Is there more?

While reading one of the blogs I follow (thank you for the inspiration, Megan!), I happened to ask myself the same question. Is there more to me than my mental issues?

Formally, I suppose the answer is yes; if someone with hepatitis, cancer or diabetes is a person regardless of their conditions, so am I. Funny how I unconsciously chose chronic or deadly diseases for the comparison.

A little less formally, it’s not so easy. Of course there are sides of my character that are unrelated to these issues, but my perception of my character is way too focussed.

In the process of opening up to Andrew I can’t help asking myself how I’m presenting myself, what is there for him to find out and know about me. Of course there are habits, hobbies, activities, likings and more than 30 years of past to talk about and that comes naturally. Then there is the person: our dreams, our hopes, our reactions, our secrets, our weaknesses, our fears. In that, I see close to nothing more than my issues.

My dreams and hopes are somehow distorted by my issues, my secrets are all about this, let’s not even discuss weaknesses and fears. Everyone has weaknesses and fears, but not everyone calls them issues. I tend to call issue every negative aspect of my character, I blame everything that doesn’t work in me on my issues.

I can’t seem to look at the whole as a superior entity: there are facts about my life and then there are the issues. I feel like I am nothing more than my issues. I feel like I can offer nothing more than my issues.

But if I think about it really closely, instead of just listening to the louder voice in my brain, it’s not so true.

I am honest, even when I should lie a little more, I just can’t.
I am trustworthy and loyal. Because I just am, and I think it’s right to be it.
I can make people laugh; it might be a coping mechanism to shield my shyness but it’s still true that I enjoy making people laugh and it comes natural to me.
I understand people. I would like to state that I am a good listener too, but that’s something only other people can confirm. But I am more than sure that I can see everybody’s point of view and give good advice accordingly, because if there is one thing I’ve taught my brain well is analysing pros and cons.

I should think about this much more often, repeat this as a mantra every single morning, to make sure I remember I am worth something, I am not just a tangle of paranoia and low self-esteem.

As for weaknesses and flaws, those I still think correspond to my issues.

Provided that I have issues, I look at all my life bearing in mind that my psyche does not work properly and that I have to over analyse and second guess every emotion or thought or feeling I experience. I tell myself I need to do this in order to truly understand what’s going on, under the constant suspicion that my own mind is playing tricks on me. Every time I am weak, I blame my issues. Hence, I exhaust myself thinking the issues are everywhere and never shrinking, that I will never be able to eradicate them, that my life will never be “normal” until I do.

Sometimes though, I wonder if I’m overstepping. I wonder if I know too much, if I’m just hiding behind a more or less comfortable cover up. I blame my issues for everything, so much so, I almost think that if I could defeat my issues completely, my life would be free of worry and bad thoughts.

I used to be blind, true, I used to be clueless as to where some reactions and thoughts came from whereas now, I recognise the path as clearly as a directory. But maybe I should not fall in the opposite pit.

There must be a threshold. Some of my paranoias, maybe all of them, are common to most people, maybe just not as intense, or maybe others aren’t so sensitive to the same topics as I am. How do I recognise the threshold between sane and insane, between the longed-for normality and dysfunction?

It’s all about the serenity prayer: how do I know what I need to change and what I should actually accept? I feel defeated in this battle against my issues, because they seem ever-present, they look untouchable, unassailable. What if they are? What if part of them is just the fundamental core of human heart?

Am I fighting the wrong war, all geared up with armour, sword and shield when all I’d need is a mirror?

Or patience.

Maybe in all of this, my only real problem is impatience. As for many other things, I blame myself for not being able to see things clearly from the start, for understanding things a little too late. Maybe it’s not late at all, maybe it’s the right time, and I wouldn’t need to blame myself for not seeing them sooner, because sooner they weren’t there at all, they were only still cooking. You can’t tell whether the soup is good before it’s ready, you need to wait until it’s done, if you taste it too soon, it will always be bad. Because sometimes only time can tell, and flogging myself with a thousand questions a second is completely useless.

Maybe I can trust myself with my judgement, because all I need is to listen to my mind saying “enough”. All the rest is jibber jabber.