends had all left without me. The rational part of my brain figures that they had thought I’d already left. It’s not like I’m the type to specifically tell people to wait for me or anything. The Mental Illness part of my brain then told the rational part of my brain to shut the actual hell up, because clearly they left because they do not care about me, and if I had been anybody else they would have asked where I was, seen me there, and said ‘let’s wait’. They care about each other, but not about me, because I’m boring and annoying and not very touchy-feely and who the fuck would care about me anyway? Nobody likes boring people who are too petrified of the possible consequences to so much as hug anyone.

2. In various committee or society meetings, I will occasionally make a somewhat ludicrous suggestion, or say something that makes perfect sense to me that does not to anybody else. Somebody will say “no, that doesn’t really work” or something along those lines, and often explain in some detail why it would not work. The rational part of my brain figures that, yeah, that was a dumb suggestion, or an illogical thing to say, or even a logical thing to say but nobody else has read it in that way, and that is totally fine, and other people occasionally make dumb suggestions too. The Mental Illness part of my brain then says, well, no, that’s not it at all. They disagree with you because they think you’re stupid, and no matter how many times you remind them of what you have studied, the marks you’ve gotten, the relative ease with which you can figure out MENSA brainteasers, or whatever else, they will continue to think you stupid because you look like you should be stupid, and that insults you to no end because as far as you’re concerned, your intelligence is all you have going for you.

3. When you get a bunch of Gen Y-ers sitting around, drinking mildly alcoholic beverages and discussing topics that interest us, discussions of past relationships and the like will inevitably enter the picture. And depending on how drunk people are, various intimate details are exposed. The rational part of my brain thinks two things. It thinks that I am perfectly within my right to say that this line of discussion is making me uncomfortable, and can the topic be changed, or if that seems too mean, I could leave, saying that I would rather not be part of a conversation for which I have nothing interesting to contribute. It also thinks that these things should not make me uncomfortable, and that just because these things have not happened to you yet, that does not mean that they will not happen someday. There is nothing inherently wrong with me; I just haven’t found the right person yet. The Mental Illness part of my brain then looks at the rational part and laughs so loudly at it that it shrivels into a corner. You, the Mental Illness part of my brain says to me, are pathetic. 24 years old and never been in a relationship? Who DOES that this day and age? Who is that horrendously inexperienced unless there is something seriously wrong with them? And let’s face it – what ISN’T wrong with you? You’re shy, you’re insecure, you’re loud, you’re annoying, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re rude, you’re lazy, you sweat too much, you’re too masculine, you’re BORING, you’re just PATHETIC. Who would EVER want to spend ANY time with you? Who would even look at you?

I think a lot of people think these things every now and then. We all have self-doubt in some way or other. Next to nobody thinks themselves the most incredible person on the planet. Everybody will at some point read an occurrence in their lives in this sort of extremist way. It could be argued that the only difference between those with Mental Illness and those without is that it happens to people with Mental Illness more often. And in a way that might be true. In my experience, however, I’ve found that the main difference is that, regardless of how illogical we know the Mental Illness part of our brains to be, we still, at least to some extent, see what that part of our brain tells us as truth, all the time. I believe that I am an unimportant entity among my friends who will always be forgotten. I believe that everybody thinks I’m stupid. And I believe that I never have been and never will be looked at as somebody to love, or desire, or see as special enough to want to spend time with over anybody else.

So, as a revised answer to the question “Is all of this actually true”, the most accurate thing I can say is “I don’t know”. It doesn’t seem like it should be true, but I honestly, and constantly, believe that it is. And it is very seldom indeed that I can convince myself that it is just the Mental Illness part of my brain talking.

7 thoughts on “Inside My Head – How Mental Illness Makes You Bitter, Jealous, and Horrible

  1. I read this with interest, especially your tilt on Mental Illness. I’d like to add another angle that when someone else tells you often enough you’re shit, then you eventually believe them. It took me 3 years, a good GP and a whole pharmacy of medication to get my act together, get the hell out of a relationship that was literally killing me, and rebuild my life. I actually like the person I am now, though 30 years ago, I felt less than something you scrape off your shoe. No-one has the right to make another human being feel that way, especially as they are only manifesting their own insecurities and inadequacies on to someone else rather than face them.

