On living the stereotype of psychotic bitch

I have borderline personality disorder.  That was a pretty hard statement to make in public.  It’s been a year since I was first diagnosed, and a decade since I realised that something was very, very wrong with how I experienced the world, and yet I still find it hard to come to terms with the fact that I have one of the most terrifying disorders in the world.

I’ve had to wonder what makes it so hard for me to admit to having my personality disorder.  I’ve been able to be open about my depression, my anxiety, my bouts of psychosis (for months I was friends with a girl named Alia until the psychosis wore off and I realised she was just an auditory hallucination… the delusions are even more fun – by which I mean heartbreaking…), but admitting that I’m borderline seemed insurmountable.  It took the destruction of one of my romantic relationships before I could publicly acknowledge in any real way the extent to which my personality disorder pervades my everyday existence.

The obvious answer: I’m afraid to admit to myself that I have BPD because I’m afraid I’m going to be just like my abusive mother.  But that fear exists anyways; abuse survivors are more likely to grow up to be abusers.  The perhaps less obvious answer… There’s a fairly common trope in TV dramas and things like that of a girlfriend/wife (and it’s almost always a woman) being unreasonable.  Obsessively clingy, almost psychotically accusatory, mercurial… You know the type.  I’ve been in enough social justice circles to have seen that trope torn apart as sexist and unrealistic.  And it’s hard to admit to myself, and even harder to admit to anyone else that that’s me.  That I have so little sense of self that being alone is intolerable, that I have to have someone around me because my own perception of myself is defined by the perceptions of people around me (I can only love myself if I’m surrounded by people who love me, etc).  That I experience sudden, rapid, intense mood swings, deliriously happy one moment, furious the next and then intensely depressed.  That the emotions I experience are unbearably intense; I wear myself out letting myself feel anything at all.  That the slightest thing (an almost imperceptible yawn, a glance at a clock, the weather…) can send me spiraling into rage/sadness/terror.  The slightest hint of abandonment and I’ll crash.  The slightest hint of affection, and suddenly I’m ecstatic.  That when someone makes an offhand comment, or even chooses a less-than-appropriate word to use in a particular statement, I might be sent into a panic, fearing that the other person secretly hates me, and I’ll end up doing something drastic to stop the abandonment from happening (often, by trying to be the first person to leave: declaring that I hate the other person, insisting that I’m going to run off and kill myself, etc… For some people, this can manifest as accusing the other person of cheating etc, and thankfully I haven’t gotten to that point yet).  That I sometimes get into a strange almost surreal state, where I do incredibly self-destructive or dangerous things (taking a late night walk through an unfamiliar place where there have been known bear encounters, walking down the median of the road, stepping into traffic – these are all actual real-life things I’ve done on more than one occasion).  That most of the time I’m not actually as in-control of my behaviour as I’d like to be.  I’ve thrown the most humiliating public temper-tantrums as a 19 year old… and no matter how awful I feel afterwards, the next time I’m confronted with unbearable frustration, I can’t stop myself from doing it all over again, even when I think of the humiliation of the last temper tantrum I’ve thrown.

When people see the psychotic bitch trope on TV, they laugh at it.  When I see it, I internally cringe, because that’s the reality of the life that I’m forced to live.  I have to live with the constant terror that something tiny will set me off and I’ll lose control of my behaviour again, and end up feeling like I’m watching myself from outside of my body again as I end up doing something that even in the moment I know I don’t want to do.

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Just a Few Thoughts Bouncing Around in My Head

I’ve just finished my exams (that’s why I’ve been gone for so long that I ran out of scheduled posts).  Oddly enough, I actually feel worse now than I did during my exams, as stressful and awful as they were.  I have no idea why.  Anyways, I just wanted to write about a few things I’m starting to realise/question:

1. I’ve known I am asexual for a while, but I always considered myself to be hetero-romantic.  I’m having complicated feelings for a girl, and that’s making me question my romantic orientation.   I might be biromantic or panromantic.  I’m not sure about that yet, though.  I guess I’ll see what happens.

