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I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

I can’t seem to get my head on straight.

Just when I think everything is fine, when I know it should be, the negative voices start up in my head. They are an awful collective choir, remnants of the spectres of a broken past. The people who hated and belittled me. The ones who sought to bring me down. They still haunt me. I still hear them.

The terror of losing my job grips me. It fills me with fear until I feel I can’t move left or right for the fear of making a mistake. I dread those emails coming through with negative feedback or telling me I’ve done something wrong. I know I shouldn’t; I know that constructive criticism is the only way to grow. But I do. I fear, and it cripples me.

Those past voices whisper how worthless I am. How my friends will despise and abandon me, as so many did. That my boss hates me and is laying the foundations to get rid of me, as one did before. That colleagues at work think of me as stupid and useless. I can’t silence them, as they are voices from my past. They don’t represent what could happen, but what has.

I’ve had a small insight into how mean and wicked people can be, and I fear it’s coming to dominate my present.

I fear rejection.

I fear loneliness.

I fear financial insecurity.

What’s wrong with me that I can’t just function?

I admire my friend Marina so much. She always says to prepare for the worst so you’re pleasantly surprised by anything better. She says that I must remove dependence on how other people – managers, friends, colleagues – see me. She says that there must be a safe space inside where you are strong by just being you.

I meditate. I exercise. I try to focus on the positive, I really do. But sometimes I just can’t. Sometimes the black gates open and I cannot find my way out.

Today at lunch I went to the park and sat on a bench. I needed to be away from machines, from people. I needed to be by myself and away from the awful pressure. Whether it’s put on my shoulders by me, someone else or just this job I’m no longer sure. I sat and watched a man throw a ball for his small, white dog. It ran to catch the balls so gleefully, it made me smile. Then I found I was crying. The man and his dog looked so full of pure happiness, so full of innocent diverted pleasure, that it made me said. Somewhere, I think I’ve forgotten how to be happy. That sounds ridiculous, and it probably is, but I can’t remember how to just find contentment with life. I’m always striving for a set of goals I can’t even see, with a team I hardly know beyond Skype calls, messaging and talking with people I’ll never meet.

The scariest part is that I don’t know how to find my way back. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, travelled through the looking glass, and I don’t know how to return to how I was before. Where I looked forward to my everyday. Where I enjoyed the life I had. Where I didn’t feel like a puppet on a set of strings dancing to somebody else’s tune. When I felt like I had control of my own life.

I can’t silence the voices of my past. Those horrible girls in high school who tormented me. The teachers who took delight in confusing and humiliating me. The friends who hurt and betrayed me. The managers who had me fired. Together, they come upon me and I can’t make them go away.

The only thing that makes them truly leave is when I’m  lost in one of the fantasy stories I love so.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go or what my next step in any walk of life is.

All I know is that here, now, in this moment, I am deeply, deeply unhappy.

 

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