Day 9: Why Don’t I Like Me?

I had my first therapy session Thursday night. My therapist is nice.  I won’t mind seeing him again in a couple weeks.

That being said, I am glad to have this space to talk to someone. The only thing I kinda have to say is that while I didn’t have any big emotional breakthroughs—I am left wondering: 

Why don’t I like myself? Additionally, why is it so hard for me to accept when people like me?

The second part is a little bit easier for me to draw out. A lot of the time, when people like me, I feel like people like what I do more than they like me. For the most part, I often feel most liked when I do things for other people. Beyond that, I don’t really know why anyone would really like their person doing the thing. I don’t even like the person doing the thing.

I don’t know if I’ve ever known how to accept love, care, or appreciation. To an extent, I kinda know how to love, care, and appreciate others. I don’t know how to do that for myself, and that might be why I don’t know how to accept it and/or soak it in when it’s sent my direction. 

Then again, I work in a place that throws appreciation in every direction like a pro-football player throws dollar bills at a strip club during the off-season. It seems like just about everywhere I look, I see that appreciation thrown every direction except for mine. It has been going on so long that I honestly don’t know how to react when it comes my way. I just freeze up and shrink away inside myself.

——— 

As I write this, I know damn well I need to work harder on my friendships. 

There’s this whole thing where I’ve felt alone among crowds of people, and some of those people do care for me. It’s just easier for me to focus on the people who either don’t care about me or treat me poorly.

When I think of some of my best friendships, it’s hard for me to not think about how some of those friendships soured, or how far apart we’ve drifted. I miss having friends who I saw on a regular basis, or talk to on a regular basis. I just stopped working on these things because of how sad the drifting apart has made me.

——— 

Since Thursday night, I’ve had two holiday parties. They didn’t feel totally socially daunting, however I did feel somewhat worn out at some point, whether it was from a burgeoning jadedness or simple physical fatigue. That being said, it did feel good to recognize some relative comfort in a social setting. 

To be honest, I haven’t felt like total shit in awhile. 

I’ve been working on music again. In fact, I’m working on finishing a beat-tape by the end of the year.  That being said, it really does make me like myself when I craft a pretty good song.

Onward. 

Day 1: Unspecified Depressive Disorder

I think it was 15 years ago. At least. 

I was really sad, lonely even. I was in high school at the time. I don’t remember the exact year, tbh. I don’t remember if I was a senior or junior, whatever. The point is, for some reason, I wanted to be dead. 

Now, I wasn’t necessarily popular, but I didn’t do too badly for a performing arts nerd. No, really. I got along with some of the punk kids, I was used to attract some of the more popular kids and athletic kids to arts programs, and I was at least popular with the musicians, singers, and actors. So, there wasn’t any particular “reason” to be sad or lonely, but I was. And I didn’t want to be alive. 

That being said, I white-knuckled through the period. Got through it.

A couple years after that, while I was in college, that feeling of loneliness hit me again. This time, I felt less popular, more distanced from the friends who convinced me that I was worth living. I spent more time just feeling sad, hunkered in my room, wondering why I wasn’t worth anyone’s time. 

Sometime after that, after getting a DUI and losing my bartending job, things got bleak. I went through multiple, though thankfully feeble, attempts to end my life.

— 

December 1st

7-9am: I pass by multiple co-workers, I attempt to make eye contact and say “good morning”. A few do not acknowledge it and/or ignore me completely as if I were invisible. I continue to go about my work or make my breakfast or wait for my toast, but inside, I’m fucking screaming wondering why I’m not worth being treated like a normal human being.

My mind wanders to a few days before, at an office meeting, where I take a seat. I look at all the empty seats right next to me—past those seats, every seat, a group of co-workers talking, smiling, enjoying each other’s company. 

I’ve been here for almost four years. When did I become a nobody? 

12-1pm:  Sitting at a lunch table, hoping to be a little bit more social. Same thing as the work meeting, same feelings of being wholly unimportant. The same people who ignored my existence, enjoying the existence of others. I eat my sandwich, while swallowing the fact that most people here only craft relationships if there’s a potential gain in social status or professional status.

I wish I were actually invisible. I wish I could be anywhere else. 

At least the job pays decently. Could be better, but would probably be worse if I started somewhere new. This is my penance for being a trash human being. A short, fat, loser with nothing to offer. This is my lot in life. 

I text my wife about how terrible I feel, and she urges me to finally follow-through with something that I’ve been pondering vocally for the last month. 

2:30-3pm: I call my health care provider.  I explain to a stranger how frustrated I’ve been feeling with trying to fight my sadness and ultimately losing. How I don’t feel like I can relate to the people I spend 40+ hours a week with. How I don’t know if this is normal. The stranger gives me a referral to see a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and gives me a broad classification: Unspecified Depressive Disorder

It seems simulataneously like nothing and something. It’s a broad classification, but it alludes to something that I suspected: Something’s wrong. 

My first meeting with my therapist is on Thursday.  I don’t know what happens after however many sessions. I don’t expect to be happy forever. I just want to be less sad.

At least I’ve made the first step. At least I know that this recurring and more-frequent sadness isn’t normal. 

At this time, it has been about 24 hours since the stranger said that I’ve got some unspecified depressive disorder. I’ve felt numb. It doesn’t make me happy, but it didn’t make me sad, either. It was just a piece of information about myself that I was only previously acutely aware of.

I don’t know what I hope to get out of therapy. Wanting happiness seems like an overly broad aspirational goal. I’d like to be able to dismantle those feelings of worthlessness, I suppose. I want to feel less lonely both when I’m alone and when I’m among those who love me. I guess I’d like to know myself a little bit more.