2. My therapist thinks that obsessive compulsive disorder might be a reason for my symptoms.  I’ve been provisionally diagnosed with ADHD.  Neither diagnostic label seems to fit me particularly, well, though, and reading about the experiences of people with either OCD or ADHD have really convinced me that I most likely don’t have them.  I’ve been considering the possibility that I might be autistic.  The more I talk to people who are autistic and read about their experiences, the more convinced I am that my life finally makes sense.  I spoke to my mother, and she says that she can see that I might be autistic.  I’m pretty convinced that I am autistic, and I think I’m reasonably confident in self-diagnosing myself as autistic.  I’m currently trying to consider the advantages and disadvantages of professional diagnosis.  On one hand, it would be nice to deal with the self-doubt I have about my self-diagnosis and I might want support and assistance at university, but on the other hand, I’m concerned about the very real consequences about having a label like that attached to me.  It’s a difficult decision, and one I’m going to take a while to carefully consider before I do anything.

3. Superficial vs actual insecurities.  I realised that some of my insecurities are things I genuinely believe (for example, that I’m overly sensitive and have deficient social skills), but some of the insecurities are things that logically I know are not true, but I am somehow insecure about anyways (for example, that I’m bad at chemistry and that I’m fat).  I find it interesting that I can believe that I’m not good enough in some areas even though I have sufficient evidence to logically show that I am not, in fact, as bad as I believe myself to be.  It’s strange.  My brain is weird.

4. I’ve had depression for about three years.  I’m wondering if I might have psychotic depression.  Not that it would actually make any kind of a difference at this point.  I’m just wondering.

5. Recently, I’ve been having a recurring thought.  I keep thinking of a needle in my heart, and all the blood draining out until I die.  I have no idea why on earth I’d be thinking of that since I absolutely hate needles (despite being 17 and a half, I still act like a 3 year old when it comes to having blood drawn).  I guess more evidence that my brain is weird.

Suicide

Read the title again.  This could potentially be upsetting.  [Slightly, you may or may not want to read this.  You know me offline, and you might not want to know this about me.]

A classmate of mine attempted suicide in Spring 2013.  A friend of a friend committed suicide a week and a half before Christmas.

One would think that after seeing the shock, the confusion, the guilt and the pain experienced by the people I would be completely put off the idea of suicide, and yet, in my darkest moments, I’ve come closer to actually doing it than I feel comfortable with.

A lot of the bookmarks on my web browser have to do with suicide.  I’ve made two detailed suicide plans (one as a backup in case the first one fails), right down to where I’d get the materials I need.  I have in my phone text history, a series of text messages sent between me and a friend written at a time when I thought that the pain of dying of asphyxiation over the course of a week was preferable to the pain of living my life.  Might I note that at this point in time, the reason why I felt life was not worth living was basically that I had written something rather stupid and someone I respected had seen it, and a dog I liked had died (and I couldn’t find a photograph of the dog that I was looking for).  Each of the factors on their own would have been manageable, but given who I am, that pretty much set me up for failure right then and there.

I look back at that now and think of how ridiculous it was to want to die so badly over something so small, and yet even now, I have moments where I find myself going over my suicide plans again and again, wanting to be released from the pain of living in this world.  People often like to tell suicidal/depressed people that things will get better.  I always find that difficult to believe.  I already have everything I could have ever hoped for, and yet it’s still not enough for me to want to live.  I don’t know why.  I wish I did, so that I could stop this.  Deep down, I don’t want to kill myself.  I don’t want to feel like death is the best option for me.  But I do, sometimes.  It scares me.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about suicide a lot.  For the past week, nearly every day, I’ve hit a point where I have seriously entertained the notion of harming myself (although I know that I’m most likely not going to make an attempt on my life).  When I was hospitalised, the first thing that I thought of was that after I was released, I might be able to use the pain meds to commit suicide (a subsequent check of the chemicals showed that they’re not actually suitable for suicide).  Thinking of the pain that I might cause to others if I committed suicide used to be enough to persuade me that it wasn’t a good idea, but it’s getting increasingly hard to believe that anyone would actually be upset.  I honestly believe that most of the people I care deeply about dislike me and I even think that my parents would be ambivalent about my death and move on quickly (even though logic tells me that this is most likely not true) because I’m slowly losing touch with reality.  Now the only thing that can reliably make me consciously choose to live is the knowledge that there’s a pretty good chance I won’t make it and I’ll wake up knowing that as much as I fail at life, I also fail at death, and I don’t know if I could deal with surviving a suicide attempt.

