I felt exhausted, anxious, almost sick. I listened for the conversations in my head. What were the voices saying? Who was speaking? One voice said that I’m getting on people’s nerves, they’re getting tired of me; finding me hard to put up with. It’s the same voice that’s telling me I might as well give up on my life, on everything:
“You’re going to give up anyway, may as well give up now. Everyone else has given up on you as well.”
One thinks I’m giving up because I’m afraid. You are original and intelligent, it says, quietly but with persistence; soothing. It tells me to be brave. To do what makes me happy. To surround myself with people I love, to be nice, be kind, and be generous.
“It’s okay to be happy, you know.”
Another voice is telling me this is just a phase of tears and frustration: it’s not what’s happening, or what my life is like, it’s just the way I’m seeing things at the moment. This voice has been saying this for a while. It’s starting to get drowned out a bit.
A voice speaks up, not very loudly, saying that people aren’t fed up with me, that they do actually care about me. Other people have their own problems, they are projecting their own insecurities onto me – you can’t take it personally, they say – be understanding, they all have their own battles to face. You’re useless to them when you’re not on the eight ball.
Some voices judge people I see with white picket fence dreams, boy troubles and nine-to-five careers in harsh stereotype, loudly quarrelling their conflicting ideas.
“Why don’t you join them?”
“Why would you even want to join them?”
“Don’t be so judgemental – they’ve made their own choices, just like you are making yours.”
“You’re not good enough, are you? You can never be like them, you’ll never fit in.”
“You’re doing your own thing, and that’s awesome. It’s all good.”
“Stop. Just stop. Be someone else. Now would be good.”
Sometimes I think that the voices have agreed on one thing: I’m mad. Many voices tell me it’s a good thing – after all, all the best people are. Others tell me I’m mad in a different way, really going off my rocker down a one-way street to eight pills a day.
But there’s one voice that shouts really, really loudly. This is the one that really drives me insane, as what it has to say makes my whole body shudder, and my soul cringe. It makes me feel small and shallow, weak and pathetic. This is the voice that tells me: