I have been having a rough morning, the kind of morning where light feels like a “F*** you!” from the sun and everything about life seems questionable. So when I saw the daily challenge post, it seemed only appropriate for me to vent about some of the shadows lurking in my mind today, and the sliver of silver lining that has been pulling me out of it.

Like most people, I suffer from anxiety. Social anxiety is a definite, but also a special kind of anxiety that is tied to a level of self loathing that I am still trying to dig my way through to understand. I’m telling you this now because when I say I’m having a bad morning, it usually has to do with the latter.

For example, this morning I woke up with “If I Were a Rich Man” from¬†Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head, which somehow led me to think about an adult I knew in high school who went to see the show on Broadway, which led me to think about someone tangentially related to that adult that I had a loud argument with in the middle of Sunday School one weekend in ninth grade, which led me to feel embarrassment and self-loathing for my previous self’s choices in words and actions. That, in turn, led me to take a very tense shower in which I argued with myself about why I was feeling what I was feeling. In other words, whenever these thoughts and feelings enter my mind I move from doubting my past self to doubting what I’m feeling and why.

It’s hard to get back to a good mood after that. Difficult, but not impossible.

Self-doubt, self-loathing, self-depreciation, whatever you want to call it–all those feelings and doubts can only carry a person so far before that person realizes exactly what is going on. And if you know it’s a weakness of yours, odds are, like me, you know the thought is a lie as soon as it enters your head.¬†See? You were an idiot even then, a memory might whisper. “No I wasn’t. I was acting on the best information I had at the time,” you can answer back.

The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore. – C. JoyBell C.

And that is what brings me beyond the shadow of doubt: the knowledge that I don’t have to actually listen to the lies I tell myself. I’m stronger than my self-doubt. I have the power in the relationship.

Needless to say, it’s easier said than done. I’m still having a rough morning. I’m still pushing back the anger, embarrassment, shame. My stomach still feels like it’s trying to turn itself into a rock. My breathing still feels like it might go out of control at any second. But I know these feelings. I’ve faced them before. I know that I’m my own worst enemy.

And I also know that once I push away those feelings, the only thing holding me back and forcing me to linger in that pit of self-loathing is me. Fortunately, I know me: I can take her.

-Wilber

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