I don’t have a point I’m trying to make, I’m just trying to vent my emotions, really.  This is about as bad as things get for me, and I’m not always this insane.  [Slightly, if you’ve read this far, I’m sorry.  It’s extremely unlikely that I’ll do anything, so you don’t need to be worried about me.]

What Lies Beneath the Surface

I had a rather nice, honest discussion with a classmate about my depression the other day.  Most of the time, when I talk to people about my depression, I’m told that I’m just being a special snowflake and I don’t really have it (my father, most notably, although he has subsequently apologised for this, and admitted he primarily does it because he finds it difficult to accept that I’m struggling with something that he himself struggles with and finds incredibly difficult to live with…after all, nobody wants to see their children suffer) or I’m told to just do [thing] (my brother told me that he had depression but recovered by changing his lifestyle…and told me that I should just do the same…except it doesn’t work that way).  What made my discussion with the classmate so special was that this classmate just accepted that what I told him was true, and believed my version of my own experiences instead of trying to tell me that his interpretation of my life was more accurate.  At some point in the discussion, he mentioned that I don’t look depressed (without invalidating my experiences at all!) and that it must be hard for me because people don’t really realise, but I still struggle.

I’ve been told many, many times that I don’t look depressed.  After a rather difficult incident at school at the end of last year, I had to take some time off school because I couldn’t cope with my classmates’ reactions.  When I returned, a lot of people indicated that they were surprised because I’d always seemed so okay.  Even my therapist doesn’t fully understand my life, because I’ve always been told not to show emotion, and after years of having my emotions invalidated, I act okay even when I’m not, even without thinking about it, sometimes.  So yes, I don’t look depressed.  That doesn’t mean I’m not depressed, though.  I have struggled with depression for the past 3 years and very few people know (although I’m trying to be more open about it now).  So what lies beneath the surface?  What aren’t people seeing?

I’m not a person who cries much, but things lately have been getting too much for me.  Last night, I was crying alone in my room and my father happened to walk by and see me.  He had to hold me for 20 minutes while I couldn’t stop crying.  My mother saw, as well, and was so terrified that she offered to let me go horse-riding after the exams (this has been an ongoing battle… my parents didn’t want to let me ride).  When she made that offer, despite the fact that I was finally getting offered a chance to do something I’ve always had to fight my parents for, I wasn’t ready to take them up on the offer because when I’m depressed, no matter what I do, I don’t enjoy it (fancy medical term is anhedonia), and I didn’t feel like I wanted to go horse riding.  That’s my depression.

I think about suicide nearly every day.  I don’t want to.  The thoughts scare me, but I can’t make them go away.  I’ve made several detailed plans for suicide.  I’ve had thoughts that go something like “I want to commit suicide the day the IB exam results come out, even if I do well”.  I chose to accept an offer from a university that doesn’t require a deposit so that if I commit suicide, my parents can save money.  That is a truly awful way to pick a university to attend, but that was my reasoning.  That’s my depression.

I don’t believe the love anyone else has for me.  Even when someone stayed up talking to me past midnight when I was in the hospital until the nurse came with pain medication and I could finally sleep, I believed that person disliked me.  When someone tells me that another person likes or respects me, I always believe that the person is lying.  Even when someone tells me themselves that they like or respect me, unless I’m having a particularly good self-esteem day, I believe that person is lying.  I’ve had days where I felt like the love and care shown to me by my best friends and family has been part of some massive joke that they’re all playing on me.  That’s my depression.

On the surface, I look happy.  Most people wouldn’t suspect that I struggle with mental illness, unwanted suicidal thoughts, self-injury or anything else.  My life looks picture-perfect.  Generally good grades (at least in the past…this year I’ve been too depressed to study or turn in homework a lot of the time and my grades have suffered), supportive parents and I always have a smile ready…but that’s not my depression.  My depression is what lies beneath the surface.

Careers and Decision Making

I know I’ve posted about this before and honestly not that long ago, but since I’m a high school senior, this is something that I’m being forced to consider and something that I feel a great deal of anxiety about.  I continue to find it absolutely ridiculous that in the eyes of the law, I am not considered mature enough to decide who I wish to marry, I’m not even considered mature enough to make my own healthcare decisions (I had to fight with my parents to get anti-anxiety medication to help me cope until the exams) and yet apparently everyone thinks I’m mature enough to decide on what I’d like to do for the rest of my life.

