Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Posts Tagged ‘people

I know I’ve never been great at making friends. In fact, ‘friend’ is really just a word I use for anyone I vaguely get on with, and is far too often used to describe people I haven’t seen in months or years. I know that most people I know would be a bit offended to hear that: that I say “friends” only because it’s difficult and awkward, otherwise, to know what to call people.

I know I can be secretive and unresponsive, hard to know and hard to like. It always sits uneasily on my conscience, when people are open and honest with me, because all my relationships always seem one-sided, with other people letting me get to know them, and me remaining a blank, passive, empty space.

Today, when leaving work, I bumped into a friend. She looked like she was about to cry, and told me she was angry. She said she’d overheard one girl bitching to another about someone else. She said they were judgmental cows, and that she’d shouted “ignorant fuckers” at them. I asked who they were talking about, and she didn’t answer. I asked if it was me. I didn’t really expect it to be – not because I don’t believe people could not like me (far from it) but because I never really believe that anyone outside of those who have to spend day after day with me really knows I exist.

But she said yes.

I told her not to tell me what they’d said. I think that was probably a good idea. I can take a good guess, anyway: it was probably about me being fat and ugly and stupid and annoying. But I don’t want to hear it, and there’s a part of me that’s terrified these unknown people could have found something to hate in me that I haven’t noticed in myself. I don’t think I could cope with another revelation about what a terrible person I am.

I could understand better, I think, if it was someone I knew. Someone I call friend. Because they would really know what I am like, and that could easily give them reason to hate me. But being hated by some people I’ve never even spoken to, that feels like such a loss of control. I feel exposed and vulnerable. I know I’ve sometimes been given to fits of paranoia, becoming obsessed with the idea that people are staring and laughing at me. The idea that everyone secretly hates me. But you’re not paranoid, are you, if people really are out to get you?

I’m trying not to take it to heart. I’ve had Auden’s There Will be No Peace echoing around my brain all evening. It’s been one of my favourite poems for a long time.

I know I should be trying to focus on the positives. The fact that my friend stuck up for me, and that three separate people have told me that if they hear someone bitching about me, they’ll punch them.

But I feel self-conscious. Ever since I started working there, I haven’t felt like this there. I’ve been a bit panicky sometimes, or sad, or awkward, but never terrified of what people think.

I can’t help but feel that, if I’m so instantly detestable, even from a distance, then the people who have to spend a lot of time with me must really be suffering.

Why has nobody told me to stop being such a dick?

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– said a colleague of mine to me earlier, with a raised eyebrow, a grin, and a slightly infuriated tone.

Stop. Wait. Breathe. Assess where I am.

I’m standing up, in the presence of a considerable number of people, only some of whom I know. I’m acting out a hypothetical situation, with the aid of a pair of plastic spoons with faces drawn on them. The entire routine is complete with silly voices that I keep getting mixed up (“…and then – oh no, I’m talking in your voice!” – “That’s still my voice.” – “Ahem. Is that better?” – “That’s not the voice you had two minutes ago!”), and I’m vaguely thinking of – and discussing, via the monologues of a narrator – putting my one-woman (and two-spoon) show on the stage.

People are laughing at me. They’ve been taking the piss all day, a result of our recent Christmas party, in which I never stopped dancing and talking to strangers and posing and saying ever so slightly strange things (not that I’ll admit to the strangeness. Deny, deny, deny, that’s how I do things).

I know I’ve been a bit weird lately. I only slept three hours at most last night, but I haven’t felt any the worse off for it, and I’m still wide awake. I know I’ve been…a little controlling, insisting on helping people and answering their questions almost to the point of taking over completely. I might have been getting people’s backs up at work, setting myself on to solving problems and giving advice when I’ve only been there a couple of months, and I have no authority. I’ve been taking over, doing things for people, because they’re doing them so slowly. People have been commenting on my quick wit, my one-liners, my sharp tongue, and I haven’t really noticed, haven’t felt anything other than exuberant and a little bit twitchy and maybe, occasionally, a little irritable.

I’ve been feeling really good, but little splinters of doubt are appearing. Am I allowed to feel this good? Should I be trying to rein myself in, check what I’m saying, calm down, put the brakes on?

I miss when feeling good was just that. I was starting to get it again, I think. Just settling down to working and talking and making new friends. I was enjoying it (to tell the truth, I still am).

