Note: I do not mean any offense in any way when I used the term “mental instability” in the title and when I’ll use it below. I simply don’t have a name for this condition and refer to it that way; if you do know of a more appropriate term, please let me know so I can correct my usage!
Okay people. I think this is a now or never moment. Right this moment, I actually feel ready to talk.
So, remember all the times these couple few years when I told you of my “state”? I always called it my “state” or “condition” because I’ve never – and still don’t for sure – know what to name it. I guess it’s some form of mental unavailability or instability. I don’t think it ever reached the state of an archetypical depression (that is if there even are any archetypical depressions… I simply mean the kind of depression classified by a professional, say, a doctor or psychologist) but then again I’ve read multiple times that mental instabilities (Can someone please introduce a simple-to-use word for these… “things”?) always develop differently in each sufferer, so it could well be that I reached a mild state of depression all along.
Anyway, I never talked – and never wanted to, frankly – about when and how it came about but I think I’m ready to do so now. For whatever reason I feel sick to keep it shut inside me and maybe, maybe someone will read this post and will be grateful for it because they can in whatever ways resonate with it, with me.
Thing is, I’ve always been an idealistic person. I’d even say I’ve always been idealistic to a fault, leading to me having so many presumptions and assumptions about what the world should be, how everyone should be and behave and how the processes of live and living should take place. In my opinion, it’s the most infuriating trait I have.
On top of that, I’ve always been self-conscious. It was very bad when I was quite young but then improved and was greatly reduced with the help of nice teachers and generous and kind-hearted friends I’ve met along the way.
Then I entered third grade of high school (no idea what English natives call that) and that’s when everything started to fall apart. Why? Because looking back, what I can conclude from being mentally unstable for such a long time, what the gravest consequence of all my suffering was, is that I’ve lost every bit of self-confidence I built up before. It might seem like such a small loss but let me tell you that losing every believe in yourself is one of the most painful and annoying things you could experience. (Or at least it has to be, from my 18-year-old perspective on life.)
See, I started third grade as a happy 14-year-old girl – in fact, I don’t think I’d ever been happier before in my life. Everything went great and while I knew that school’s just getting more and more challenging, I had enough self-confidence that I could make it somehow, someway. Moreover, I’m one of those people who sometimes have (ridiculously) high expectations of themselves and I wouldn’t let myself be disappointed by, well, myself. Also, my parents had high expectations of my achievements, too, so that’s something I had to fulfill as well… but at that point I was so used to it that it didn’t bother me much. So far, so good.
So, I entered this class in third-grade and – let’s not forget how idealistic and happy/content I was – I was instantly so overwhelmed by how grateful I was to be in that class. I can remember the couple of times when I gushed to my best friend about how lucky I am to be in that class and how it must be hands down, no doubt, the “best class ever”. At that time idealistic me thought that everyone in the world was good, or at least 90% good. Don’t ask me how I could have been so naive…. seeing as I knew that there were bad people out there, abominable, detestable people. I guess that because I never got in personal touch with someone doubtlessly “bad” on a regular basis, that fact never fully reached my awareness. I’m sure that dozens of people could’ve repeatedly told me “there are really malicious people in the world out there, Stella” and it wouldn’t have changed a thing because of course there are vile people out there but it’s not until you see it right in front of you or them personally affecting you that you can fully grasp the most obvious facts. (Or at least, that’s how it is with me… tragic, right?)
But then, as time passed, all of a sudden I saw cracks in those people. Fissures where unexpectedly dishonourable behaviour would flow out and make a mess in that perfect environment I thought I lived in. It’s not that I didn’t knew that even people close to me can sometimes be mean and cruel but those were people I stupidly thought were golden, angelic, (almost) perfect. At the beginning it came very naturally to me to ignore such behaviour or just to decide that I wouldn’t be so chummy with them anymore in the near future; but of course, foolish me completely disregarded the fact that everyone can be good and bad. And that there are people who don’t have a problem with showing their selfish sides, who don’t have a problem with being mean for a moment; and with the number of them increasing, my idealistic world view started slowly, but surely to shatter and to leave me completely befuddled and confused.
Now you probably think that if that was the only reason I got mentally unstable, then it’s doubtlessly a self-inflicted one and basically it was just me being foolish and stupid and this whole episode is simply one big tragicomedy. Well, laugh all you want – I don’t mind – because in retrospect, frankly, I cannot help but shake my head at 14 and 15-year-old me, too. But let me also tell you that a lot of times mental instability is very much part of a person (by which I mean there are already seeds planted inside someone) and it only needs a trigger to unfold, which I believe was the case with me. And of course there were other reasons shattering my world view; such as that I came to the full realization that without money in life it’s very hard to carve your own path in this world or that there are a lot more inequalities in this world than I’d ever thought there were.