First things first, I’m really, really sheltered.  My family is upper middle class, I’ve never had financial worries of any kind (until recently when we’re starting to look at universities and that’s kind of an issue…but that’s another matter) and I’ve not been exposed to the real world.  How is it at all possible for me to make a reasoned decision considering important factors like employability, expected salary, standard of living etc when I have never been exposed to any of the problems that are associated with not being able to find a job, or having a job that barely pays the bills.  I’ve never experienced hardship of any kind, and my decision-making really reflects that.

Secondly, I’m seventeen.  I’ve experienced probably less than a third of my life (17*3=51…I think I can assume that if my depression doesn’t kill me, I’ll likely live to be more than 51) and despite the recent posting on identity, I still haven’t figured out mine.  If I can’t even figure out my sexual orientation with any certainty, and I’m only just beginning to develop a strong values system, how can I be sure that what I think I want now is what I actually want?

Thirdly, I have mental illnesses that distort reality a bit.  In the careers decision, I think my anxiety is really distorting how I see things.  I could be hedging my bet, going for the option I think I’m most likely to succeed in, or I could genuinely desire that option.  I don’t think I’ll ever know.

That’s a lot of negativity…and at least some of it is probably driven by my anxiety and worries that I’m going to make the wrong decision and either be subject to “I told you so” or soul-crushing regret.

In favour of my ability to make this decision, I may not be old enough or mature enough to be making the perfect decision, but I’m still already more mature than my ten-year-old self, and honestly, if I wait until I’m ready before I make every decision, time is going to go by far too quickly.  If I let my anxiety rule my life like this, I’ll never find happiness, because I’m just going to be waiting for a day that will never come.  I’m never going to be ready, and I’m probably about as ready as I need to be to make a decision that I won’t regret because even if it ends up being the ‘wrong choice’, I can still answer to myself because it’s the best decision I can make at this time.

As for whether at seventeen I can determine whether what I want now is what I actually want… my teacher was talking to me earlier today and I said “I’m seventeen, I doubt what I want now actually means anything”, to which he replied that he didn’t think I was the type of person to make decisions without carefully thinking about them or decisions without regard for the future (which is actually what a good friend of mine said about me a few months ago).  He’s right that I should probably trust what I want now (as much as I don’t like to admit it, he normally is).  Even if it isn’t what will make me happy for the rest of my life, it is, at the very least, going to make me happy now, and as my teacher pointed out in the same discussion, life is short.

Whether or not I’m ready to make this decision, I’m going to have to make it, so I might as well have more faith in myself.  There’s no real point in doubting myself or my ability to make the right choice for me.  I need to stop listening to the people who tell me that I’m not mature enough or rational enough to make the decision and start listening to people who believe I can do it.  My mental illnesses introduce enough negativity into my life, I don’t need to listen to the negative people.

Even More on Identity

I promise this is the last one.  Really.  I just wanted to link to a blog post that made me cry because it was so relevant.

Yesterday, I talked about how mental illness and disability can contribute to someone’s identity.  Here’s an awesome blog post I’ve had bookmarked for ages.  It made me cry the first time I read it.  It made me cry again reading it just now.  That’s a pretty big deal since I rarely if ever cry.

So here is a blog post about wanting a diagnosis written by Nattily over at Notes on Crazy.

More On Identity

Yesterday I wrote about values and how that’s important to identity.  It’s the obvious thing people think about when they discuss the idea of identity.  I’ve been thinking lately of another aspect of identity that is often overlooked because it doesn’t apply to everyone, but one that can be very, very important to the people that it does apply to.

Disability.  Mental illness.

Those aren’t things that people often think about when they think about identity, but they’re important.  Here’s why.

When I was younger, I struggled with many things (you can read about one of them here, but I also had other difficulties with social skills, motor coordination etc.).  I’ve been called all kinds of things.  ‘Lazy’, ‘stupid’, ‘stubborn’…  But in the sixth grade (after a learning specialist at my school suggested it for the second time), my parents took me to an educational psychologist who gave me a provisional diagnosis of ADHD.  Although I do not actually believe I have ADHD, the label was and is so important to me, because for the first time, I allowed myself to consider the possibility that I might actually not be broken or weird.  That I might just be a different kind of normal.  That there might be others out there who struggle the same way I do (which there are… I’ve found a few, although at the time I felt really alone).

