Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Defective

I said something the other day, a bit in jest, but realized later that it had some truth to it, actually more truth than I'd like admit. But admit it is what I am about to do. I've become aware that I approach relationships from a position of defect. That is, I feel I am defective. I feel I am a defective person, because of my illness, in comparison to you. And to you, and you, and you... Internally, I feel less than pretty much every person I meet and with whom I interact. Ouch.

That wasn't an easy paragraph to write. I am not proud of this fact. This has been a hard realization at which to arrive. But I wonder if I am alone. I wonder if others can relate. And if you can relate, what have you done about it? This is not an attitude or feeling I want to continue. I'd much rather approach others feeling as if I were an equal.

As I've noted, this is a fresh observation of an underlying belief. I don't think it is obvious to those around me. I think others would be surprised to learn I feel this way. I don't think I act as if I feel less than my friends or coworkers, but feel that way I do. I don't totally understand it myself. I'm not even sure how it impacts my life exactly, but it probably does, right? It's something I'll have to work on, I guess.

Feel free to discuss.

13 comments:

Sunnyscattered said...

Yes I can relate. So much. IN fact you've pretty much described me in a nutshell. What have I been able to do to help myself in this? Right now, I'm in the horrors and nothing I do seems to help. Guilt is also a massive feature. I hope for both our sakes we work this out soon

Anonymous said...

You're not alone. I have avoided romantic relationships because of this belief. I'm not proud to admit it. And I don't know how to change this feeling. This is probably why my depression persists. It can be a lonely and hard place to be in.

TriTrish said...

I also feel this way, and the more people I meet and therapy I work through, the more I learn that most of the world feels this way. Even those closest to us, and they also feel its a big secret. Sad, weird, confusing, uncomfortable -- all those things, but apparently perfectly within the norm of being a human. Most days I feel less than, but so does the guy/gal next to me. Does that make it easier? Sometimes...

Jean Grey said...

I definitely feel this way at times- although less so than I used to. And not just because of the fact of having my illness- but because of the things that I don't have in my life because of it. I missed out on having a family, I don't have the kind of life I thought I would have. I spent years on disability when things were really bad. Now I have a career- but that takes just about everything that I have. I don't feel like I have a full life.

AboutChloeAndMe said...

No you're not alone feeling like that. Will you be surprised when I tell you I read your blog and look up to you? I feel inferior to
everybody (I'm always less smart, less funny, less good-looking/fit, less fun to be around, less knowledgeable, and the list goes on and on...)
I read your blog and I'm amazed at everything you are achieving in your life, your running, working, visiting your friends, etc. I don't / can't do half of what you are doing.

So thank you for sharing with us how you are feeling (did I mention you are much better than me at articulating what you're going through?!). I admire your dedication and honesty.

Irene said...

I agree with what tritrish said. It is my experience also.
So what if you "feel" unequal. Just don't add the shame story. The unequal feeling was painful enough.

..."The psychiatrist Theodore Isaac Rubin forgot the adage, "Healer, heal thyself." That led to a sense of personal failure and depression and he began to berate himself unmercifully. As a trained therapist, he knew that his distress came from an unsustainable sense of perfectionism. "Despite myself," he writes in Compassion and selfhate: An alternative to despair, "I had no mercy for that somewhat confused child I had been and still obviously harboured within myself; and I had even less compassion for the young man I had become." Sorry, I forget where I found that quote but you can google it.

And,

"'Don’t reject your own energy. We are all basically good and so is the energy of our emotions and feelings.
”Nothing has to be rejected except ignorance.” – Pema Chodron.

The point is if so much is written of this inner suffering, many of us are feeling it.

Etta, you're not only "less than" you're incomparable. Equality isn't the question. Competitiveness is not appropriate with your personhood, doesn't even belong there. You're not an object, you're life experiencing.

I'm talking to myself as much as you. And I am questioning my own monster in the clouds. I don't want to just look confident, I don't even want that competition and perfection, precision where it doesn't belong. Judgment needn't dog my every moment when I'm trying to learn and experience and listen to life.

Etta, good luck with it all

etta said...

Thank you all for your thoughts. I had a feeling I wasn't alone in this venue. I appreciate all of your comments, support, and insight. I obviously can relate.

CH said...

Yes, I can totally relate to what you are feeling. Most of my life I have never felt more than average at best, mostly feeling below average in everything. When working I knew that my work ethic and job performance was among the best, but management was always there to let me know how incompetent and worthless I was. This compounded my feeling of being defective. This has followed into my relationship with the woman I love more than anyone in the world. I continue to tell myself that I am not worthy of her love and tell myself on a daily basis I should go the other way.

Therapy has had little effect so far, but I can only continue with it and try to move forward.

Your writings have helped a great deal in understanding some of the issues I am having. You are a blessing to us all. Thank you!

CH

Anonymous said...

Etta,

I have good news! I am NOT depressed anymore! After more than a year feeling down I can say I am pretty much normal! What a great feeling it is! And I hope all of you that visit this blog will soon feel the joy I feel right now, including you, dear Etta! About your question: I felt less when I was depressed... It is just sense of inadequacy, you know. But I think it comes with the disease. As I felt better I started to take more care of myself and interact with people better. I think people started to see me in a better way too. Have hope, better days will come!

Binky Toes said...

Yes, I can relate. Most days it's a struggle. Thinking this way contributes to my social anxiety.

But I am trying to turn it around. The Bloggess Jenny Lawson pointed out that many people she knows who suffer with depression are also more compassionate. I think it's because we're aware of our own failings and that we are able to see it is because we are human.

It is important to realize that almost everyone feels that they're weird or crazy at some point. In my view, those who don't feel that way sometimes are the ones who are actually weird.

I am trying to use this feeling that I am extremely imperfect to my emotional advantage. I mentally separate it from low self esteem. I prefer to think of it as realism. Being self-aware can be used to your advantage. The problem is when it lies to you and tells you that because you are imperfect, you are worthless. This is the opposite of the truth.

Anyway, my boyfriend recently broke up with me. While we mostly got along great, I knew that we were not perfect for each other. Our political views varied greatly and he even experienced his depression in a different way than I experience mine. Obviously I was pretty crushed at first at the rejection, but then I thought about it and realized, "He might find someone he loves more, but no one will ever be perfect for him. No one will ever be perfect for me. That's the nature of humanity. And that's ok."

Stay strong, you guys. <3

Irene said...

No wonder that with depression some treatments were to just get people to "stop" thinking. Not that that was very successful. But they're obviously trying to get us to stop being so violent and abusive with our inner talk.

My heart goes out to all of you.

Irene said...

BE YOUR SHITTY SELF is a book by mark van buren. I just began reading it so i cant say much about it yet.

But i wanted to thank everyone for their honesty and kindness.

Schleprock said...

I feel I am defective. I feel I am a defective person, because of my illness,

I feel this way all the time. It makes it difficult to meet girls. If your ship is listing and about to sink, you cannot really invite anyone aboard.



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