Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Self-sabotage

Posted on: October 28, 2013

I won an award at work. A big one. I get a pretty trophy and a not-insignificant cash prize. Everybody clapped and cheered and stamped their feet, hugged me and kissed my cheek and told me how well-deserved it was. “If it hadn’t been you, I’d have had to complain.” Even people I don’t really know, coming up to me and shaking my hand and praising me.

My brain is working overtime, telling me how this is all a mistake. They must all be waiting for me to walk away, then turning to each other, bewildered expressions, asking how I managed to trick people into doing this for me. Asking each other, “Who is she? What’s she done?”, and no-one can provide an answer. They probably just pulled my name out of a hat or something.

I can’t stop this hatred that whirs around inside my mind. Other people are more deserving. It’s blind luck, or pity, or something. Anything but merit.

I can’t take compliments. If you say something nice about me, I have to ignore it or dispute it or turn it into a joke. And this is a huge compliment. It needs qualifying, it needs explaining out of existence. I would be so much more comfortable if they just said, “Anyone could have won”, if they attributed it to random factors or just anything other than me.

If I hadn’t won, I’d have felt like a failure, then felt guilty at the arrogance that involves. But when I found out I’d won, there was no joy or triumph or thrill of pleasure, just blankness, before the self-hatred kicked in.

Now there will be photos of me at work, holding the award, shaking hands with important people who’ve never seen me do my job, captions saying I won and everyone will be able to talk about it and question it and bemoan the injustice that they or their favoured person missed out. Pictures of me, awkward, with champagne-blurred eyes, wearing a dress that would look better on someone half my size.

I smiled and said “thank you”. I wish I could leave it at that, but I keep picking at it like a scab. I can’t let it lie, I want to tell everyone it’s not deserved, give them my alternative shortlist of people who deserved it more than me. I want to give the fucking thing back. 

If someone at work says “well done” to me, for doing one small thing, my eyes look away and my jaw tenses and I get on with doing something else. It makes me uncomfortable. I want to say: if I’m doing a good job, just leave me alone. You only need to give me your evaluation of my performance if I’m doing something wrong. I don’t thrive on praise, I don’t seek kind words. I want to slip under the radar.

It’s an honour to win. But it feels false and unjustified and like a lie. 

I can’t accept the praise or recognition. I need to qualify it, negate it, talk it out of existence.  I know I am impossible to please. I know I am ungrateful. I know my mind is a disaster.

Why can’t I just let a nice thing be nice?

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Hello

My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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