Anyway, I suddenly felt very foolish and also irrationally deceived. Deceived that I could’ve believed that people were simply at least 90% good. Deceived that I could’ve thought that everyone lived by the same rule of trying to never flaunt your imperfections in front of other people or to always try to be generous so that “greater goods”/ common goals are easier to achieve. Deceived that I probably should have realized this all along and was probably the latest teenager in the world to come to that conclusion.
Also, about the same time or a bit later, people started to get weirdly competitive in my environment. Not always an obvious competition rather than that one feels a shift in the atmosphere and a certain feeling of, well, being challenged or people comparing themselves with you about every possible topic one could compete about. And I realized that while I have quite high expectations of myself I somehow was simply a) not smart, b) not diligent and c) not ambitious enough to compete with them.
Needless to say, that my perception (whether true or not doesn’t really matter in the end, I guess) of myself added to my existing insecurity about my judgement.
And after all those happenings and realizations, I think, is when my mental condition started to weaken and when everything started going downhill.
By the way, I have to remark that I still am not 100% sure whether that was the trigger for my instability or whether it was just the tell-tale sign that I was mentally unstable; all I know is that being insecure about yourself and what you are and what you mean is a great part of what shapes mental instability (as I experienced it).
Let me explain it: It was around entering 4th grade that I started to have breakdowns on a monthly basis. Later there would be times when it extended to weekly breakdowns and sometimes I also had them several times a week. By the way, my definition of breakdown is this painful throbbing or stinging in your heart – psychosomatic I guess – sometimes even accompanied by headaches, that builds up a tension in you; and at one point you just collapse inside or sag and usually you start crying/sobbing and you can’t really concentrate on something anymore… it is as if your mind or your soul is just so heavy and leaves no place for logic; you just are in a state of despair (and at times you don’t even know why). And that’s basically what it’s about: Once you enter that desperation, that bleakness, it’s very, very hard to get out.
It messes with your mind. It doesn’t give you time to compose yourself for longer periods, doesn’t let you think logically. In fact, logic pretty much leaves your life. And all those insecurities you had? On one side they are intensified and on the other side you often feel so irrationally and inexplicably sad and dull that where they would’ve pass as logical reasons for your condition before they just don’t matter that much anymore because you are simply miserable without any sensible reason. (This is very hard to explain, I’m sorry.)
What I thought was the worse of those two was the first one; it’s also the one that has a lasting consequence. A simple example: Usually when I was crying or in a state of self-pity, I instantly chided myself and told myself to stop the foolishness and that I had no reason to cry at all. And that it was weak and stupid of me to do so. But what I couldn’t figure out was if the insecurities I had were justified, or if they were simply caused by me dramatizing them because I’ve always been pathetically melodramatic, or if they were even only dramatized because I was in an unhealthy state (that much I knew, by the way, that something was wrong with me). Basically it’s a vicious circle: Because of my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy and feelings of being misunderstood I never knew whether I could trust my judgements and my thoughts (after all I thought everyone in my environment was simply good when they also had their bad sides that they didn’t feel uncomfortable to act upon, which was a massive blow on my confidence that I could judge properly), which in turn increased my insecurities etc. and leave me in even bigger misery than before.
Of course that’s only the surface of what it means to be mentally unavailable; it’s a condition so complex and multidimensional – there are so many factors more (that my mind likes to suppress) to it and so many ways more in how it has influenced my perception of myself, my world and my life. There are also many more examples of living that way and effects it has on your lifestyle but I think that’s material for another time. I hope at least that I could show you one example (out of millions of different ones) of how it could possibly be triggered and the ways in which its roots start to dig in your heart and mind until you just feel mentally poisoned.
All in all, it just takes reason and logic away from you, increases your insecurities, implants self-doubt in your mind and heart; it’s a wrecked state, a poisoning state and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. (This is coming from me, who was probably comparatively stable as opposed to the people who are so effected they have suicidal thoughts.) All in all, this was simply the story of how the worst 3 and a half years of my life began. (Not that I think they’re fully over yet… I’m just a lot better. Quite a lot better.)
Thanks for reading and until next time,
PS: I’m back from hiatus… I guess?