I am my own reality. That might sound redundant, but it’s not. My life is exactly what I’ve created it to be.
Over the years, I have forced myself, along with those around me, to believe what I accept as the truth. One hundred percent subjective. One hundred percent me.
I’m really anything but a textbook case. Perhaps, at the very least, someone else might be able to identify with this feeling of unpredictability.
I was plagued by depression my entire freshman year of college. It was seasonal until it wasn’t.
As the snow continued to disintegrate, my moods only became deeper and more consuming. When the sun finally exposed itself after months of hiding away, I wasn’t quite ready to embrace its warmth.
I was overwhelmed. But, mainly, I was ashamed, trying desperately to hide myself away from my fallen sense of pride.
I’ve always been a prideful person, ever since I can remember. Perhaps, that was truly my biggest weakness.
I’ve never NOT felt the need to be the best, to work until there are simply no more hours left in the day. I’ve always had something to prove. Fundamentally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
Everyone loves to win. Everyone should love to win. But how can you win when you’re only competing against yourself?
On a superficial level, one might have gathered my style of competition as typical, pounding the pavement to earn better grades and accolades than my peers.
But below that thin surface stewed my own disregard for anything I had accomplished.
Real life as others see it wasn’t always the reality I had to face.
If my teachers or classmates were to write down my achievements from high school and the beginning of college, I’m sure you would think I'm insane for ever doubting myself. That's the fundamental issue of depression.
You cannot reason with someone who is depressed. Depression can become an inescapable mindset, a continuous string of low-spirited thoughts that have been repeated so frequently they have become accepted as truth.
There is no disproving these depressive depictions of reality. An observer can only acknowledge it, and hope to help someone see the light.
No matter how many times my parents or family friends told me how impressed they were with my work ethic, I didn't agree.
As long as I think differently, no amount of positive validation I may receive from others will never measure up, at least not now.
I don’t want to be plagued by minor shortcomings I have deemed to be grandiose failures. I want to be able to experience pride and acceptance for myself. The sooner, the better.
If I could snap my fingers to make the pain go away, I would. But I can’t. At least not right now.
I’m trying to get there.
I haven’t always felt this way. I haven’t always been this hard to please. I guess somewhere along the way, I got lost in the swing of things and my functional system of self-approval unraveled.
After being raised in the cutthroat, pressure cooker environment that is Los Angeles, I figured the midwest would be a breeze. It would be a chance to come up for air from all the pressures and unattainably high standards to which I had always held myself.
But, suddenly, the competition that ran inside my bloodstream wasn’t healthy anymore. The first measly sign of defeat that came my way sent me underwater, drowning me in a never-ending current of expected disappointment.
I started expecting the worst in myself, and the worst is exactly what I got. I turned one downfall, which to some might have been just a typical slip up, into a catastrophe.
My potential for even coasting through life and school was suddenly abysmal.
It took me four months of isolation to realize it actually wasn’t my environment at all. It was me.
To all the people I have left behind over the years, and to those I have pushed away because they could never fully understand me: I’m sorry. If it softens the blow at all, I don’t understand myself all that well either.
I am just beginning to explore my inner workings to make them a little less consuming, a little less harsh and a little more accepting.
I may have lost a lot of the pride I once had in myself, but I hope to find it again, some day very soon. One day, I hope my own personal reality and interpretation of life will be interchangeable with the real world.
I can’t wait to be a prideful person once again.