It has been a few months since I got hocked on to The Good Place. In just a few months it turned into my absolute favorite show. It is about a self-centered woman who accidentally ends up in the good place which is pretty much heaven. In order to not be sent to the bad place she tries to become a better person and earn her place in the good place.
This in itself sounds like a perfectly enjoyable piece of television, but this is not the reason I write about it on this blog. The show made an actual impact on me. Not only was able to laugh from the bottom of my heart, but I became more positive. Because all those bright pictures and all that happiness that is constantly shown in the series made me happier. In addition to that it discusses several philosophical concepts which allowed me to straighten my view of the world a little more.
But it was when I listened to The Good Place -The Podcast- that I suddenly realized one thing: All these amazing people who work on The Good Place have one thing in common: They radiate appreciation and happiness. The producers, cast members, directors, writer, everyone is aware of what an outstanding piece of art they are creating and they are grateful to be part of it. One of them once said in awe : “This is our job!” Meaning they can almost not believe, that their life is so perfect.
I find this so very inspiring. It means that working towards a wonderful life is not in vain, but it also means that appreciating one’s life the way it is, is possible and a great source of happiness. And here’s another thought: If we hate on what we are doing on a daily basis, we will never become great at what we do, because we keep avoiding it.
There is one other thing: The shows we watch and the people we surround ourselves with have an impact on us. If we watch dark movies all the time, we might get nightmares (has happened to me before) but if we watch happy TV shows, we will be a little happier in our own lives as well. And surrounding us with happy people, or just spending some time listening to happy people talk, can inspire us to be happy. It makes it easier to be positive day after day. And being positive does not only affect us. As I said before: positive people have an awesome effect on their surroundings. And if we are positive, we can make our friends and families a little happier.
That is why I think trying to be happy, surrounding us with happy shows, music etc. is worth it. It makes us and those we love happier.
Love is complicated. No kidding. Therefore all I am trying to do is answer the following: Can a mental illness make us fall in love for the wrong reasons?
This answer seems to be a simple “yes”. Because with a mental issue like self-harm oftentimes comes self-hate and we end up relying on someone else to give us the approval and validation we cannot provide for ourselves. Here is the problem: while self-harm enhances that issue it is not the reason. In fact it is the other way around: self-harm and seeking validation from others both are a manifestation of our low self image.
Does this mean that we are not allowed to fall in love? Does it mean we have to get healthy and confident before we allow ourselves to fall in love? What would the natural consequence of that be? Say we never really recover, does that imply we never may give in to love because we could be doing it for the wrong reasons? If we have experienced falling in love and completely depending on that person, it may be understandable that the fear of falling for the wrong reasons might keep us from falling at all. But just because we made one mistake in the past does not mean we have to make another one in the present.
Depending on one’s loved one is natural to some degree. But I find it important to remember that we still are individuals. And as such it is crucial that we keep improving. That we keep working on our self-confidence. I think it is also vital that we talk to our significant other about these issues. A relationship is supposed to make us better as individuals. But the moment we stop improving we are getting worse. So if our relationship makes us dependent on the other person. If the relationship is the only reason we can love ourselves, it is not making us better. On the contrary. And that’s the point where it has to end.
How do we know if our relationship has turned into this? Because it may very well be that it started out as a healthy relationship. I think the best indicator is how much we are depending. And this however is individual. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to make a decision once and just go with whatever the loved one decides. But if the other one makes every single decision that is a clear indicator for dependence. Another one is when one is miserable without the other. And I am not talking about the normal missing someone. I am talking about that moment where you are constantly waiting for the other. The moment where your world is limited to the relationship we need to work on our independence. And this does not mean we need to break up. By no means. But it means that we should take action in some form. Most likely it is also a good idea to talk about it with out loved one. Because looking at it from the other angle putting this pressure onto someone is not fair just as much as it is unhealthy. No one is even remotely capable of being someone’s only reason to be happy. I am not saying that our relationships don’t make us very happy. But the point is that they add to our lives and are not the sole purpose of them.
