- Mental Health»
Self Value. What am I worth?
What do you do when you feel like you have lost everything?
I’m not talking food, shelter and clothing. I’m talking value of self. I haven’t lost everything – I still have my kids, but do they really have a choice? When they come of age, I may lose them, too.
Are there many people in the world who are this alone? It’s no wonder there is so much depression and suicide if it is so, but is it? I don’t know. I don’t know what goes on behind the doors of the houses all around me. I only know what goes on behind my own door.
In truth, it isn’t much.
My husband works every day – he leaves the house at 3am and returns around 9pm. He immediately goes to bed. He works 6 days a week.
The kids and I are up at 6. I take them to school, and they walk home in the afternoon.
My mother is in a nursing home. I visit her, but there is no conversation there. There is love – we do exchange that – but beyond that, we have no communication.
Beyond that, I am completely isolated. Whose fault is that? My own. My husband has family I could call or visit, but I don’t, and I won’t. It’s not that I don’t like them – I just don’t want to be around people. When I do crave people and seek them out, I find I am looking to escape after about half an hour.
I want to be alone. But I don’t want to be alone. I feel like I have lost everything.
I spent years seeking for the perfect mate, and have settled for the one I now have. He is perfect for me. He leaves me completely alone. On the weekend, we spend time with the kids together, but beyond that, he has his own friends and own interests and most of the time doesn’t even speak to me at all through the week. Every so often, we both notice each other and bed down together, after which we go off to our separate li9ves once again. There is no interaction beyond that.
It’s perfect for me, being left alone. And yet, it is not. I’d like someone to at least say, “Hey, I’m home!” when they come in the door. I’d like for them to tell me about their day. I’d like for them to discuss general household issues. I’d like an occasional squeeze, or a hug, or a nuzzle. I’d like for them to tell me when they leave the house. I’d like a text message now and then. But I get none of that.
I’d also like to do the same in return, but I get no response when I do, so I have stopped. And so I am married to a man and we live together. That’s it.
And whose fault is that? It’s my own.
I dated lots of guys before I married. They wanted too much from me. There was jealousy, stipulations, arguments, and complaints. I was required to do things to please the other. Compromise.
And it never ends. You cave into one request, and four more follow, and then, you also have to learn to tolerate the things that they do. Smoking, drinking, snoring, farting, picking their ears, whatever; the list is endless. There is so much give and take to a relationship, and it’s pure work. What is the return on your investment for all this? Love. Really?
Really? What IS love? What is it, really? I thought it was accepting each other just the way you are. I didn’t think it required all this bending and twisting and doing.
Women seemed to be made for bending, twisting, and doing, but I became more and more intolerant of it. Finally I just wanted to be left alone. But… I don’t want to be ALONE, alone.
People look askance at me, and the relationship I have now, and I agree, it’s lacking quite a bit. Love and affection, caring and concern, communication, none of that seems to exist in my relationship. And yet, in order to have those things, I would have to accept all the baggage and irritation that goes with them. I don’t want any of it – I don’t want pain, heartache, loss, tears, and grief – so I live without the love.
I have my kids, and they love. But it’s not the same as having a one on one adult relationship.
That’s okay. I can look to my friends to fill the void. But wait – I have no friends. Friends want all the same things from you. The only friendships I can keep are tenuous, long distance relationships. Every time I try to make a friend up close and personal, I end up pushing them away. And then I feel sorry for myself, off and on, and wonder why I am so alone in the world. Whose fault is it?
How do I fix it?
I don’t. I live with it. I have to be content with what I have. The bed I lay in now is the bed I made for myself. I spent years making this bed. I’m married with 2 children, I own a house, and almost everything we own is paid for – we are not in any serious debt, and we can pretty much do anything we like to do, within reason. We aren’t rich, but we aren’t dirt poor, either. We have a sustainable lifestyle.
But I doubt there are many people out there who would want my life, as is.
When I say that, I mean with me included. If you were to take over my life, you would also have to take over me – using my brain, my memories, my personality. It would be easy to walk into my life with a different personality and change everything to suit you. But could you walk in here and change everything, make it better… if you were me?
THAT is the key to everything, isn’t it? Each and every person has a million different variables, and each and every person wants their personal variables catered to.
I tried that. I tried to bend and twist and please everyone else – it’s impossible unless you can get inside his or her head and see what it is they really want. The truth was, I would try, but my interpretation of what I thought they wanted was completely wrong, and the more I tried, the more of a scrambled up mess I made.
