I understand this will not be suitable for everyone. Then again, this is not written for everyone. This is not even written for anyone in particular. Perhaps this is just for me or not at all. Either way, there are some that can attest to this. There are some who relate and some who understand. There are some who think or have felt this way too; and to them, this is something that makes sense.
There are different marks of recovery. There are different reasons why people at some point, rise up and walk away from their former self. And, quite honestly, in the beginning is a moment of awareness. In the beginning are the countless thoughts and fears that seem unrelenting.
I cannot say what this looks like for anyone else. I cannot explain anyone else’s life. I can only explain mine. I can only act as the narrator of my own truth, which could possibly be untrue and instead, this might only be a version or perception of myself, which I had longed to let go of. But yet, I didn’t know how.
For a minute, I want to put aside all the “Book smart” language and skip the clinical terms, which the critics love to interject. Instead, I want to reveal something.
Is it painful? Yes.
Attractive? Perhaps not.
Is this humbling? Absolutely.
Does this make me vulnerable?
Does this reinforce my struggle with impostorism?
Does this trigger my fears with fraud syndrome and trick me into believing that I am nothing more than a fake; that anything I’ve done or accomplished, or that anything I have achieved is merely plastic and translates that I am incompetent, inefficient and insufficient?
With all my heart, yes.
I live with self-doubt. It is hard for me to understand or celebrate my skills or competency. I struggle with ideas that put down my performance. I am afraid that I will never live up to (or reach) my best levels nor will I live up to expectations.
I am afraid. I deal with disappointments. In the past, I have sabotaged myself to match my belief system. In fact, any success I’ve had (at least in my mind) has always been accredited, attributed or applied to an outside source. In which case, I mean nothing was ever because of me but always because someone or something helped me.
By the way, impostorism or imposter syndrome is something extremely common. In fact, studies show that 70% of people will struggle with or experience these symptoms. However, as common as this is, depression is equally common. Suicidality is also common. Anxiety is common and so are the varying emotional challenges we go through in life.
Life is a bitch. And that’s the truth sometimes. But no matter how common something is; when you’re in this by yourself, the lights are out, and there’s no sound to drown the silence – the world can be a lonely place.
There is nothing wrong with the quiet . . .
It’s just our interpretation. This is what changes the quiet and designs the dark.
There’s nothing wrong with the silence or the lack of sound. One could say that we hear things best this way, in the dark, when there’s no distractions and nothing around to interrupt our thoughts.
In fact, we can hear everything now. Or is this the problem?
Is it the quiet stir of nothingness?
Is it the moment when the world settles and all we hear is that high-pitched ring in our ears? All else is void of sound.
Is this when the thought machine begins?
Is this where the exaggerations take us from one place to the next?
We think too much. The thought machine goes from operational into tilt.
Perhaps it could be that when it’s quiet, there is no way to hide from the truth. There’s no way to stop the whispering ideas that creep in, like tiny little bullies that we can’t see but only hear.
The quiet comes and there is no way to disguise the voices in our thoughts. Or, more accurately, maybe we fear the quiet because we know about the thoughts that come. Maybe this is the kid in us, hiding like a child because there’s a spanking coming when daddy comes home.
There is nothing wrong with the silence. It’s not the quiet that gets us.
Not at all.
It’s not the silence the same as there is no reason for us to fear the dark.
It’s just the void; it’s the unknown and the unseeable that scares us.
It is the true humility that proves one thing above all, which is that we are all vulnerable. Yet, we disguise this. We hide this because of course, we can’t let anyone see.
This is the truth.
But what is the truth anyway?
Well, one could say the obvious truth is we all have fears. We all have cracks and crevices and breaks in our façade, which we hope that no one will ever see or notice (because then they’ll know).
There are fears of being publicly shamed and humiliated and then what?
The rest of the world will see us as stained, unremarkable and unwantable.
Is this it?
Where does the shame come from?
Why do we reach to a level of judgment upon ourselves?
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain has more meanings than it does in the movie The Wizard of Oz.
There is someone different within us all.
My friend teaches me. “Kill the boy,” he says.
He tells me to “Let that boy go,”
I have fear in me. That’s the boy.
I don’t know if I agree with the word kill in this suggestion. And there are different reasons for me saying so. However the boy, I understand him. I understand the boy in me very well. In fact, I know him on a first name basis.
To each of us is a core. There is a person within. There is someone beneath the layers of personality that we have compiled and acquired throughout the years. We have done this with reasons of our own; to hide ourselves, to act as a mask when nights are lonely or scared, and to wear in layers of defense mechanisms, which we have worn and learned to use since early youth. In fact, some of our oldest shields have been with us since the age of potty training (or perhaps even before).
There is a saying: I have wanted to run away more as an adult than I ever did as a kid.
There is a reason for this. And the reason is very simple.
The reason is we are adults for much longer than we are a child. The reason is the pressures keep mounting. Life keeps happening. The ground can open up sometimes.
The emotional quicksand is the same as trying to run from danger in your dreams. For now, we can call this Dream Feet. Ever experience this?
Dream feet is when you try as you might and run as hard as you can, but somehow, you can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other. Your legs are like rubberized glue adhered to the floor. Life can be this way too. Sometimes there’s just no running. Sometimes the ground seems to swallow you up. Sometimes the emotional quicksand makes you sink faster the harder you try to break free. In most cases, sometimes the mind lies and tricks us to believe in things that are not really there.
I am 21 days away from waking up to an accomplishment that took me 10,958 days to reach. That’s 30 years of work for me. I am 21 days away from an anniversary that is a much older than a far shorter career of substance and alcohol abuse disorder.
I am 177 months and approximately 768 weeks, and 5,376 days since the day I was in an apartment alone, drowning in my own sad self. I was lost to say the least. I was alone. I was armed and ready to go. There was nothing around to drown my thoughts. There was no way for me to hide from the facts. I found myself in the middle of a mournful supplication. I found myself weeping and pleading to God or to whomever would listen. I could not live my life this way. Not anymore. Either I die or I stood. one or the other. Either way, I had to choose. I was there in the silence. It was quiet. It was sad. I was hurting and yet, I am here and alive to report this.
The fact remains that suicide happens. The fact remains that depression is common but yet, no one dares to express themselves or talk about their so-called “Weaknesses.” No one dares to step forward because there is a stigma abound.
Recovery should never be shamed. Nor should anyone’s story of recovery be silenced or put down in any regard.
The mind can be one of two things. We can either be our own worst enemy or our own best friend. Simply put, the choice between the two is life saving.
By the way, imposter syndrome?
Yep, that’s me too.
The difference is that imposters lie about who they are.
And me, I’d rather be honest:
To disprove my demons
To quiet the beast
To celebrate 30 years of something I never thought was possible