I try if at all possible to limit posts where I’m particularly down.
It’s not that I want to edit my thoughts and hide who I am but more to do with not wanting to appear to be a moaner.
I don’t like the idea that people may decide that’s who I am.
Fifteen years ago a manager of mine said to me in a one to one ‘do you realise that people perceive you as a negative person?’
I was floored.
The thought had never occurred to me. I was happy wasn’t I? People liked me – I was funny and I could make them laugh surely? No – that couldn’t be who I was. He must have got it wrong.
But he wasn’t.
It was particularly galling because he never inspired respect in others and he openly didn’t view his role or his team as important. When I eventually got his job I tried to be as little as possible like him.
In that respect he proved an excellent mentor.
However that day he’d hit the nail on the head. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I moaned. I did it a lot back then, and it had developed during a period of financial stress (and the breakup of a long term relationship) into something that was prominent.
When I examined it deeper I realised that I was at heart a pessimist – although I’m sure like many others I viewed this instead as realism. I felt I knew the reality of things, unlike the cheerful drones surrounding me.
So – despite being witty and gregarious from time to time, this element of me had taken over and had begun to be the prominent trait I displayed to others.
This moment of clarity shook me up so much that I resolved to change this state of affairs immediately. I promised myself that I would think a positive thought every time I had a negative one to counterbalance this side of me and train myself out of it.
And I did.
When I’ve told this story to people in the past they often look at me like I’ve constructed a convenient fiction, but I haven’t. What’s hidden (mostly) is that I still think like this a lot.
When things are going generally good in life it’s not so noticeable, but then at other times when things are more unsure it’s right back there staring me (and I think sometimes others) in the face.
All the little imaginary negative first responders in my head rush to the scene of a crisis thought in their self pity ambulances and whisper in my ear.
This week they’ve begun to overwhelm me.
I feel lost and I don’t know what the future holds. I’m scared of the world I don’t know outside of the comfortable one that I do and my self image (particularly regarding my body) is on the floor in the mud.
When I think about transitioning to a new job instead of thinking about what I have to offer I envisage the fat man who will be judged by interviewers. I see the fat man worried about everywhere he goes because he won’t fit in chairs with arms or will break them altogether. I see a fat man turning up sweaty to interviews and out of breath.
I see my own fat face in all of these fat scenarios and every single time I get to this point I just want to comfort eat and drink.
But I won’t.
So I then feel angry that I even feel like this in the first place. Then I feel more down and the cycle repeats until I go to sleep.
On top of this I’m convinced I will have a bad result on the scales this week and it’s magnified out of all sensible proportion.
I know it’s irrational and that even if I do have a bad week it’s only a blip and I can turn it around.
But then in the back of my head there’s a voice that reminds me how many times I’ve failed in the past and how self destructive I’ve been.
It makes me feel alone and isolated regardless of people telling me differently. It makes me feel like there is no one that can understand even when I know that there is and that there are people that do and that they care about me.
If I could pour the voices into a jar and throw them away then I would.
I’d drive to the coast with the lid tightly on and hurl them screaming into the sea so that they could float away and cause no more harm.
But I can’t. So – here I am trying to write it out and expunge it from myself and sounding negative. In public.
I could not do it. I could keep it to myself.
But then if I didn’t say it out loud I feel these thoughts will never go away and that there would be no relief and no recovery.
No change. No improvement. No future.
The alternative to writing is getting drunk or eating until I feel sick. And that will just prove that my worst suspicions about myself are true.
So I’ll just sit here and deal with it. I’ve spent too many years numbing my pain. I need to feel it and deal with it.
Apologies Internet. You caught me on a bad day.