One more sign would be that the relationship has become purely physical. And then we might just be holding on to it for the physical comfort. Which means we are not dependent on a person but on hugs or sex. Again: as long as we have a life outside our sex-life (my apologies for the explicity) that’s fine. And we have to decide whether or not that is a relationship worth having. Now, I am saying this because I never wanted a purely physical relationship, but I did not notice that I was in one until I got out of it. If we are in such a relationship we often do not see what is going on. And we cannot see because we are depending on it.
There is the possibility of being in a relationship for the wrong reasons. Or having a relationship conflict with us building self-confidence as an individual. But usually that is no reason to end our relationships or forbid ourselves to engage in one. As long as we don’t feel like our relationship is the only good thing in our lives. As long as we have other hobbies and passions, we are fine. In a good relationship we will always be safe and supported when we need it but at the same time we will be encouraged to have our own lives and we will be better as individuals just as much as we are better as a couple.
Yesterday I was afraid. Today I dared. I am the only one guilty of this crime against me. But I am not mad at myself. I did not push the blade down. I just let it slide over my skin. Feel the tickle of the metal. My fingers are sweaty. I guess I am still afraid. It is fascinating how such a thin piece of metal can have such a visible effect on a human even if we don’t actively try to make a big impact. I do not know how much harm I would do if I got mad at myself and cut… if I felt unheard and felt like I needed to scream louder. Cut deeper. For now: these cuts… mere scratches are enough.
I am sliding back into addiction. Why? Because I am so afraid. So afraid that I suddenly just think: I gotta leave. And I walk out and into a bathroom until I feel able to return. Or I start crying in the middle of a lecture. Sometimes I see my chest vibrating with the beating of my heart. I shiver and sometimes my hands tremble.
I know I should be fighting the fear without hurting myself. I know I should just be handling the pressure. Study harder. Trying to distract myself. I should be talking back to the voice that says I could be cutting. But all I really say is that I do not want to be alone. And then again… I want to be alone. And I isolate myself because being around people does not make the fear go away. All it does is drag those people down along with me. Just… seeing that I’m everything but okay… it hurts them. And I still cannot talk. I wish I could.
I have been in therapy for two months now. Nothing changed. Absolutely nothing. Actually… when I started therapy I was better than I am now. I thought… I might learn how to prevent me slipping… but I didn’t. I did not even get started in finding a way. I have no idea what went wrong. I thought it would help. I think I will see another therapist. I am not ready to give up yet. Just another darkness that I need to survive… Another darkness that will leave its scars on my skin.
I am so sorry. This whole thing is such a mess… and I created it. I was fine before I was so incredibly stupid. And then I created this blog to share what would help me get better… and all I am doing is explaining why I hurt myself. And… how it feels.
The sun is rising again. I am waking up from a nightmare. I’m getting out of the darkness. Leaving that hell behind me.
I am not going to lie. I cried. So much. Actually crying and the support of someone close to me was what helped me. And yes, the person who helped me… was not someone who actually understands what it means to self-harm. But she was able to take away my fear. Make me believe for the first time in days that everything is going to be alright. And I know this sounds so old. Sounds like a comforting lie. But now I am able to believe it again. My life does not magically become easy now. But I am not terrified of what will happen anymore.
And now… as I have left hell behind I realize that I wished for one special person to be there with me. I trusted that person. And that person was who made me feel so left alone. I am mad. My pain has turned into anger. Not just raging anger. But sad anger. Because it is not that I don’t understand. It is not that I accuse that person of what happened. I am just disappointed. So my understanding is not what I deny him now. But my trust. I do not hate. But I wish to protect myself.
I am strong. I can live through a great many things without needing a particular person. Because I have my family. And I have those friends who are doing everything in their power to help me. No matter how badly I need them. Those people will always be there. and that is why I trust them.
