I used to hate myself. Pessimistic judgemental. I hated to try new things and had crippling social anxiety. I was depressed and lonely.
Now I am not.
I feel that it is important to tell you this, as I know how many people feel this way and battle with depression.
Everyone’s journey is different, but it all revolves around change. Learning does not look like doing it perfect when you first begin to practice. I say this often. Not because I am saying it.. But because I live it.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, self hatred.. it isn’t a character defect. It can change. Seek help. Accept that it will take time, be uncomfortable, feel hopeless. It is like physical therapy. Like learning how to read, like recovering from a bad illness, like going through chemotherapy. It is about learning and about recovery and sometimes it is about medication.
For me the dislike of myself began in third grade. I did not choose to try and change until my oldest was born when I was 26, and I did not gain much foothold until I was nearly 30.
Other people may have an even longer pattern to break, or their journeys may start at a much deeper and darker place than mine.
For a while I clung to a part of a song by Massive Attack:
“Your mind can never change
Unless you ask it to
The thoughts that make you blue
The things that bring you down
Will mean no harm to you
And so make your choice joy
The joy belongs to you ”
I needed help to lovingly rearrange my thoughts. For me, the help came in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy. For others they may find that they need medication to help change the chemical balance in their brains. Brain chemistry can be like a drug all on its own. When your chemistry is off you experience things that are not real. This isn’t you. This is a chemical that either should not be there or that is missing. It is no different from reflux or a vitamin deficiency.
Joy is not a thing that I have possessed for my entire life. It is something that I hunted, that I found, and that I tend to lovingly.
And it is beautifully real.