Where I Began To Lose Myself

Trigger Warning

Thinking back, I believe it was around the age of 15 when perception of what was acceptance was skewed. Not to say that it didn’t begin at a young age, but these memories are the ones that stand out, and for a lack of a better word…haunt me.

I was a natural athlete growing up. I’m not sure how I learned or even when I learned, but I had a “killer” arm. I could throw a runner out at home (on the fly) from right field, and that wasn’t even the position I regularly played. I won ever throwing competition in Track and Field, and I was MVP every year I played softball. As I got older, volleyball was made available, and guess what, once again I excelled.  It brought be comfort and confidence to be on the field/court; that’s where I was most me. I loved it beyond words and thanked God that I had these abilities. It literally was my whole world. Then came High School. 🙂 I made Junior Varsity as a freshman and had to listen to the ridicule from the older girls who did not appreciate a freshman being a starter over them, but I didn’t care. I put up with it because I wanted to be there, I needed to be there. My entire life worked around my games and practices. I traveled with teams during our off-season and left for camps during the summers. To me, it defined me.

Then one decision changed everything. I wasn’t Miss Popularity, but I wasn’t really anything. I didn’t fit into any one clique, but I did feel invisible. I had my friends and they were great, but I felt like I was missing something. I wanted to feel accepted. So, my friend and my (older) neighbor wanted to skip school one day. I was really nervous and wasn’t sure I really wanted to do this, but I wanted to be “cool”. I did everything they said and it worked. I was at the mall hanging out, while my parents thought I was at school and my teachers thought I was home sick. I was sick most of the day because I knew it was wrong, and I was going to miss practice that night.

Long story short, I got caught. I had three days in-school suspension and my starting position wasn’t the only thing taken from me. I was removed completely from the court for weeks. At that point, in my mind, I lost me. I lost my parent’s trust, my teacher’s trust, and my own identity. When asked why I did it, I could only answer that I wasn’t sure, but I knew I was tired of being invisible. I didn’t know it then, but depression was beginning to make itself comfy in my mind.

This may or may not have been the beginning, but it is what I remember vividly, the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach, wanting desperately to scream out, “Help!”, but fearing that no one would understand, or worse, they wouldn’t believe me or would think something was wrong with me.  I often wondered how anyone could understand something that I myself could not explain. How do you tell an adult (as a teen) that there’s a lump in your throat, when you think about what your friends might say? Will someone understand the empty, aching feeling you get in your chest when a boy sees right through you as you pass in the hall? How do you tell your parents that you are unhappy, but you don’t know why? I remember feeling alone and completely lost. I no longer knew who I was or who I wanted to be. I began to drift from day to day, pretending that I was happy and carefree, but inside I was tormented by my own thoughts of inadequacy.


Where I’m Coming From

I have recently decided to begin my memoirs as they pertain to my struggle with anxiety, depression and my desire to reinvent myself. I no longer want to pretend to be someone else. I want to learn to love who I am and have confidence in the fact that I AM A SON of GOD!!! This is an introduction of sorts. It gives you the basics of where I am coming from and where I want to go.

Warning for this post and those to follow on this topic: Possible Trigger Warning!

I found myself recently, realizing that I wasn’t all that “happy”. I wasn’t sad per se, but I felt trapped inside my own prison.  A prison that I myself built and continue to keep myself imprisoned.  I realize that everyone has their struggles, and that it is a part of life and I accept that. However, I do more than struggle; I battle. I have real mental battles with myself. I argue, scream, and sometimes fight to exhaustion, but it’s all with myself.

I know what is right and wrong, what is positive believing and what is negative. I tell myself ALL DAY LONG the positives, but for some reason it doesn’t stick. I have to change my mind on a regular basis throughout the day, but those pesky thoughts and the need to be accepted continue to find the cracks in my mind and sneak in. The more I gave thought to this, the more I realized that I have such a strong need to feel accepted. It’s ridiculous to my logical mind, but it truly is a prison that I have to escape.

I tried desperately to explain this to my husband, after 20 years of “sweeping it under the rug.” But if you haven’t experienced something like this, it is almost impossible to understand the struggle. I told him that it’s been like this for most of my life, and I am too exhausted to try and keep it hid any longer. I explained that I have always pretended to be someone else in order to feel what I thought was acceptance. I truly felt that I needed to be a certain way in order “fit in”. I can go on and on and blame the high school cliques or my “so-called” friends, but the truth is, it’s my own lack of confidence that has made this such a prominent aspect of my thought patterns.

I had my own parents convinced that I was a well-adjusted, popular teen that had a lot of friends and enjoyed life. When the reality was, at 18 I was seconds away from ending my existence.  I wanted nothing more to do with this uneventful, miserable life. I was lonely and spent the majority of my time alone, pretending to be someone else. At the time, I thought nothing of it; I would always play pretend during my childhood. However, now I was a teenager and I still would play these games. Looking back, I feel a little pathetic, but the reality was I just wanted to be someone people loved and looked up to. As an adult reflecting on this, I don’t think I was ever not accepted; I think I just wanted more out of life and didn’t have the confidence to stand up and reach for it.  I think as an adult, I still fight the same battle. I never published my book, after 18 years because of what people might think.  I tell myself all of the time that it doesn’t matter, but unfortunately it can be paralyzing. I feel like I’m missing out on so much more because of this prison I locked myself in. Now, it’s time to break free.

Taking Action to Make a Change

I’ve been avoiding my blog for months, but I think about it often. I felt that I had nothing interesting to say, that my words didn’t make a difference whether they were written or not. What difference does it make? Pretty depressing, right? But the thing is, I’m not depressed. I have my funks, sure, but don’t we all at some time or another. I’ve experienced depression and this isn’t it.

As I continued to work through my anxiety issues (which has been really great lately), and help my daughter with hers, I uncovered deeper feelings that I thought I had overcome years ago. However, the more I gave this my attention, the more I realized this is a serious problem. The old habits were resurfacing with vengeance, and I didn’t seem to have a handle on them like I thought. I started to be concerned that my thought patterns and behavior would have a great impact on my children. I didn’t want them negatively influenced by my bad habits.

So I think I’ve decided to start a memoir here, as I search inside myself to uncover why I think the way I do and how I can overcome it. I suppose it doesn’t matter who, if anyone, listens. My writing isn’t about anyone else, but my own expressions. I need to start being the one that is important to me, not looking for acceptance anywhere else. Besides, if I can’t accept myself, who else will?

So I invite those that are interested, along with me on this journey; and those that are not interested….that’s okay too.