I once said, that trust violations are the only real way to hurt me. And I have been hurt. Deeply. But this is not the end. I can go on. I woke up from my nightmare. And I am stronger than I was before. Because I know my value. I know that I can do this. Without destroying myself. Without getting lost in a world of darkness.
The lesson is simple: Trust is important. It can lift you up. Or tear you down. There are people who deserve being trusted. Those are the people who will help you when you cannot see where to go. And then there those who you wish to trust, but if you do they will disappoint and hurt you. And for me… when I have been hurt enough, I stop trusting those people. Not because I hate them. Because the first person I have to protect is myself.
As a Teenager I started writing books. Encoding what I felt. Trying to cope. It worked for a while. Then my world changed. I got out of school. I was supposed to be an adult. And I tried. Tried so hard. Maybe that part was even successful. But I stopped writing for the most part. I started talking. I started explaining. Texting. But my words did not reach the hearts of those I cared about. They still could not understand. They just could not see, how my life was suffocating me. How my words were me begging for help.
And that is how I started screaming. Writing on my skin. But I was under the misconception that this would force people to listen. It is incredible, but all it does is make you even more lonely.
There are those who care. Those who try to understand. Those who almost do understand. And there are those who just wish you’d stop. But you don’t. Not because you would not love them. But because deep inside you feel that they still don’t listen. After all this. They do not listen. And you are still alone. So you keep screaming for help. Silently. Lonely.
No. Not everyone who self-harms feels like this. There are those who hide. Who are not trying to get help from those whom they love. Those who try to cope with their pain by scaring themselves without letting anyone know. Those may call me an attention-seeker. Those may hate me for cutting. Those are the only ones I will ever accept judgment from for what I am doing. But let me say this: If you do not try to be understood… you cannot be smashed to the ground, when you realize that no one understands.
By now… my own body is screaming for the pain to stop. I randomly shiver. My feet fall asleep. My muscles twitch. I am sick. And if I happen to be hungry and eat something, I will get even more sick. I could just let my weight speak for itself. Having a number attatched to a mental condition… just another hope of mine to make them understand. My plan to not feel hungry is simple: keep drinking coffee.
I know this is no joke. I know that I am supposed to fight it. I know that I should not be trying to develop an eating disorder. I actually don’t think I am. I just know that I want to be screaming from the bottom of my heart. I know that I do not want to fight. Because I want people to see. Even though I know they won’t.
What the worst part is? The fact that I do not want to talk to my therapist. The fact that I do not want to heal. I do not want to get better. I don’t. At this point I just wanted to write “It makes no sense.” But the sad thing is, it does. I don’t want to get better… because what is happening is that my symptoms would get taken away. The mental pain I am in, will stay. And the symptoms are my way of crying for help, so unless the pain goes away… I do not want the symptoms to vanish either.
This is sad. There is no way around it. The people closest to us may not understand, why we cut. And no matter how often we try to explain. They will never see, how the pain is affecting us. How cutting is a way to handle the pain.
I learned this the hard way. I wanted to be understood so badly that I would explain it over and over. Talk it through time after time. But by doing so I hurt the ones I loved. Almost lost them. And no. They still do not understand.
The people who love us, will be hurt by the pain we experience. And weirdly enough, the way they measure in how much pain we are is, in how deeply we hurt ourselves. But every physical cut on our skins, is a cut in the heart of the ones we love. Trying to make them understand will hurt them. And it will not help us.
There is a difference between telling them we cut and forcing them to share our pain. The first will honor them, because it shows, that we trust them. The latter… in most cases will do more harm then good. There are people who can handle it. People who will actually understand. Those few I found I may trust with what’s in my heart. I do not know what it is that seperates them from the others. I know intuitively if they will understand or not. That is why for me listening to my gut has become crucial.
So pulling this together: Trusting people with what we are going through is important. But we need to know who we fully trust and who the details of our pain will only hurt.