Self-loathing is something that ate at my core from a young age. It became worse as the years wore on and I had few friends. Even as I succeeded in my career, I didn’t get any happier.
Self-loathing came to a whole new level when I “realised” people wanted me dead. Aghast I questioned who I was to warrant such deep hatred. Had I killed someone and hadn’t admitted it? Did I cause someone to commit suicide? Surely if I couldn’t remember anything I mustn’t have done it? In one hospitalisation I was convinced I must have killed someone while driving.
Then I considered my core values: social justice, equality, a truly welcoming and inclusive multiculturalism, recognition of traditional owner’s rights, and I thought how I hadn’t lived up to my ideals. How, because of psychic pain I wasn’t active in the way I wanted, or because I am white and middle class I am oppressive without any awareness.
Suddenly I was a glaring failure of values, a walking danger to others, especially to the vulnerable. People thought the world would be a better place if I Sarah Quell were not in it. No doubt I had also been responsible for many more deaths because of my sarcasm, cynicism, inquisitiveness and ignorance.
What I could never bring myself to do before, because I couldn’t believe it would be an end to my misery, I tried on multiple occasions.
I attempted to overdose on my prescribed medication a number of times.
I tried to hang myself once. It was such a useless attempt that I laughed in sheer scorn at myself. I’d tied a sheet to the ceiling light in my bedroom. The light broke so quickly that I didn’t even notice a moment of tension around my neck. But it was dramatically loud, shorted the electricity in the rest of the house and my parents came running.
While in hospital I drank a bottle of shampoo. That won’t kill you. It’s not pleasant. But I thought it was laced with drugs and believed I was told to drink it. Some of the nurses weren’t too happy, understandably, since I immediately vomited vast quantities all over the locked ward’s floor. Vomiting quickly meant I suffered only short term damage to my throat rather than long term stomach problems. To this day I can’t stand that shampoo.
I haven’t murdered or killed anyone I’ve tried to the best of my ability to show respect to all people (that doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them 😉 ). When I consider Donald Trump has an endless supply of supporters I surely I have at least the right to be my own supporter. I’m not perfect. No one is. But I’m good enough and I’m giving up on self-loathing now!
After writing this, Meghan Shultz, inspired me. Meghan argues we (those with mental illness) should be our own inspiration since we triumph and live despite our challenges. So my resolution is not only to give up on self-loathing but recognise my strengths to have come thus far, and my energy and resilience to continue.