Confession time. And this is a tough one, so I understand if you’re uncomfortable reading this. But it’s important, and it’s not talked about often enough.
I live with my own worst enemy. She exhausts me, ridicules me, and steals my passion. She starves me or makes me binge-eat. She makes me paranoid. And I can’t just move away or go to the police.
Because my enemy lives in my brain. I live with depression and anxiety. While the depression fluctuates, the anxiety is always right there, in everything I do. Oh, and it’s general anxiety and social anxiety. Social anxiety is fabulous for trying to sell myself to strangers (not.)
And yes, it has a female voice. Maybe because I was bullied by girls while growing up. Or maybe it’s a version of my voice, I’m not sure. I call her the Mean One. My other thoughts have their own voices, but they’re smaller. The Mean One is loud and pushy, and she tends to overwhelm the other voices. I can keep the worst things she says bundled up in the back of my head, but it’s like cheesecloth. If I poke it, her venom leaks out. And I have to keep stuffing new things into the bundle all the time.
She is the biggest road block in my business. Well, to everything, really. But this post is about my business, so let’s stick with that.
(I’m not writing this in a bid for sympathy. I don’t want people to buy my jewelry because they feel bad for me. I want people to buy my jewelry because they love it and want to wear it. I’m writing this because mental illness is lonely and business is hard. I know there has to be someone else out there who’s running a business, or wanting to start one, but who’s held back by mental illness of their own. I’ve never been one to start the conversation about this, but I’m struggling to find one to join. I’m tired of feeling so alone. So…I’m starting the conversation.)
One of the things she likes to latch onto is all the entrepreneur books and articles that say a successful business person has to be driven, focused, confident, willing to take risks…she likes to point out that I’m none of those things.
I could have finished so many things if I only applied myself. But she likes to make things look big and scary and outside my skillset. “It’s easier not to do it at all,” she says. “You can’t fail if you don’t start.” So I find reasons to give up or to delay starting. It’s too cold to take pictures outside. I should find a better source for steel beads and chain before I try moving into wholesale. No one’s going to buy it or like it or see it, anyway. It doesn’t matter.
When I have a lot of things to do, she likes to talk quickly. So quickly that her phrases overlap. That’s why I like writing lists…provided I don’t get distracted while writing said lists. I literally have sat down to write a list, written down one or two items, and then shot up to start working on one of said items…only to realize I was working on a list and sit down again. Rinse and repeat. She really loves my rare bursts of energy.
Let’s not go too deep into my lack of confidence. That’s a whole book in itself. And I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to unwrap this unappetizing nugget. I think I was confident when I was really young…but I was first diagnosed with depression at age eight, so who knows. But she loves picking on me. About everything. My weight, my hair, my jewelry, everything. And she deflects any compliments people pay me by building a high, thick wall of all the things I suck at.
And as for taking risks…nope, those are scary. I am intensely proud of myself when I do manage to work up the courage to do something, to push myself, but nothing good has really come from any of it. She likes to remind me of past failures to keep me from trying again.
All of it comes together into this low background chant that says nothing matters anyway, so why bother? It’s easier to just…sit on the couch and watch Netflix for hours, because then at least I don’t have to face rejection in person.
Trying to manage all this while still presenting as neurotypical is exhausting. I do have a bit of determination, I guess. I want to get my life in order.
I am getting help for my mental illness, but it’s not an easy process.
So far, the meds either haven’t done much good, or they raised my heart rate by 20bpm in a week and gave me the shakes so bad that I couldn’t work and gave me insomnia, or they made me so woozy that I felt unsafe on stairs. The current ones are hell on my stomach. And apparently, taking the medication after eating is not good enough, gotta be meds first; I’ve been snacking on plain white bread after puking up today’s dose. And therapy is hit or miss. I know I should be doing things. I just…can’t do them.
Not really looking forward to dealing with crowds tomorrow without proper dosages of my medication. So if you see me tomorrow looking a little vacant or scared…this is why.
Anyway, I’ve probably wasted enough time on this. I do have to prep for the Witchery Market tomorrow. There’s tons more I could talk about, so maybe I’ll work up enough courage to write another post.