I always felt different from everyone else. As far back as I can remember, sitting in school, or standing in the playground, everyone else seemed to have an easier time than I did, or so it seemed, to me. I always had friends, but I had to work at it, it wasn’t something that came easily to me. I would overthink things, try to plan out what I was going to say, worry about what others were thinking about me, and trying to anticipate who everyone else wanted me to be. I always felt like my thinking, my humor, who I was was upside-down.
I managed to get by for a long time pretending I was like you. But eventually all that pretending caught up to me, and I tried to use things to stuff down the anxiety and uncomfortably I felt in my day-to-day life. I thought maybe it was something I would grow out of, but I never did. And as I finished school and started my career that anxiety got worse, so I did whatever I could to suffocate it with whatever I could, to appear normal. Eventually what I was doing to get by stopped working and the anxiety ramped up even more to the point where it became unbearable. I found myself in my mid-30’s not really knowing who I was but not liking who I thought myself to be. If I thought I was upside-down in the past, I was now really upside-down then.
I was fortunate that someone came into my life at that time who had felt the way I had. But, he no longer felt that way. I was intrigued. Was there a way to turn my upside-side personality right-side up? He told me there was, because he had done it. It had never occurred to me that I could, I thought I would just have to find a way to live the way I had been, even though I knew I couldn’t go on living that way. I was desperate enough to try something new and so I set out on this path I now walk on.
The key to finding my right-side-up personality was with self-love, but I also a heavy dose of forgiveness. Some things were easier to forgive than others, but the more I was able to see that the way I felt wasn’t always because of my own actions, that I had a mental illness that got in the way of me living and learning like most people, and because of that I did not have the tools I needed to live a healthy and happy life. Even that took some acceptance, even though it made sense to me and I was identifying with the symptoms and actions of my illness, I had to get over the stigma of being labeled with one, but once I was able to accept that, I wanted to gather as many tools as I could, because I knew I had to get to work, and I knew if I did, I could get better. I realized that how I had felt as a child was not my fault, there was something else going on that I couldn’t have understood, and that I did the best I could with the information I had. Did I go on a spree of self-destruction later in adulthood, yes, but again, I had a disease I didn’t know I had and without the proper information I just reached for what I could to quiet it down.
Today I know the difference. I know who I am, and I love who I am, flaws and all…remember those aren’t really flaws they are what make us flawsome. But I’ve done enough work to know what I’m dealing with today, that doesn’t make every day easy, but it makes it manageable, and if it doesn’t feel manageable, I have places to go to hit the reset button, and people I can talk to walk me through it. I’ve also learned that some of my personality is a little upside-down, but today I embrace those upside-down parts, it’s what makes me me, as long as I make sure that most of me is right-side up, I know I’ll be OK. And you know what, you will be too. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you feel different from those around you? How so? Do you think that what makes you different makes is wrong? Why? Who says they’re wrong? Do they hurt you? Do they hurt others? What parts of you would you like to change? How can you? Why would you like to change those things? Is there someone or a group of people who can help you do that? Have you reached out to them in the past? If not, why haven’t you? If you have, why didn’t you continue to do the work? Is there something you’re afraid of? Does feeling better scare you? Why? SLAYER, you have the power to change, and that’s pretty powerful, I know because I’ve done it. Seek out those who can help you make the changes you want to see in yourself. Love yourself through those changes and find forgiveness in the past when you didn’t know the difference, and love yourself for knowing what you do today.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you