Reconciling With A Half-Lived Life

TW: Mental health, trauma, self-harm, suicide and suicidal ideation, abuse

As with most nights when I can’t sleep, I ruminate. I go over every aspect of every moment of my life and I can’t help but wonder how I got here. Sometimes it amazes me that I made it as far as I did before utterly falling apart but I think I should have known it was always only a matter of time.

I don’t have many memories from my childhood, I’ve locked them away along with most of my life but I do remember the stark difference of who I was from the beginning of elementary school to the end. I was obnoxious, I was the lead in the school plays and would memorize all the lines for the entire thing. I loved to research and devour new books. I would dream of acting and writing and I always raised my hand in class. And then things changed.

At home I was always told I needed to be quiet, always needed to behave, I had the highest expectations because I was the oldest and I was “smart”. According to my father I was going to be a doctor or a lawyer or anything that required a lot of school and would eventually make me a lot of money. At 9 I broke down crying and stopped sleeping at night because I was so scared that I would fail the standardized tests at the end of the year and that I would somehow end up not graduating high school (I never scored below “exceeds expectations” on these tests despite my crippling fear). In sixth grade I had a meltdown in front of my entire class, sobbing because I had forgotten an assignment at home, something I had never done before and I was terrified of the consequences.

The inside of my head was turmoil. Every thought was consumed by the way the clothes on my body felt, how the hair on my head looked, the exact positioning of every part of my body. And the thoughts that weren’t focused on myself ran in millions of different directions while I focused on everything and nothing at the same time. I turned every negative thought into a catastrophe and yet the only comments on my report cards were that I “was a pleasure to have in class” but my teachers “wished [I] talked more.”

The older I got, the more I struggled. Not only with school but with my own self-image and inner feelings of shame. I constantly carried with me the idea that I was never enough and would never be enough and no one ever told me any differently. I turned to self-harm to cope with the emotions that wanted to bubble out because I couldn’t risk letting the mask of what I thought was curated perfection slip. I began to lose my drive and my passion and I worried that my interests and dramatic tendencies, should they be revealed to the masses, would cause me to be ostracized, demonized, or just laughed at. Every statement said aloud would be rehearsed a million times, something that has followed me into adulthood. I started to just agree with everyone else and lose the bits of myself that remained truly me because I wanted nothing more than acceptance because I never felt truly accepted anywhere.

Looking back I always wonder why people told me I was such a good student. I was just really good at faking it. I only ever completed two books for English, relying mostly on Sparknotes and my skills at bullshitting. My nights would be spent watching Crash Course videos, cramming for assignments and tests that never really seemed to be done. I passed math and my first chemistry class with flying colors by writing formulas on my hands before every test. I only truly excelled in a few classes but I constantly felt like I wasn’t truly good enough to be good at anything and eventually my imposter syndrome lead me down a path of burnout and shame. Many nights I would openly sob over my textbooks wondering how I would ever have a future, begging and bargaining with the universe to end it all just to give me a bit of peace.

And yet I pushed on, terrified of what would happen if I ever admitted to pushing myself too hard or showing how deeply I was truly struggling. I eventually turned to communities outside of my home for support because there wasn’t anyone in my home that wanted to help. But I had spent so much of my life being threatened and punished for imperfection that I couldn’t truly ask for help because I couldn’t trust anyone but myself. The communities that I tried to find solace in also began to turn into something toxic. Recently stumbling upon the term “toxic positivity” I realized how much of my late teen life and now young adulthood was skewed by the idea that I am only the way that I am because I have simply not tried hard enough or prayed hard enough. That everything bad is in my head and I somehow have all the power to make it all better in the snap of some fingers or perhaps the wave of some wands.

College turned into the same nightmare of high school, overworking myself for the results that I was looking for and tumultuous relationships that began to cut me deeper than I could have ever expected. At the end of my freshman year of college I took a philosophy class and I cried every time I had to do the homework assignments because I couldn’t handle the thought of death… Funny how just a few years later I can hardly go a day without getting sucked into the void of existential nihilism.

After I dropped out of college in 2017 I worked so much that it took months before I felt the shame of my decision. There were many factors that went into dropping out and my therapist at the time and I discussed it extensively before I did it but I still feel the guilt of that decision to this day. By the end of 2018 I had fallen so hopelessly into a depression after years of making decisions for everyone else, constantly striving for perfection and failing, and a series of extremely toxic lifestyle and relationship choices that I truly felt like the most logical choice was to leave.

I don’t want to get into details but now nearly two years later I still can’t figure out why I am still here. As every thought process turns towards my mistakes and failures and the uncertainty of the future I get stuck wondering why I wasn’t “better” when I was younger because where I am sitting right now is so far off from where early elementary aged me thought I would be. Every time I seem to take a step forward, something else comes out of the shadows absolutely determined to drag me down. It’s a constant cycle that leaves me wondering at every fork in the road what could possibly be waiting for me should I make a decision instead of settling into crippling sameness.

Almost two months ago I was diagnosed with ADHD during an extremely bittersweet psychology appointment. How so much of my life was explained in 45 minutes and yet now I am left to cope with the consequences of my half-lived life. I have no sense of self, a myriad of comorbid diagnoses, strings of failures and shame following me since childhood, and still no hope for the future. To somehow look back at everything and wonder how I slipped through the cracks and figure out a way to move forward is not something I had expected to have to do. While my peers are all starting their lives and looking ahead to their futures I am looking into my past and trying to cope with everything that has turned me to this point. When I inevitably fall into a pit of despair I lose all interest and abandon things with ease. Projects never get finished, routines become meaningless, and all of my energy gets thrown into simply existing until the next day. These periods stretch on for so long and if I let my anxiety feed into it, sometimes I don’t want to allow them to ever end because I know how much it hurts to crash if I allow myself to feel good again.