But it seems that no matter where I am, or who I’m with, it comes down to the same thing: complicated eyebrow movements and tentative comments about calming down, puzzled laughter and always being introduced to new people as “the mental one”.

I mean, it’s fine. I can still feel the bubbling giddiness rising inside me. I’m still talking too much, still doing whatever it pops into my head to do. It’s just that now, I am aware.

In a different time and place, alarm bells would be ringing. Somebody would be expressing concern. Someone would be saying, watch out. It’s not normal.

I want it to be normal. I want this to be the way life is. I’ve been feeling good about myself, good about the world. I’ve been feeling invincible. People have been finding me fun and funny, they’ve been making me feel like I’m a good person, but very recently they’ve been seeming wary, stepping back a little. Telling me I’m exhausting, asking if I ever shut up, getting annoyed by my constant stream of activity and conversation. And I want to scream at them, stop ruining this, because if people act like this is normal then it is, it can be, and I don’t have to think about it, and there’ll be no come-down, and maybe I’ll be like this forever, maybe this is the person I’m supposed to be.

I feel alive. It’s like…drugs, I suppose. I’d do anything to keep this feeling.

The past doesn’t seem real anymore. I think about events in my life and they strike me as things that happened to someone else.

I feel like I never went to uni. I talk about it, sometimes, about funny or interesting things that happened while I was there, about the people I knew, and it feels like a dream or a story someone once told me.

And really, I might as well have not gone, hadn’t I? I mean, I know that if I hadn’t, I would have regretted it. I would always be thinking, I could have done that – but I’d be wrong. I know that now. Four years of my life and I can hardly remember most of it, and I’m no longer in touch with the people I knew (what is it people say? The friends you make at university will last a lifetime), and I don’t even have a degree to show for it, letters I can put after my name as proof that I did something, proof that I was there. All I have is a gap in my employment history that to explain would mean to admit failure.

I feel like I’ve betrayed the person I used to be. I think of myself, all those years ago. All the aspirations I had. I was going to write books, or if that didn’t work out as quickly and as successfully as I hoped, I’d become a teacher. I was going to fall in love and be a mother. I was going to have a house of my own, and lots of friends. I was going to achieve something, even if I wasn’t quite sure what.

It’s stupid, isn’t it? Nothing in my life ever gave me any indication that I’d be able to do the things I dreamt of, and since dreaming them life has emphatically proven that I’m incapable.

In a way, I know that I’m being premature. Giving up too early. I’m 22 years old, and there’s still time for any or all of those things. But I can no longer see any of them happening, and I’m not even on the right path anymore. I know that, if this were a story, and I were the hero, I’d be more determined. I wouldn’t give up just because there were obstacles in my way. But it’s a long time since I’ve felt I’m the protagonist in this winding, plotless tale, and I’ve never felt like a hero.

I’ve never known how to try again. I’ve always been someone who tried once and then, on failing, quickly moved on, pretending the thing I’d tried for was worthless. If I fail once, I take it as a sign that I am neither capable nor deserving of success. And by that method I close every door, I cut off every path that’s available to me, and I stand in this same place, unable to move on.

I sit and wait, watching life trickle away, too quickly to change it but too slowly for comfort. I see my life as another thing I’ve tried to do, some task I’ve set myself to. And I failed, so all there is left to do is pretend it doesn’t matter and refuse to try again.

I’m not even sure any of that makes sense.

I don’t even really know how I feel, or what’s happening in my life.

I know that life at home is easy in all the ways that really matter – food on the table and a roof over my head, and I don’t have to worry about money. And I know that life at work is probably better than I had any right to hope for – not too taxing, relatively interesting, and surrounded by people I suppose I get on with.

But home is a struggle, always (and even back when I hoped to become a mother, I wonder if I’d ever be so selfish as to go through with it, knowing that there’s a chance I’d end up like my own, who sees her children as adversaries and inconveniences – lingering unpleasantnesses that she’d hoped to be free of long ago). And at work, there is too much time for chat, and it makes me uncomfortable. Already, I can see their puzzled glances. I’m never who I was the previous week. Everything I say and am seems to contradict everything they already know about me, and they have questions that I don’t know how to answer.

I sit in the dark and cry. I wake too early and fall asleep too late. The mask is in place permanently, and I have no time to be myself, to fall apart, without the fear of discovery. I’d call it a good thing, the enforced routine serving as a crude sketch of a life that maybe one day I will learn to live, but I feel myself becoming exhausted by pretense, and irritable with the people in whose presence I have to pretend.

