Sarahtonin, who is she? Where do I find her?
Who am I? I am Sarah, 23, and I have been dealing with depression and anxiety from the age of 17, although it was definitely brewing under there a lot longer. Miss Sarahtonin, I have decided, shall be my alter ego, whom I am going to seek out, trap and I vow to never let that bitch go. Also before we go any further, I am very much aware that is not the correct spelling for serotonin. It’s all part of the act, like a drag queen name, ok? I’ve decided to start this blog for self accountability, I can’t sit around and wait for Miss Sarahtonin to come knocking on my bedroom window. This 4x4x4m cube can only contain so many depressive thoughts before venturing onto a word document. I intend to do everything in my power to attain a consistent level of happiness and contentment for the rest of my days. If I can’t help myself how in the hell am I going to help somebody else, can I get an Amen? Also, can I get a lawyer because RuPaul might sue my ass for that.
I’m not going to pretend that depression and anxiety can be completely eradicated by me baking or going on a walk or doing some self care, but I do believe that I can do my best to keep it to a manageable level. I can think about killing myself, but only once I’ve done my 27 step skin care regime, but then that skin will be too glowy to waste, so maybe I’ll do it the day after. As with many people who are depressed, I make light of it to pretend that it isn’t as big of a deal as it is. It’s a common theme in my family, we’re all depressed but we don’t really deal with it in a serious matter, which may or may not be healthy. Who knows, and who cares at this point, we all want to die anyway. Then our anxiety always has something to say, the guilt and worries flood in and we continue about our day in a never ending cycle of mental illness. It’s really spicy, and we can’t live life without flavour.
I have issues when it comes to people pleasing, as in, I am the issue as I try to be a people pleaser. I look for validation and reassurance from other people to try and solidify who I am. Well, folks, we’ve encountered a problem, because I am currently (read as; constantly) in a state of identity crisis. I’ve only recently discovered that I have no sense of self. Trivial as it may sound, I have no idea who I am as a person, if not made up of other people. Now, undertaking traits of others and adapting your behaviour dependant on situation or company is not a new concept, it is a socially accepted norm. However I don’t really think I have anything else left. I feel like this escalated when I studied a sociology module in first year of uni and we discussed the concept of identity and ones self. Wow did that send me into the depths of despair. There was a quote by Charles Cooley, (I am not writing an essay and therefore will not be Harvard referencing, no further questions at this time, thank you) which has been engrained in my brain ever since; “I am not who I think I am, I am not who you think I am, I am who I think you think I am.” Now it took me around 9 reads of the sentence (not of myself) to understand that basically we identify as what we think peoples perceptions of us are. That sent me over the edge. It also made me question my behaviours, attitudes and responses to people around me. I think who I am is what others perceive me to be, and therefore to ensure I can put forth the best version of myself, I try and control other peoples perceptions. This is where the people pleasing comes in to play. If I want people to see me in a good light I have to do everything in my power to keep them happy right?
What about my happiness? Whispers Miss Sarahtonin.
If I want to be happy I can’t constantly worry about other people when I am, unfortunately, a minor character in their life, the comic relief, the villain, that one girl that says something funny with truth behind it and we don’t see her again until the end credits. Why should I accept an unpaid role in another persons straight to tv-movie when I can be the leading lady in one hell of a self directed motion picture (I was going to say Oscar winning but that self doubt crept right up to humble me). I can live my own life, and people will have opinions of me if I have done something for them or not, if I have spoke to them or not. Ultimately I cannot control other peoples perceptions of me and therefore I shall not live my own life for the benefit of others. A lot of people have discovered this secret before me and have been applying it to their lives and I honestly admire that. This is a relatively new concept to me, and I am trying to work through it so it becomes a habit and not a conscious thought. We will get there. This calls for the enactment of the first commandment of Miss Sarahtonin:
“Thou shall let other people live their life independently from my own”
Miss Sarahtonin will serve as the woman I aspire to be. She is in me somewhere and I am going to bring her forth into the world. She appears periodically at present, for example, if my friends need advice, you know she’s ready and waiting, at times she can speak to me and at times I choose to ignore her. Maybe I enjoy sadness too much or maybe I find comfort in the familiarity of it? We have reached a point where I am very aware of the number of question marks I have used. By writing this post, it’s serving as a mechanism for me to question my own behaviours and thoughts and hold myself accountable. I do not have the answers for anything, except maybe boy trouble (break up with him). So this is an active thought that I am materialising which I can revisit and add to. It’s all a learning curve, and it can only go up. The fact that I even brought up the use of question marks, manifests the idea that when I’m writing this I am so very aware of what the reader could be thinking. And I’m breaking my own first commandment. This is not going to be easy, but I will do my best.
I like lists, I like to make them and I like to complete them. My therapist told me to make a bucket list to stop me from living in fear of ‘what ifs’ and to do things that will bring me joy and accomplishment. She also told me not to refer to it as a bucket list due to the whole kicking the bucket thing, and y’know death. So from here forward it is my ‘Life List’. It is not a list of things that I want to do before I die, it is a list of things I wish to experience while I live my life. The smallest change of wording and outlook can definitely change your perception on things. (But not on your perception of me, because that really doesn’t affect me. Like at all. I’m so indifferent to any opinion you may have on me. I promise :)). This list is currently small and growing, I plan to stick to it, but what’s a plan without action? So I have decided to just starting doing things. And here we are, nearly finished my first post because I had an idea and just acted upon it. Who knows if I post it anywhere, this could be something I find in a year and use it as a method of reflection or maybe you’re my mammy listening to me reading it, admiring the wonderfulness of your daughter. It has however helped me. It’s nice to see my thoughts in front of me and by writing them, I am paying attention to them and what they’re really trying to tell me. If I’m going to self analyse I may as well have some solid data to review.
Thank you for reading and forming your own opinion on my thoughts and words that will not impact on who I am as a person!
(Soon to be Miss Sarahtonin)