Now, I have no family that will speak to me. I have no family that I really want to speak to me, to be honest, except for distant relatives that I keep in contact with, tenuously, the way I do my long distance friends. The only human contact I have are my husband, kids, and the friends of the kids, and people I deal with outside of the house at the school or at the store. I’m very quick to keep it all on a professional level.
Am I alone in this, or is this the way millions of other people live as well? We don’t really want to be alone. We live amongst thousands if not millions of other people and yet, we carefully make sure they stay over there.
What was it that ripped my heart out to make me the way I am? Was it anything, or is it just this chemical imbalance, this bi-polar depression that I’ve been diagnosed with? Do I have any compassion or empathy, or is it that it is just dulled by emotion controlling medications?
I know the answer to that. I have compassion and empathy. I feel everyone else’s pain to the point that I actually feel it physically myself. That’s one reason I avoid people. There is so very much pain out in the world, and there doesn’t even have to be a reason for it to exist. It just is. Now matter how rich, well fed, sheltered, clothed, or loved, there will always be pain.
Pain can be blocked now, both physical and emotional, and strangely, you will find a lot of “physical” pain disappears when the emotional pain goes away. A lot of “physical” pain isn’t physical at all, it’s purely caused by your emotional state. All of the aches and pains, stomach pain, joint, muscle, foot pain I used to have is gone, along with the anxiety and depression I used to carry with me for years, all because of one little pill I take, once a day.
But also my compassion and empathy are dulled as well. And love. That strong, uncontrollable devotion and jealously, where you would die for someone else…it’s dulled. At first, it feels like all emotion is cut off, but it’s only temporary. Your feelings come back to you over time, they just return at a much more muted level. It takes time to let a medication adjust, it can take months, in fact.
Antidepressants can take away your sex drive, and that’s why people stop taking them for the most part. The MAIN reason is all about sex. I’ve never understood why the world revolves around sex for the human, there is so much more to the world than just that one aspect of life, but there it is. People would rather suffer pain and misery to the point of committing suicide for the sake of sex.
This effect doesn’t last forever either, but it doesn’t matter. People can’t wait 6 months for their sex drive to come back, that’s crazy, and what if it never does? That’s what they are really thinking. What if it never does? They panic and quit their medications.
I think I’m one of the few people who followed my doctors orders as exactly as possible when it came to anti-depressant medications. I never used drugs to self medicate, I never abused pain killers, smoked pot or cigarettes. I hated the abuse of all drugs, they destroyed many members of my family, they destroyed whole families, they never solved anything for anyone. They destroy, that’s all drugs and alcohol ever do in the long run is destroy.
If you study pharmacology, you will learn there is a reason you take drugs in the exact amounts and at the exact times that you are told to. I followed my doctors instructions to the letter. It’s still all trial and error. No two people are made the same, so every single person will handle anti-depressants a little differently than others. If you really want to beat this condition, you have to have a lot of patience. People with anxiety disorders don’t have a lot of patience.
If you want to beat this, you have to find it, or remind yourself constantly, “I need to give it more time, more time, I need to give it more time…”
I went through a series of different medications and some of them didn’t work at all for me, and some of them had horrible side effects. Some of them were addictive drugs – I wasn’t aware of their addictive qualities until after the fact. This is all part of the learning process, and if you are lucky, they will find the right match for you on the first round. But if you are not lucky, you have to endure taking the things that don’t work for you so that you can discover the things that DO work for you.
I was lucky. The first medication used on me worked perfectly, and I still take it today. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for everything – it didn’t cure all my issues. So I was tried on several different types of medications, and forced myself to endure, waiting for the side effects to ebb or stop completely.
These were the most miserable times of my life, I can’t possibly describe what I went through. At times I felt like I wasn’t even in the right body, I wanted to jump outside of my skin and escape, that’s how weird I felt. But I tolerated it, I put up with it, and when the trial time was up I was very certain that these meds were NOT working for me.
When I stopped taking one of them, I went though a period of vomiting and small “seizures”, where I experienced what felt like an electric shock shoot through my body every time I shifted my eyes. That was the addictive one. I was furious because I didn’t know it was an addictive drug and swore that no one was ever going to mess around with me and my medications again – I went back to taking the first medication, which was tried and true and WORKED.
It just didn’t work completely.
I had several different doctors and psychiatrists work with me. I tried therapy, I tried alternative medicine, I tried exercise and yoga and meditation. All of these things help. But the truth is, my issue was due to a chemical imbalance and I still wasn’t on the proper medications.