I feel the weight that pushes down on my shoulders, and I see the walls that pen me in. I force a smile and carry on, and everything twists, and more parts of myself become irretrievable, and every day is another day I’ve lost forever, and another day I get to tick off in the excrutiatingly slow countdown to the end of my life.

It’s all I can do now, sit and wait, having neither the courage nor the energy to either end or change my life.

Wherever I go, whatever I do, whoever I’m with, sooner or later, someone calls me crazy.

I know it probably says less about me than I think it does, and more about the fact that the easiest way to insult someone or make a joke at their expense is to question their sanity. It’s just, it’s always me.

People at work have been commenting.

A month, I’ve been there, and they’re noticing and commenting and questioning.

Okay, I admit it, lately I’ve been a little…boisterous. Tip-tap-tapping away on everything, and talking too loudly and laughing so hard and making jokes and talking to strangers as if we’re good friends, and being…fierce, never backing down, never letting people walk all over me, never accepting anything I have reason to doubt, and doubting it loudly and aggressively.

And people have been commenting. From a confused “I don’t know where I stand with you” to a teasing “you can get help with that”. From a laughing, exasperated “bloody hell, calm down”, to a probing “do you think of yourself as quite stable?” (“Stable as a horse!” I replied, and waited for the – crap – joke to sink in, so we could laugh and I wouldn’t have to think).

I can push away the questions and the comments relatively easily, if a little irritably, at the moment, because I feel strong and alive and energetic (sleeping badly but not noticing the lack of rest, just getting annoyed because I can’t keep still and I can’t switch off and it’s boring, lying around and wondering whether sleep or the ring of the alarm clock will come first). However, I am vaguely aware that I won’t always be so adept at responding to the way everyone so casually says crazy and mad and mental and you act like you’ve got multiple personalities when I’m around.

Nothing

Posted on: April 8, 2010

I nearly said something. To my mum, of all people. She kept talking and talking about the future, about things I will do, and there on the tip of my tongue was, “don’t count on it. I’m not planning on living that long.”

It would have been stupid to say it. I was feeling blank, calm, unemotional, certain, and I didn’t want that to change. If she’d believed me, she probably would have cried. She probably would have held me too close – suffocatingly so. She probably would have made promises and insisted on action and repeated platitudes.

I do not want to be comforted. And I do not want to have to comfort anyone else (because that’s how it goes, isn’t it? I tell someone that I am unhappy and a minute later they’re crying on my shoulder because of how unhappy my unhappiness makes them).

It feels unfair, somehow. To not give any warning. To carry on as normal and then just disappear one day. But to give a warning is to ask for help, and to have to answer questions, and I don’t want that.

I know all the reasons not to die. I just can’t make myself particularly care about them.

This is the part of myself that I don’t talk about much here, which is a bit strange – if you met me in real life it would probably be all you’d see. The thick, impenetrable layer of indifference. The wall between me and the world. The almost complete detachment of me from everyone and everything around me.

I’m not a nice person. Not warm, or friendly. I don’t have any real relationships, even with the people I’m supposedly closest to.

I usually say, if people ask, that I don’t believe in souls. But maybe it’s something that other people have, but I don’t. Other people seem to get on with each other well enough. They seem to love each other, care for each other, and want to share their thoughts, feelings, lives. Most of that stuff doesn’t really make sense to me. I’m just not capable. Maybe I’m not quite human.

I drift through life, never quite connected to anyone or anything. I feel like I have no roots, no connections, nothing to stop me just floating away.

I won’t be missed. I’m sure of that. Maybe people will miss what they have imagined me to be – but if that’s the case, then it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Every moment until I die, whether it be tomorrow or fifty years from now, will be another disappointment. Another moment of proof that I cannot interact, I cannot love, and I cannot make even the most basic of human connections. The longer I live, the more obvious it becomes.

I’m not a proper person. I’m a hollowed-out approximation. A pencil-sketch that can quickly, easily be erased.

Please don’t worry. It’s okay.

Today.

Posted on: January 28, 2009

Today was an improvement.

I got out of bed (which actually wasn’t that hard, as I hadn’t slept. Still haven’t. I’m a bit worried about that, I’ve been sleeping less and less this past week or so, but presumably I will just collapse when I need to sleep – just have to hope it’s not when I have to go to a seminar). Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t know if how I’m feeling now is a sign that I’m getting irrationally angry, or if people really are that infuriating. Read the rest of this entry »


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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