  2. Thank you for your amazing comment. You sound like an incredible person.
    I hadn’t looked at this post for a while. Looking at the date, it was during one of my lower points earlier this year. Luckily I’m feeling a bit better about myself now.
    Anyway, keep powering on. I think you’re amazing.

    1. Thank you too. I don’t think I’m anything in particular actually, just someone with a bit more experience than you. Take heart. You are not alone, and I’m glad you’re feeling better about yourself. You obviously have a lot going for you, though perhaps you don’t see it all the time.
      Remember, PMA and DLTBGYD (positive mental attitude, and don’t let the b’tards get you down) rule. You’re as good as anyone else, and NO-ONE should tell you otherwise. Keep smiling.

  3. I guess I’m not really alone with all those weird thoughts in my head. I’m at this point (again) in my life, and I seriously need to pull myself together. I often get by writing poems and singing, but reading from another person the things in my mind, it really eases me– it makes me feel less alone, and (okay, this is getting too long. haha) Thank you so much for this šŸ™‚

  4. *hugs* Just wanted to say, if the sex-discussions thing comes up among our mutual friends, I know that you’re far from being the only one who finds those situations uncomfortable, and I worry about making people feel awkward or excluded when we start on them, and I will always be happy to leave such discussions and keep you/others company if it’s a situation where the options are pretty much “join in or be bored and alone”.

    (I say always. Might take some prodding depending on how drunk I am. But if I break that promise, I’ll feel bad about it once I’m sober again. šŸ˜‰ )

  5. First, let me say you are an excellent writer and a daring soul. Bravo to you for expressing your innermost thoughts here, and opening up difficult-to-have conversations with others. I am glad to see by your comment that you are feeling better than you were when you composed this post.

    Everyone deserves love. And there are people (friends, companions, lovers) out there for everyone. It is just a matter of believing it yourself, first. When you begin treating yourself like you deserve better, you will eventually attract better. It will feel uncomfortable at first, and perhaps “forced”… but the key is to first treat yourself as you would like to be treated. Eventually, you will come to believe you are worth it.

    Outer appearances are such a large part of self-esteem and identity during adolescence and early adulthood… but that emphasis fades… as does beauty. We are are all made of dust and starlight and our physical form will return to dust. But our starlight is what shines, and what will continue.

    Just remember, God doesn’t make mistakes. Why we are given the travel apparatus (our body) in a particular shape or form we don’t know. Maybe if we were beautiful we’d be less compassionate. Maybe we’d be entirely self-absorbed. Maybe we wouldn’t learn the things we are hear to learn, because we’d be taken in a different direction. (We are not here to be punished, or suffer, though we might still suffer).

    People who don’t like you or treat you differently or less-than based on your appearance are themselves too concerned with their own appearance, and are not secure in their identity (or their identity is mainly founded on their appearance). And if you are attracting those people into your life, it’s because like attracts like.

    Again, this way of thinking is common for your age group (sadly, I must say).

    I also was too concerned with my appearance when I was young. And looking back, I didn’t attract true friends into my life. The so-called friends I had weren’t so great after all. Especially the ones who looked the best, whose “friendship” I valued the most.

    Now things are much, much different (but I am by no means an old woman). Now, I don’t care what people look like and have much more compassion. For myself and for others. I’ll take a kind and authentic soul as a friend any day. I don’t care what kind of package he or she comes wrapped in.

    Brene Brown wrote a great book titled “The Gifts of Imperfection” and has given some really moving talks on vulnerability, shame, compassion and authenticity. Look her up, I think you will like to hear what she has to say.

    I just stumbled on your blog today for the first time. I wish you well in your education, career, and your journey in this gift called life. You are opening up some important conversations. Keep at it, and God bless. Oh, and those cupcakes look delicious!

  6. Thinking can often make it (what you’re thinking) come true. You do know that, don’t you? And so can thinking something else. Are you brave enough to try it? I have a dopey magnet on my fridge that says: “Do one thing each day that scares you.” It stays on the fridge because, you know, it’s not really so dopey…

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