The Identity Thing

I think of that chicken or the egg theory and which one came first. Was it the chicken or was it the egg?
In all honestly, I never really think of the chicken or the egg. At least, not exactly. More to the point, I think about this when it comes to situations in the mind.
I think about me and my own dilemmas. As far as I know, nobody ever asked to have bad things happen. They just happen. But if in some cases, there is a reason

There is something called contributory negligence. For example, let’s set the stage like this; we are driving in a car. We are driving safely, not speeding; not trying to swerve or change lanes like it’s a race to the finish line. Through no fault of our own, we find us in a car accident. Unfortunately, we are injured. And unfortunately, although we were safe, we were not wearing our seat belt.

Let’s say we take on physical damage. Let’s say we lose income because of our injuries so we sue to collect for medical expenses and loss of wages.
In the civil courts (or so I’ve been told) there is something called contributory damages, which basically means that yes, we sustained damage because of an accident that was not our fault. However, we would not have sustained this kind of damage if we buckled our seat belt. This is an example of contributory negligence.

I am not sure if I am who I am because of how I behave, ( and here’s the chicken or the egg thing) or if I behave how I behave is because of who I am.  I know that I never asked for bad things to happen. But they still do. However, there are times when I can see my own share of contributory negligence.

Identity is huge in life. The age old question of who am I is lifelong. And so it should be.
In my search, however, and during weaker moments; during times when I was not at my best and had a misunderstanding of my own personal value and when I questioned my worth the most, I can see how my responses and behaviors perpetuate the unfortunate outcomes of my past.

I was never sure if it was me or the rest of the world. I was never sure if it was a question of bad luck or no luck at all. But when I hit troubled times financially, I looked around and wondered how this happened. I wondered why, but I never looked at the way I handled my personal finances. I never took inventory of my personal shares of impulsiveness. I never saw my spending as a response to something emotional.

When relationships turned sour or when arguments exploded into all-out war, when divorce happened —or wait, back up even further, when bad relationships began, but yet, I held on for whichever reason I tried to rationalize, I never saw my place in this.

Socrates said, “The predicament is in our mind.”
This is my favorite quote from Socrates.

“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

I admit to my fears of change. I admit to my fears of the unknown to what’s to follow. I do not see a point in pretending or speaking out to “Sound good,” so to speak. Instead, I speak my thoughts honestly to stop the momentum and hear their inaccuracies and childishness.

I have had big classroom discussion to which there is always someone looking to give a “Best foot forward,” kind of answer, which I love. And yes, the answer is true. And yes, intellectually it all makes sense. However, I see no point anymore in denying the honesty of the emotional thought. Sometimes the best foot forward answer is not a possibility because, put simply, we are not at our best.

So what do we do then?
How do we get out of our own minds when we feel less than or below standard?
How do we change when we doubt or abilities and how can we feel better when we don’t believe this is even possible?

We are creatures of habit. We are a series of daily routines and simple rituals. We act and we respond. We are a compilation of experience and a combination of thought, feeling, and behavior.

In my experience with contributory negligence, I can trace this back to my biggest misconceptions of self. I trace this to my fears or like Socrates says: The predicament was in my mind

When I was least healthy, I reacted. When I was frightened, I behaved in fear. And when I was hurt or when I was angry, I responded out of pain and anger. In fact, I built an image and a series of behaviors to protect and insulate each of the above.
My vision was distorted by my thinking.  In order for me to see clearly, I needed to remove the subconscious programming that blurred and muted the colors of what I saw.  I needed to remove the personal biases that blocked my view.
But how?
What do I do?

The truth is I have always wanted to be better but in all honesty, I have grown accustomed to my defects. I understand what private pain is. I know what it feels like to suffer from secrets. I know what it means to fall into a series of compulsions that allow for moments of temporary relief; only to find myself in worse shape afterwards. This is why I call what I have a self-destructive response disorder (I say this about addiction, alcoholism, depression, and all the other labels I was programmed to take)

I certainly know what depression is. I know what my relation to anxiety is. I know what it feels like to be uncomfortable in my own skin, to feel, think, and believe that I am ugly, less than, stupid, and I know what it feels like to believe I am unremarkable, unnoticed, and unwanted. And none of them feel good. But I understand these things; therefore, I have grown accustomed to living with these thoughts.

Please keep in mind; this is just honesty about my defects of character.
I AM NOT PUTTING MYSELF DOWN!  
In fact, by speaking openly, I find that I gain a sense of personal redemption. I do not nurture the symptoms, however. Instead, I nurture the solution by speaking out.

By sharing honestly, I have been able to find a sense of freedom from my own emotional bondage. By speaking out about my thoughts in my head, just to say them out loud, just to release them or to shout them if need be; I find a better personal relief.

I have learned that I cannot share this openly with everyone. This is why I leave myself here, with you, as someone I can trust because this way, I can be empowered and no one can hurt me with this.

The thing about my identity and the struggles of letting go is the fear of change and loss of comfort because with all my heart; I truly believe temporary can become permanent, complicated becomes trustworthy and simple after a while, and pain and disappointment can be very dependable, so long as we contribute to it.

Tomorrow, I begin a new chapter in my efforts towards self-improvement. I am going to learn about new methods to deal with medically resistant depression.
I am partly afraid, partly nervous, partly excited, partly sad, and partly cautious to be optimistic. It’s not that I don’t want to feel better.
I do want to feel better.
I want to be better.
I can say that I have done great things in my life. But I want to do more. I want to be more. I want to be me to my best possible ability.
I am not someone that struggles or suffers from depression. I live with it, which means my depression does not dictate or determine my life. That job belongs to me.

In all honesty, I call out my fears.
Who will I be without these dependable discomforts?
What do I do?

Sounds silly, right?
Well, it might be silly.
But so what . . . I’d rather call this out than stuff it and let the feelings fester inside.

As I write to you, my eyes are leaking a little bit. And I’m not crying out of pain. I’m crying out of relief. I cry because there are people who cannot cry. I cry because I have hope, which is what contradicts my depression and allows me to step forward every day and openly show myself—

To you . . .

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