I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

The many masks of mental illness

on September 3, 2014

Sometimes i feel like a vapid fraud. I think all of us adjust the way we act or speak depending on the company we are with at the time, but it doesn’t usually adjust one’s actual sense of self. For instance, around one’s parents you’re probably less inclined to discuss your sex life and how you got so drunk friday night you may have peed yourself a little. You may have friends that you tend to use more colloquialisms with, more relaxed syntax and what not, you probably have friends that you swear more around and so on.

See for me, the issue is that my sense of self is as fluid as the company i keep, and i have determined that it’s predominantly because of my mental illness and the trauma i experienced in my formative years. I wont bang on about what happened to me because many of you already know, but in a nutshell – i was sexually abused by my mother’s first husband from ages 7-9 then physically emotionally and mentally abused by her second husband from ages 11-26, true, i was 26 the last time he got drunk and had a go. Added to the abuse i have abandonment issues with my mother, we are trying to resolve all of this now but it’s a long and drawn out process. I am bipolar and have ptsd, boy am i fun at parties!

I feel like my masks run deeper than most and that it’s dysfunctional. I feel like almost an entirely different person depending on who i’m spending time with, it’s bizarre and exhausting. I’m trying so hard to look like i have it all together, there’s no one that sees all of the real me, not even those closest to me. I hide my pain, I hide the ways I deal with my pain, i try to look like i have it all together but i’m really just treading water, no matter which version of me i’m being at any given time, i’m always treading water. My sense of self is skewed, i know things about myself that are definite, i have opinions and views and inclinations but no true character, no definite being. Maybe that’s what your 30’s are for? Figuring out who you are?


10 responses to “The many masks of mental illness

  1. Yes, the 30’s are great for figuring out who you are. I would add that the chameleon ability to adapt to any situation is an amazing skill. Use it as your superpower?

  2. Mckarlie.. I had to come visit you after you left your 3 sentence story on a post of mine.

    It was an alarmingly honest nutshell, like a metaphorical punch in the face!

    I can only imagine how the kind of experiences you’ve had shape and define a person’s sense of self and others. How can you be anything other than fluid after all you’ve been and are going through… it’s how you survived. And yes, the 30 somethings are interesting years, for me they’ve been all about re-defining.

    I totally get what you say about having no character.. I used to say something similar about myself, that I trusted my personality, not my character… I realised my persona was actually created as a solution to the problem I believed to be my character. As long as I believed ‘her’ to be wrong, I could never have any consistency as ‘me’.

    I know now that she was never wrong… she was oppressed, scared, hurt and mistakenly self blaming. I have spent years updating that part of me, developing all the parts that make up my whole self. I discovered a me I can be…and she’s good enough, and she’s more loveable than I could ever have believed… But I believe now.

    I wish the same for you ❤ Thanks for sharing your story xx

    • mckarlie says:

      Thanks for stopping by, i found your post quite interesting, the three sentences was a great idea. What you’ve written here makes a lot of sense, I do have hope for my thirties and figuring out just who i am, i’m in therapy at the moment so i’m being molded like clay. Once I’ve dealt with the PTSD who knows how I will be, but i’m excited to find out, I appreciate your kind words 🙂

  3. princess marksalot says:

    Love your mckarlie and am so thankful for your willingness to bear it all!

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