I fight depression and battle self-doubt (or self-loathing, whichever term is more intense) way more often and way harder than I think anyone realizes. I want to be successful more than anyone knows, and I struggle with figuring out how I can be. A lot of times, people hear me talk about the struggle and what help I wish I could ask other people for or help people have been, and I keep hearing the same phrase “You need to do it for you.” Almost any time anyone ever says that to me, that’s not at all what they mean, though. What they really mean is, “you have to do it alone without my help.”
The problem with that is, that doesn’t work. Not for anyone. Not one single successful person in the world has ever become successful alone, and they haven’t become successful by literally not caring what others think of them. They all had help and emotional supports. They all have lists of people they thank in their award speeches. They all have mentors that never gave up on them and stuck by them, supporting them, pushing them back onto their feet when they fell. No one becomes successful alone.
Being alone is part of my greatest fear, and part of the way I conceptualize Hell. I honestly do believe that past this huge weight and huge bock of depression and low self-worth, I have the same potential as anyone for amazing things and ability to change the world for the better. But I am nowhere near strong enough to push past this block by myself. I need help. And no one wants to help me, they all keep saying “you need to do it for yourself” and meaning “you gotta do it alone.”
Yes, there’s goals I have that involve my mom. I want to get a small truck for myself, and some of my requirements for what I’m looking for are that it can’t be too low because it’s too difficult for her to get in and out of low vehicles without a heck of a lot of pain. That’s a goal that involves her as the measurement; but the goal is for me. I personally don’t like getting in and out of low vehicles, either; but more to the point, I want to be able to help her. That’s a goal for me. I want to be charitable, I want to help others. Not simply because they need help; it’s not that I feel obligated. I want to do it. For me. Because I like to.
Too many people mistake my goals that use other people in particular and their circumstances as the measurement of the qualities I want to have and want to cultivate. They think I’m doing it for those people. That’s jsut plain wrong. I’m doing it for me. Because I want to be that kind of person who’s capable of helping people in those kinds of situations.
And too many people push me away when I need help breaking through my self-loathing and depression and anger. They don’t get that I need help breaking through it. I need those reminders that I am worth it and I am capable. I need friends who can and will hammer through that depression and push me back to my feet when I fall into that pit, whether it’s by getting stern and telling me how worthwhile I really am, or just being there quietly and cuddling me until the moments of depression pass. I need friends who will have faith in me when I’ve lost my grip on my faith in myself.
For all I try to pretend I am, I’m really not Superman. I have some screwed up expectations of myself that I’ve not been able to shake yet. For years, when most people hear that I’m”disabled” but am considered to be “high functioning,” they tend to treat me in one of two ways: 1) act like it must mean I’m high functioning when compared to most average people like themselves then wonder why I have “problems” or can’t jsut do the same things everyone else does such as hold whatever job I can get indefinitely (the “you’re too smart to be disabled” mentality), or 2) they seem to ignore the “high functioning” and focus on the “disabled” then treat me like I’m broken or useless or to be pitied, as if I’m mentally deficient and low IQ.
Because of this, I’ve learned that in order for me to be accepted as “good enough,” I have to counteract the drop in people’s opinions of my worth by being better than everyone else so that their views of me balances out to “average.” But the truth is that I can’t maintain that; I’m not superman, and I’m not “average.” So I fail. A lot. And people abandon me; sometimes just in little bits or emotionally, pushing me away and becoming more “casual acquaintances” than “good friends,” sometimes by just disappearing from my life and no longer replying to me when I try to stay in touch. Which makes that big block of depression weighing me down even bigger. And it’s been getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger for years.
It’s gotten so big now that there’s no way I can just push it aside without help. But now it seems like people abandon me because of the block itself, because they think it’s too much to touch, and as if it’s my own fault. Maybe it is my fault; maybe I should not have tried so hard to be “good enough” by fighting to be better. But I found that just being myself made me even more abandoned and alone, and as I said earlier – no one person in the world ever became successful alone. And what I need isn’t as hard as people think; I need validation, affection, and sometimes I need people to spend time with me, talk to me, and not let me focus on the depression itself; does it really take that much to push me to talk about things I enjoy? No, it doesn’t; anyone who knows me knows that when you get me started on one of my passions, it’s hard to shut me up. I need to feel like I want to be listened to and people want me around. It’s really that simple.
I am doing it for myself. But I need to do it with help. I’m not Superman.