It’s so easy to say “don’t let [diagnosis] define you/your child”.  It’s so easy to think that nobody wants to have labels like ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia…  That’s not really true, or at least it isn’t true for me.  I’d rather have a word to describe my struggles, because it lends validation to the very real challenges I face in my life.  Because ‘anxiety’ is always a better label than ‘overreacting’ and if I had ADHD, that would be a better label than ‘lazy’ or ‘stubborn’.  [I read an excellent post about how labels are great as long as they’re the right label, but I can’t remember for the life of me which post it was or even where I saw it.   This post was heavily influenced by that one and I’d love to credit the author.  I will edit to include a link if I can remember.]

Having depression as an identity to validate the fact that certain things are harder for me than they are for people who don’t struggle with depression is really different from using my depression identity as an excuse to not make an effort to minimise the impact depression has on my life.  I try not to do too much of the excuse-making.  In fact, if someday I’m lucky enough to recover from depression, I’m (hopefully) not going to give up on recovery because I’m afraid of losing the identity.  But for now, I do have depression, and having that identity is better than being called lazy on those days when I simply cannot do something because getting up out of bed in the morning is the hardest and bravest thing I can manage for that day.

Identity

Being a teenager is as scary as it is exciting.  It’s a time of change, for better or for worse.  It’s the time of our lives when we’ll make some incredibly great choices, and some incredibly stupid ones.

If I tried to summarise the entire teenage experience into a sentence, it would be this: adolescence is about finding our identity.  It’s the hardest thing we’ll ever do, and probably the most important.  Because adolescence marks the transition from childhood to adulthood, for most of us, it also is the time where we dump out the values that our parents have taught us and try to determine for ourselves the kind of people we want to be, the things we hold important and ultimately what we want our life to look like.

For me, personally, I’m finding that in searching for my identity, I am dumping a lot of what my parents have taught me.  In my society, that isn’t really done.  I’m supposed to respect my parents and honour them by accepting their teachings, but increasingly I’m finding that I do not want to be like them at all.  I want to value honesty above all else, while they think that being practical is more important and that honesty isn’t so important as long as I don’t use dishonesty to hurt others.  I want to believe in following one’s dreams and laying it all on the line for things that are important, rather than pursuing the most practical option.  I want to be the kind of person others can turn to for support and validation; the kind of person who believes that mental illnesses are real and scary and that the people who struggle with them do not need to be told that they’re doing it for attention or that they’re just making up problems.  But I also want to believe that not agreeing with my parents doesn’t mean that I don’t respect them.  I know they see it that way, but I don’t.   I try to understand why they feel the way they do, and I certainly respect their right to hold their own values, and respect that they have very strong reasons for holding the values they’ve chosen to hold.  I very much respect them.  I just don’t agree with them.  And that’s another thing I value that they don’t.  The ability to respect someone who is very, very different from me.  To respect someone who’s made a conscious decision to be very different from the person I’ve chosen to be.