Medications. With an s, that makes it plural. I wasn’t on the proper medications.
I didn’t and don’t WANT to take medication, let alone a cocktail of it. I remember some of the drug addicts I have known, how disgusted and contemptuous I was when they would list off what they took, what they said they needed just to function; “I take xanax, diazepam, and darvocets for my pain, and some speed, to help me lose weight…”
No, no no no no. I will take my tried and true medication, my Prozac, and that was IT. Once a day. That was IT.
But it wasn’t enough. I kept going back to the doctor with vague, hypochondriac complaints. Aches and pains, severe lethargy, tired, tired, tired….
I was always tired. I could sleep all day. I fell asleep the second I sat down inside a car, and I fell asleep the minute I got in the house after work, and then I would get up and go to bed, and get up to go to work, and come home and sleep again…
I ached. My hip joints, my finger joints, my feet, my neck, my back, everything ached from head to toe…
My heart was skipping beats, I could feel it.
The doctors would examine me and find me anemic. They looked at me with that look – this one is looking for pain killers. This one is an addict. But that isn’t what I wanted.
What I wanted was to be alive and interested, to be curious and passionate about life and everything in it. I wanted to be awake and attentive. I wanted to function.
Finally I tucked my tail and went back to a psychiatrist and said, okay, what is it I need in addition to the one I have now? And he told me. And I wasn’t happy. But I did it.
That is where I am today. I’m now taking 3 medications. Instead of sleeping on the couch, I’m writing and drawing again, and playing with my kids and helping them with their homework and taking them out and showing them things, teaching them things. I have occasional aches and pains, but overall, they are non-existent. I don’t have time for them anymore – there is so much more in the world to be interested in and amazed by.
And yes, I have a sex drive.
Through all this, my relationships have developed and dispersed, and now I have the relationships I have written of, above.
I can tell you this. If I were to stop taking my medications today, I would not live for very long. I wouldn’t be able to tolerate my life at all. I’d end it and be done with it.
I can’t do that. I have my mother and my kids depending on me. What my husband actually thinks of me, I don’t know, but in my mind I believe he is a very dependable loyal person who will stand by his words when he married me, no matter what. In other words, he could completely despise me in his heart right now, but he would never leave me or the kids, because he made a vow. In my mind, I really don’t believe he feels much love for me at all. I am the mother of his children, and he will treat me as such. Every once in a while, when the mood hits us, we have relations. That’s it.
Showing our love
It could be that the love he offers me is all he has in him to offer. Just like me, like any of us, he has his own unique make up. Perhaps providing money and a roof is all that love is to him. There should be no need for romance or cards or flowers or any of that other crap – it’s silly and ridiculous. Perhaps letting me live my life they way I want – never saying yes or no to anything I do – is love, to him. My letting him do whatever he wants is love, to him. Perhaps I really do have the perfect relationship for the both of us.
But in my mind, I can’t fathom a relationship where two people never spend quality time together or speak and play with each other. Never touch, except during sex. Is this a normal relationship? Do other people live this way?
I only know I would not be content with this type of relationship if I wasn’t on medications. And I wonder – what will become of us, once the kids are grown and my mother is gone? What then? Will I pick up and leave? Will he? Will we stay together because we vowed to, or will we stay together because we really do love each other in our weird, stand-offish way?
My mother has Alzheimer’s, and I see myself headed in the same way. I do things even now that make me wonder how long it will be before someone decides to put me in a home. And I look at my mom and think ending it before that happens can’t be such a bad thing to want, can it?
No one visits my mom but me. She is in there alone – she knows no one. She thinks she does, though. She lives in her own little world, with people who have been dead for years. Is that such a bad life, to live in a dream world?
She can’t walk. The people who take care of her have to pick her up to put her on the toilet. She lets go her contents while they are doing that, so they have to clean up after her every time she goes to the bathroom. She fights them when they try to move her. She was always a very agreeable person, they only need to tell her what they want from her, and she will do it – however, she can’t hear, so you can’t tell her what you want from her, and she misunderstands… everything. So she fights them, and it’s frustrating, and I find bruises and scratches on her when I visit which are given to her by the staff, who hurt her when they are trying to put clothes on her, transfer her to a chair or bed, or toilet. Everyone gets so angry at the staff, and yet they would never be able to get anything done if they didn’t push her and make her do it.