Hopelessness comes easy and as I mentioned before, nihilism is the sweet spot in which my mind currently lives. My therapist told me that my thought process for decision making is exhausting and it took everything in me to not say that she should try dealing with being in my brain every single day for a bit then. It’s like no wonder I start off every meeting answering “How are you” with “I’m tired”. Every set back is something that makes me have to try ten times harder to fix it because if I can’t do everything perfectly, then it’s all wrong and while I usually do still try a bit, a lot of times I give up because it’s easier than letting everyone down again. If I’m just the failure now, the used-to-be golden child, then somehow maybe I can be myself again. I look back at my younger self and my heart breaks because I see every missed opportunity and every struggle that I faced and I wonder how everything would have turned out had I been diagnosed when everything started to change. The signs were so obvious, the genetic history is glaringly there, but I just have to accept that I adapted to survive and I figured out how to cope by myself and it’s hard to accept but I’m still here.

I’ve had to reconcile with a lot of things from my past this year, but it doesn’t make the future any easier. So that’s where I’m sitting at now. Finding purpose or drive for an uncertain future after living for so long always feeling less than. My life feels half lived, my brain stuck feeling terrified of making the wrong decision or letting down the people around me in case I don’t perform the way they expect a normal person to. It’s time I started to live for myself and stop feeling the shame that I have always felt for not being perfect. And I might still realize that life doesn’t really have anything great out there for me but maybe I just have to learn some things instead.

Sunday Scaries: Things I Did This Week & Things I Still Need To Do

Another week gone and I feel like I was more productive in this past week than I have been in a while.

Some important things that happened:

I FINISHED MY FIRST SEMESTER BACK AT UNI!!!!!!!! Three classes down and now I have a whole month off!

I started rebranding my Etsy shop, hoping to be able to launch by January.

And last personal thing is that I finally scheduled myself a doctor’s appointment and got all my symptoms written down and tracked so woo hoo for that.

In terms of reading, I finished off one book:

The Luminous Dead!

The Luminous Dead

Here’s the link to my review.

Other blog posts I wrote this week were:

November Wrap-Up/Mini Reviews

The Liebster Award

WWW Wednesday – 12/4

Books I’ve Changed My Ratings For: 2019

Now for my plans for this upcoming week:

Finish making Christmas presents (I’ve made 3 hats and 2 pot holders so far… Which means I have 10 pot holders left to make AND I have to woodburn 4 spoons)

Publish at least 3 blog posts

Read at least 2 books

And last but not least… Clean my room

Random things I’ve been loving this week:

Supernatural! I’ve been rewatching Supernatural because my sister keeps threatening to spoil me. I stopped watching the show back in season 9 because she spoiled me on a character death that shook me and I literally couldn’t bring myself to watch the show again. But now that the show is ending, and I have somehow managed to go many, many years without being spoiled on anything but that one character death, I figured I might as well get caught up in time for the show to be done.

Adore You by Harry Styles

Being warm… Cozy clothes are so nice and the weather was surprisingly mild this past week but now it’s supposed to get really really cold and I’m going to be miss being somewhat warm.

And also my spotify wrap up which is always my fave thing to see

This post was kind of just thrown together but I wanted to start doing a weekly wrap up sort of post that summarized life and blog stuff so we’ll see how this evolves as time goes on!

Hope you all have a great week! I’ll chat with you soon 🙂

18 Things I Wish I Would Have Known In 2018

2018 was possibly the worst year of my life for loads of reasons. Yes, I had a ton of good experiences overall but in the end, things just turned to shit!! So here are the 18 things I wish I would have known right off the bat at the beginning of the year.

  1. If someone doesn’t like you, don’t waste your energy trying to make them like you.
  2. Money is the root of all evil… SAVE SAVE SAVE!
  3. Sometimes the people who say they will never leave you, will leave you, and you have to learn to accept it even if it is really hard.
  4. Moving home isn’t a bad thing
  5. School can wait, your mental and physical well-being can’t
  6. Food is not the enemy, sometimes other things can make you gain weight too
  7. You don’t have to have found “the one” by 22
  8. Birthdays aren’t special, don’t stress
  9. Your best friend should always be there for you and if they give up on you, they weren’t your best friend after all.
  10. Do NOT change yourself for anyone but yourself
  11. Sometimes your coworkers will hate you and they will lie about you and hurt you. Always be the bigger person.
  12. Memories can hurt, but don’t get caught up in wishing the past was the present. You can’t change where you are.
  13. Not everyone is out to get you, but at the same time sometimes the people who say they’ll help you turn out to be the worst people in the end.
  14. Pets don’t live forever and sometimes you lose them way sooner than they were supposed to go. Cherish the time you have with your furry babies.
  15. People will be successful, you might not be. Don’t compare your life to others just because you’re on a different path and in a different season of life.
  16. The people who you think should be hurt by karma won’t be, they might never be. Realize that and move on. You can’t ruminate on how many different ways you could ruin their lives if you were karma. It’s a waste of your time.
  17. Sea glass hunting and milkshakes and a trip to Gooseberry Falls will always be worth your time.
  18. Don’t let your fear of the future let you make drastic decisions.

I hope even one of these points can hit home with one of you reading. I have a lot ahead of me this year and even though I’m really scared of everything, I’m also really excited about life again. I can’t wait to share more with you.

Sincerely, Amelia

P.S. I definitely purposefully scheduled this post to go up on the 18th. Look at all those 18’s haha!