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The Gremlins in My Head

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It was only a year ago I noticed that I don’t look at myself in the mirror. I’ll check that my trouser length is OK, or look at my hair when I’m putting it up. I will look at sections of my face when putting on eyeliner or eyeshadow for example. But I don’t take a look at me, to see how I look. I must already know the answer.

My mind never quiets, it’s always thinking-reviewing-judging. The negative thoughts bombard me consistently through the day, after every interaction, every decision, every minute event of the day. Judging my effect on other people.

I’m always tired, always. A friend will talk about having a glass of wine to relieve her stress that day, it doesn’t work for me. It makes me feel more tired and I fall asleep quicker, leaves me feeling unable to be “fun” and hating myself on a deeper level the morning after. I avoid it. It’s not worth it.

I’m tired of being tired. Sleep is the only way to quiet my brain. The break is needed. The more breaks I take the more I hate myself for the need of it. For disappearing again when there’s life to be lived. I missed out on something. I’m such a shell, a dark and manky shell. I hate this about myself. I’m filled with hate for myself. I need to feel numb — I’ll just get some quiet for a bit, try some mindfulness… I fall asleep. Fucking hate this…

I want to be great, I want to spend a day without the gremlins in my head. They are not my friend. I didn’t invite them but as I get older they get stronger and louder. There’s less I can do to quiet them, to disprove them, they are tenacious.

I have spent my life not really knowing who I am, and for the last six years I have lost myself entirely. One of those dark chalk outlines of a dead body. The shapes are there but the color, the texture, unrecognizable. It’s hard not having an identity. If I am what I think, then wow, I’m a wasted soul. I seem to float through the day hoping I don’t need to lay down because we all know what that means. I have my moments but so do many things. Doesn’t mean they’re alive and living.

Positive events and positive feelings feel like I’m experiencing it second hand. It doesn’t feel like I’m 100% present. Like there’s some kind of plastic that is aligned between positive moments and my experiencing them.

The negative however comes in 100% thick, no filter — no need. My brain has thought of a 1,000 ways in which I will die, my loved ones will die, how I will be left in extreme emotional pain that I can not recover from. Is that normal? To think like this??!

There is nothing anyone can say to hurt me more than what my gremlins already do. I can not think of anything anyone can say that my gremlins haven’t already said. They know my darkest fears and insecurities and feed on them and enhance them, feed them steroids until they are the worst thought imaginable and when they are satisfied they have turned that little thought into a bulky unavoidable tattooed thought in my brain… permanent and accessible to me at a drop of a hat. Then they will move on… forever decorating my brain will self-destructive reflections of myself that I can not avoid.

No wonder I don’t spend time in front of a mirror… look at what my gremlins show me as a reflection of me.

When I try to explain this bee’s nest of deep saturated self-hate in my brain, the gremlins pull at my white matter like puppet masters and turn my words into a spluttering, stuttering mess of word soup so that as much as someone may trying to follow what I’m saying, the real issue never really surfaces.

Clever gremlins.

Getty image via tixti

Originally published: April 15, 2021
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