And she isn’t the only one. Every single person in the nursing home has issues much like hers, and they have to take care of all of them. Usually 3 people are on a shift for a single floor.
Just thinking about that alone would cause me to fall into a deep depression, all those old people, sitting there, staring at the walls day after day after day, waiting to die. All those younger people dealing with that day after day after day, becoming more and more jaded and feeling less and less empathy. They, being young, don’t even know what it is to forget within seconds, and they get angry at the residents – it almost seems as though they do things on purpose to make things more difficult. And so they start to take their frustrations out on the people they are caring for. How can their loved ones get angry at the nursing staff, when they themselves can't care for them half as well? They don't see what they have to deal with, all day, every day.
My empathy sees all sides.
Isn’t that enough, right there, to make you want to slit your own throat? The life of the staff member, the life of the patient. At least the staff member has the option of quitting their job. Why live in a world like this?
If you live in the right mind frame, you would do everything you could to improve it. If you have the strength, the will, and the ability, shouldn't you be fixing these things? Something stops us from doing that. Emotion, depression, despair. Apathy.
I couldn’t do their job. I couldn’t, even with the corrective medications I take, I couldn't. Does that mean I lack compassion and empathy, or that the compassion and empathy I have overwhelms me so much so that I run from it?
I visit her once a week. I try to think of ways to make it better for her; I do try, but there's not much you can do to entertain a person who can't hear or see, and can't hold on to a train of thought. So they sit there and stare off into space, and it wrenches at your heart to be so... worthless to them.
People say you do what you have to do to survive. It would appear, in order for me to survive, I have to stay as far away from everyone as I can. If I long for human contact, and creep out of my hole, I cause waves of chaos to happen to all the people I come in contact with, so I flee again.
As long as I stay in my house, I can clean and do laundry and vacuum, and write and draw and read, and help with homework at night. I’m fairly harmless. But I think I have some sort of purpose for being here on this earth, there has to be more than that.
But when I venture out… I make mistakes, I cause strife and bad feelings, my attempts to help make things worse. My life… my life has lead me to where I am now, and I am basically alone in this world. And whose fault is that? My own. It’s karma. The bed I’ve made is my own.
I have my little family; my husband, my kids, and my mom, and they depend on me. My little family. What effect am I having, is it the same effect I've had throughout my whole life? What effect have I had on people, throughout my whole life? Am I helping or hindering?
I can only see through the windows of my eyes. I can only reason with information I have in my own mind. My personal rating of the overall effect my life has had on others who have crossed my path is not really very good. It's one of the reasons I choose to keep my head down when I do see an opportunity to help.
I want to help. I want to progress and make things better for life, for everyone. I want to be a good person. Doesn’t everyone want that? How can you do it, when your personality… when you don’t seem capable of dealing with other people? Medications, although they have helped me with my emotional instability, pain, and lethargy, do nothing to cure my total lack of social skills, the painful awkwardness and lack of self-esteem that manifests three-fold when dealing with other members of humanity. People misunderstand my meaning when I write or speak, and constantly and take offense to my words. People believe I look down on them, that I think I am more than they are.
It’s ironic. Don’t you think? I KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt. I am not superior to anyone.
I don’t know if anything I do has any effect as far as helping anyone, but I’m very aware that anything I say or do does have the backfire ability to hurt. Ideas I have that work for me may cause detriment for others. So when I write, it's always double edged. Am I helping to heal other hearts, or am I just salting old wounds? Perhaps I'm causing brand new ones. Am I helping to expose and remove old pain, or am I just stirring the pot and causing new drama?
I don’t know. All I can do is try – but then again, perhaps what I should do is stay quiet.
Have I lost everything? Have I lost all the battles I ever fought for, have I lost all my convictions and values? Have I turned all hearts I ever cared about against me, or worse, do I no longer care? Who determines my value, if not me?
I cannot determine my own value. I have lost all sense of self worth.
My past cannot matter anymore. What's done is done. The focus of the past was on what I can do. This is what I need to change. My focus.
We - all of us - have lost our focus. There can be no "I" anymore. There can be only we. And we have to determine what we are worth.
I need the help of we, to answer my questions, but it is exactly here that the problem lies! I won't embrace the we. I insist on standing apart, of pushing all others away. I can cause no harm to others, I can make no horrible mistakes, leave no detrimental effects in my wake, if I don't take part in the whole.
I have no value if I cannot be part of the whole.
Is this my answer? If so... how do I change my entire makeup? How do I change my personality? How do I become comfortable in the company of people?