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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My never-ending battle with insecurity

Nothing could trigger my depressive episodes really hard than bouts of insecurity. And there's this particular girl that I am so, so, so insecure of. In my previous entry, I called her Z. From then on, let's call her Z in all my related entries.

I'm not the type who's insecure about looks; modesty aside, I think I'm not lacking in that department. What I'm insecure about Z are her brains and her talent. She's incredibly smart. She's a doctor. And she can sing--not very well though, but still, she can sing. Ever since I got to know these things about her, I felt so down and inadequate, even if we're not being pitted against each other.

The fact that she can sing is probably the biggest and heaviest boulder thrown at me. She's incredibly smart and she's a doctor, and I'm neither. Sure, people say I'm smart, and I'm happy about that. But the thing is, I sing, too. I love to sing. And it pulls me down knowing that she can do this, too. It's as if she can do everything that I do, but I can't do what she does.

I've never considered science, math, medicine, and law to be superior fields, reigning over the arts, languages, and communication. That's why we have multiple intelligences, right? But when I got to know Z and the things that she can do, I felt so small. I felt that being a writer "doesn't count." I felt that I'm in a "lesser" industry. What's writing compared with saving lives? It's as if she's doing something great for humanity, while I'm just here, typing my articles.

Months passed but this feeling didn't go away. And as the day that I'd get to meet her drew near, my anxiety level shot up, one level at a time, every single day. When I was already at the venue (it was a dinner party), I couldn't eat because I knew she would arrive at any moment. My stomach was in knots. I felt like throwing up. My pasta tasted bland--either it was really bland or I couldn't taste anything anymore. I wasn't able to eat. And when she arrived, I didn't know what to do. I managed to smile and shake her hand when we got introduced, but I knew I wasn't in a "safe place." I managed to interact with the other people at that dinner party, and somehow, those interactions helped calm my panicking self. But those interactions didn't change the fact that I wasn't feeling well. Seeing her around made my heart beat faster and pound in my chest really hard.

After that dinner, I broke down and cried. I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't pull myself together anymore. I just cried, even if I knew I wasn't making sense, nor was I being rational.

A couple of months after that dinner, I thought I was already feeling better. I thought I was ready to put everything behind. I thought that if, by some reason, we bump into each other, I wouldn't be awkward with her, and I didn't want her to be awkward with me. And so with all these good intentions, I tried to get in touch with her to tell her how I felt. But it didn't turn out well. She said it made things awkward. I felt that wow, there I was, trying to rectify the situation. But I made things worse. Even with good intentions, I made things worse. I failed.

Because of this, the more I got pulled into this downward spiral. I got even more insecure of her. And the worst part? SHE HAS NO FREAKIN' IDEA about all these. She doesn't know that she has this effect on me. And why should she care anyway? It's not her fault that I am insecure.

I am insecure. I wish I wasn't. But it's not something you just get over with. It's not something you put in a box and stash in your storage room (we call it bodega here in the Philippines). It's not something you throw in the wastebasket. It's not something you wash off. It's part of you. It's part of me. I wish it wasn't.

And so I'm here, dealing with my insecurity. I'm already on my seventh session of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). My psychiatrist Dr. G has really been so nice and patient. Throughout those seven sessions, we always touch on my insecurity. And what happens next is always the same: I break down and cry. My makeup gets ruined. My eyes get red. My nose gets clogged. And all these because I'm insecure of Z. Because I feel so small. Because I feel inadequate.

This isn't something that my medicines can fix. That's why I'm going through therapy, hoping to get equipped with the right skills to cope with it. I can't go through life feeling like this, feeling small, feeling like my achievements don't count because someone out there is saving lives or whatever. I'm tired of all these. I'm so tired of being insecure.

Don't compare yourself with others. It's easy to say that. I've told myself the same thing countless times. And yet, here I am, still insecure.

I can't wait for the time when all these--my insecurity, my depressive episodes, my unpredictable moods--will be over. I can't wait. But like my psychiatrist who's patient with me, I need to be patient with myself, too. And I should stop punishing myself for feeling this way. I didn't want to be like this. I'm sure no one wants to be like this. But what can I do? These are the cards I am dealt with. I have no other choice but to play this right and recover.

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