Hi lovely Em!
My musings on your post, as ever I don't claim to be an expert on you, all I can do is apply what you have said to my experiences and hope that it helps.
ShittyEM lacks qualifications, experience, intelligence, skills, confidence and solid mental cognition. ShittyEM is therefore scum, an embarrassment, a failure, a loser and a joke, not to be taken seriously, who is weird and annoying and embarrassing, who is different in a bad way and unable to fit in, who is a loser and a failure and who is ugly, childish, needy and pathetic.
Woah indeed! I think we have found the cause of the depression
Great openness and self awareness btw. Naming something is the first step to dealing with it. Disclosing it to others and finding the judgement will not be like we feared, is the second.
Negative beliefs lead to negative predictions, lead to a fear that cannot be escaped because we don’t sufficiently believe in an alternative possibility, leading to feelings of being trapped in pointlessness and depression. Leads to no longer being able to see the wonder and pleasure in life’s journey, no longer being able to see that it is a journey. The lack of sleep and nutrition will act as a magnifying glass to these feelings. No wonder you feel this way. Anyone would have major problems starting with that self view.
I noticed your game over comment. I used to have a very similar belief;
‘If I let one thing slip then it will all be destroyed.’ I know the sort of pressure, fear and pain that results.
You still manage to function despite all those beliefs and everything else you cope with. You have not given in. You are strong, EMazing and capable of so much more than you believe.
But it makes me sad thinking about who I once was and who I've become now.
You are entitled to feel sad or any other emotion, you are entitled to grieve over lost hopes and opportunities but kicking ourselves when we are down is as habitual as heroin so it is important to be sure we are not doing that. Grief is a process, moving forward, in due time, is part of that process.
You CAN change, your future doesn't have to be the lies you are telling yourself. I was in my mid-thirties before I had this sort of self awareness. I share a lot of those negative self beliefs and had no qualifications, experience, friends, family support or social skills. I have changed and am still changing, so can you.
Struck by a quote from Pep Guardiola (the master motivator) after today’s football;
‘you can always learn and improve, individually or collectively, so it is not a target to be perfect - it does not exist in the world.’
I learn something new each day. I change a little each day and I am learning to love the journey, the ups and the downs. I am starting, maybe just a little, to love, respect and value myself too. Despite the lies I tell myself I really do have more good days than bad and I am enjoying so much of life. I partly use my diary here to remind myself of that.
Our sense of self worth doesn’t lie in what we do, it isn’t something anyone else or society can give to us. It is something we find and nurture in ourselves. I picture a scout rubbing sticks together over some dry leaves, protecting that spark and gently adding more leaves, twigs, then sticks, etc until it is a roaring fire. I think that in order to find that first spark to nurture we must start to reduce beating ourselves up, start to challenge the negative beliefs about ourselves or learn to ignore them.
I’m glad you have left the job, self care and all that. I am going to use this as another excuse to mither you about education to put you in a position to find a role you may enjoy, a role where you can really utilise your many capabilities. I know you don’t believe you are intelligent but your intelligence shines through in your writing so I know you are clever. Education will be less stressful and triggering than work and probably more satisfying too. Maybe think about it?
The masks are interesting. You have identified two. Super Employee you show to bosses and colleagues and the mask you show yourself, ShittyEm. Both unrealistic distortions of the truth which put immense pressure on you. Do you think it would be helpful to identify more? The masks you wear around family, friends, in the shops, bumping into an old friend, meeting someone new, etc. The masks you wear when you feel vulnerable or under pressure, etc. Maybe then you could check each one as I set out in my last post. See if they really are helpful or are they your subconsious’s misguided attempts to keep you safe which are actually holding you back? You can check if they are realistic too using your CBT. I doubt you will find any that are realistic but on the off chance you do, so what? If they are not of help then you are perfectly entitled to ignore them.
I read Amaya’s comment too and I am not sure I like the idea of RealEM. That has the flavour of being another mask or a state of being where you feel you SHOULD be and can beat yourself up for not being. I have found the most progress in letting go of the masks. Not all the way there yet but I am enjoying the benefits of each step forward I take, enjoying the journey.
Hope some of that helps wonderful Em. Have a great Christmas and enjoy the love and warmth surrounding you and which I am sure you surround others with too.
Your caring friend in fair weather or foul.