When Do You Listen To The Voices?

It’s another one of those days where I’m just too worn out to write something worth reading but I still have words to fill. I have a number of projects I could continue to work on, but I know that I would just end up getting rid of whatever I write today anyway so why waste the time?

Is that real or is that just a growing negativity? It is so difficult to figure out which is which. That is one of the curses inherent in living with low self esteem and depression. When you have spent your entire life feeling bad about yourself and thinking that nothing that you do is worth anything it becomes difficult to determine if self-criticism is valid or an extension (or in some cases a return) of the negative feelings.

For example, I have been feeling really good about myself lately. This is probably the longest period of a sustained non-depressive state that I have experienced since I was in high school. I state it thusly because I am not always happy, but I am generally not un-happy. There is a huge difference between feeling sad and feeling depressed that I wonder if people who have not experienced true depression can understand. It is perfectly normal to feel sad. There are times when not feeling sad would be a completely inappropriate.

The other times, when there is nothing discernibly wrong but you just can’t seem to get the strength together to pull yourself out of bed because why bother? Those are the times that really suck.

The problem with depression and the associated feelings of self-loathing and lack of self-worth is that you may not feel that way all of the time. However, no matter how you may be feeling, there is always that nagging voice in the back of your head that tells you that no matter what you do you will never be good enough. You can try as hard as you want, but you are going to fail anyway. You’re either too something (dumb, slow, untalented, uncoordinated, ugly, fat) or you’re not enough something (skilled, experienced, smart, handsome, healthy).

If you do buck the voices and try something, they don’t stop. Oh no, they keep pushing you to stop whatever it is you are doing, to give up, to stop wasting your time. If the thing you are doing is something that takes more than one session (for example, a project that requires a number of days to finish), every time you return to it you are going to look at what you have already accomplished and find it lacking. The voices will point out all of the mistakes you made (real or imaginary). You will see how there are things that simply can not be fixed. At best you can start over, but do you really want to waste the time and energy? No, whatever it is you have done is crap. Better to throw it away.

Maybe that is the hint which will help me answer the question I posed at the beginning. I was wondering how to tell if I was objectively accessing my current skill level or if I was just hearing one of those negative voices. I did mention, and do believe, that most of what I have written recently is pretty good. Granted, there are some bits that don’t shine, but those will be edited out. That is what editing is for, after all. The fact that I don’t want to continue one of those stories right now because I might screw it up makes me believe that I am not being too hard on myself. I really am too tired to work on any of those.

Or is that just my way of rationalizing the latest round of negative thinking?

Honestly, it doesn’t matter. This particular rant more than filled today’s writing needs.