In Which I Ramble About Anxiety and Self-Diagnosis

I’m in the hospital so I now have a lot of free time to write stuff so I can get a few things off my chest. Wednesday was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. A lot of stuff happened and because I’m not currently in a depressive episode, I felt a lot of it pretty intensely.
I finished my mock exams. Chemistry. Three papers of it in a day. I was feeling really, really apprehensive about it because I feel a lot of pressure to do well because I’ve always been good at chemistry and therefore people have high expectations, or at least I think they do. I was also feeling a bit excited because my chemistry teacher had said that he thought I’d find the questions fun (which in his language, means they’d be really hard, but interesting…that didn’t help with the apprehension much). Anyways, the exams were fun, as promised, but because I hadn’t studied and because I missed a week of school right when we were doing the chapter on carbonyls, I found there were quite a few questions I wasn’t confident about answering.
Cue anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder enters stage right. Honestly, I was kind of expecting that I’d have anxiety about the chemistry exam afterwards no matter what. That’s how my anxiety disorder works. I worry about everything, but particularly about things where the public perception of my intelligence and/or ability might be at stake. Reason and logic do not play a role in anxiety and even when I know how to answer a question, I worry about getting it wrong, or writing a technically correct but silly answer. Couple that with having to be assessed in a subject taught by my favourite teacher and it’s a near certainty that I will spend a great deal of time worrying about how I did.
Lately I’ve been having a new kind of anxiety. In addition to my performance/social/scared-of-the-dark/checking-behind-doors anxiety, I’ve started to have anxiety about my identity. Specifically about appropriating struggles of other people. I was initially self-diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Having that self-diagnosis made it possible for me to ask for help from a therapist (otherwise I would have thought my problems were too insignificant to deserve help) and it allowed me to accept that certain things are difficult for me due to my mental illnesses. The emotional validation of a diagnosis, even a self diagnosis was, for me at least, a major part of self acceptance and taking the steps I needed to take to improve my life and move forward. I didn’t take self diagnosis lightly at all and I carefully considered my symptoms against the diagnostic criteria and against the stories of personal experiences of people with depression and anxiety. Even so, I did have a certain degree of self-doubt, wondering if maybe I was overreacting and exaggerating (professional confirmation of my depression and anxiety made this worry go away, thankfully). More recently, I’ve been wondering if I might be autistic. On one hand, I see a lot of myself in some of the autistic people I’ve met, I identify with many of the things autistic bloggers write about and as far as I can tell, I meet the criteria for an autism spectrum disorder according to the DSM-5 and ICD-10 (I don’t meet the criteria according to the Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service, but on that one, the only criteria I don’t meet are the ones for lack of imagination).  My mother has mentioned that she can see why I might be autistic.  A few autistic individuals I’ve met online as well as my counselor who has an autistic son believe that I might be autistic.  Despite this, and despite my previous self-diagnosis having been confirmed to be correct, I worry nearly constantly that I’m appropriating the real struggles of real autistic individuals.

Part of that self-doubt comes from the fact that I realise that I have a certain bias in this.  I want an autism diagnosis.  That sounds like an odd thing to say, because who would want to have a disorder?  But if you look at it another way, whether or not I have the diagnosis, I am who I am.  Getting a diagnosis won’t make me magically and suddenly autistic.  The only thing a diagnosis can change is how I approach who I am.  An autism diagnosis could help me learn to accept why I am the way that I am, and that is really important.

Some people don’t get that labels can make you feel like you belong. They can make you feel you have a place where you fit in. And that means a lot when you’ve felt like you don’t belong, like you’re disconnected… Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. Please quit attacking people for labeling themselves when it helps them to realize they’re not alone. What others label themselves really doesn’t affect you.

lirpaiswolf

I don’t know if any of that made any sense, and I don’t think I really have a point I was trying to make.  If it didn’t make sense, I apologise, my painkillers are making the world feel a bit distant at the moment so my reality is distorted.

Perfection

I have a nasty tendency to hold myself to impossibly high standards of perfection.

This started when I was younger, when I couldn’t make friends my own age.  I tended to seek attention from adults, who although they wouldn’t be friends with me, tended to at least be willing to spend time and interact with me.  I received compliments on my maturity for my age and my intelligence, and as a result, I started to associate my perceived maturity and perceived intelligence with my self worth.  You can probably imagine where that led.  Fast forward to now, and I feel the most anxious when I say or do something that isn’t perfectly mature or intelligent.  I feel anxious when I don’t get full marks on tests and even when I do, I feel anxious if my choice of words in my answer doesn’t match the model answer, because I worry that the teacher will think I’m stupid.  I feel anxious if I say something and it turns out to be wrong, or when I have to admit that I don’t know something.

The one thing all those anxieties have in common when I look at them is that they’re very, very human things to do.  If someone got full marks on every single test and their answers were phrased the same way as the model answers, they’d likely be accused of cheating.  It’s normal to say something and later find out you’re mistaken, or to have things that you don’t know and admit to not knowing those things.  I never have a problem with other people being mistaken, or less-than-omniscient, and yet when it comes to myself, I obsess over every single tiny mistake that I had made.  Every single imperfection.

It’s not healthy.  The more I hold myself to these standards, the more I disappoint myself and feel worthless.  The more I fail to achieve what I expect for myself, the further I slip into depression (but that’s just my experience, not necessarily anyone else’s) and feel like everyone would be better off without me.  But also the more I disappoint myself, the more I feel like I owe it to the world to be better to make up for my mistakes and I hold myself to even more ridiculous standards of perfection.  If I could just break free from this vicious cycle, I’d probably be significantly happier, but disordered thoughts do take time to change, especially when they come from experiences in my childhood that have been constantly reinforced for years and years and years.