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I have a part of my own brain that hates me. There have been times where I’ve joked that there’s a gremlin living in there and causing havoc. But it’s not just that. When I get too stressed about something, and attempt to bury it, I have a lot of really daft accidents and hurt myself physically. I also tend to torture myself with hypotheticals that will likely never -ever- happen.
Face it, I’m messed up. I’m sure I am very messed up. I do things to myself that I know I’ll regret, and knowing I’ll regret them, take them up anyway.
I call myself names. Not so much, nowadays, but it used to be frequent verbal abuse at myself. I know exactly when it started, too.
It started the very day I started university. Away from High School, away from the typical, likely nypical crowd. Away from the people with the same manufactory year, so to speak.
I had grown so used to verbal abuse from my peers that I continued it on myself. For years.
Wow. That rhymes. I exercised self-deprecating humour for years after I left the toxic morass that is public schooling. I think it’s part of the smart-but-not-that-smart-kid curse, or SBNTS Kid.
I was a pretty smart kid. In an era before Autism was a spectrum, I had better relationships with my teachers than I did with my peers. I knew how to pronounce words by deducing smaller portions. I taught some of my age mates how to use phonics, which was not trotted out as an example of how smart I was, because they were behind “see and say” at the time. I was wrecking the education model.
(Meanwhile, I could copy verbatim from literally anywhere and never get caught on the reading part of the assignment because I’d never pause to ask what a word was. Nevermind that I didn’t do that, regardless… I digress)
I spent thirteen years of my life being told I was worthless, useless, and otherwise valueless. An SBNTS Kid spends their life in the cracks. Those who recognise the brilliance try to help… and everyone else bashes them down. Of course, now I know I have Autism and there’s resources for that, but – they’re there for the next generation. Not me.
I’ve always been the person who proves that the spackle is necessary, folks.
Aside from the verbal abuse thing, I’m also highly anxious. Something I inherited from my Mum, because she’s as anxious as hell. She passed that on to me. The world is out to hurt you. There are no fair shakes. You can’t win, you can’t break even and you can’t get out of the game. Life was cruel, hopeless, and the world was judging you.
I’ve recently written a character as being “eternally afraid of getting a B minus on the report card of life”. That’s me. I hope it’s relatable to others because it would be such a relief to know I’m not alone.
When I stressed out about things, I was perpetually told not to worry about it. People tell me I’m the most prepared person I know. That’s because I don’t like getting stuck without those preparations. That’s a failure, and I hate being a failure.
So… whenever there’s a big event coming up and I’m on the one-person organising committee, I have Accidents. not small-letter accidents, but capital-letter Accidents. Things that could be really horrendous. Things that have nearly killed me.
Before my wedding, I stepped on a double-adapter and sliced my foot open. I could have cut or damaged a tendon, but… I just needed a tetanus shot and some TLC. I went down the aisle with elastoplast in the arch of my foot… This Yulemas past, I tripped on a feature in the house that had been there for literal years and was inches short of splitting my head open on a nearby desk.
I swear, one day, my anxiety is literally going to kill me with these shenanigans. Some stupid, klutzy thing is going to occur because I was stressed about something and then – I’ll never have another worry again. I called it here first.
Back on track…
I also have this overcommitment problem. I give myself too many things to do and I don’t think about how much time my other projects eat. Nor do I think ahead to other obligations (eg: the brat run) eating the time that I had to spare in obligation-free circumstances. Then, when I don’t have the time, the energy, or the wherewithal to do those things, I beat myself up for not being able to do the thing.
It’s endless. I don’t even have a ‘honeymoon’ cycle where I’m nice to myself for a pace of time. I just keep the metaphorical hits coming.
On the plus side, I am aware that this is happening. I can look at my life as it unravels and tell myself to chillax and take things one step at a time. It’s not like I can leave me and go to a shelter or get protection from myself. I have to stop, take a step back, and analyse things for me.
It’s been a rough journey, and there are still times when I get on my case and it almost turns into a visit from the Drama Llama… but most of the time I can pull out before I fall down.
Most of the time.
Talking helps. Seeing a shrink helps. Explaining things to your loved ones definitely helps. So, too, does self-monitoring and recognising one’s own patterns. It’s a journey, and the road is neither straight, nor easy.
I used to hurt myself a lot. Now I stop myself… most of the time. One day, I hope to not hurt myself at all.