Low Self-Esteem

How much depression and anxiety comes back to low self-esteem?

A vision of the self as being a totality of worthless components.

Reaching back into personal history it is not hard to pinpoint pivotal moments that fed in to this condition.

But awareness does not seem to alter anything. Do we need other people to confirm the truth of ourselves?

The causes –

Rejection has been a constant theme of this blog – from work, from love & relationships, from social groups, from friendships, from all smanner of spaces. These doors seem closed and barred, they seldom ever register as possibilities.

Rejection does not necessarily cause low self-esteem. But what rejection can do is feed into narratives of broken esteem, confirming core-beliefs of dejection and sadness.

Whether it is one rejection or a thousand, does it make a difference? Rejection (real or perceived) sets a spark which travels down into the depths of the soul and ignites trapped feelings, negative self-views, internalized abuse and so on.

Dealing with these fundamental core inadequacies seems like the primary way forward; it is not the specific instances of failure or rejection that caused fundamental self-esteem problems, but the self-esteem problems that magnify those feelings. Or worse, the low self-esteem that seeks to confirm itself, perceiving failure and being overly harsh on the self to create a downward spiral.

Perspective –

Is a counter-point it should be noted that exile, rejection and failure are always hard. The Pythagorean cults of ancient Greece were destroyed by vengeful people who were once cast out. Exile and isolation is painful for humanity. Under no circumstances is an overly competitive framework where we must fight with each other ever going to have a happy ending for the majority of people.

It should be noted that low self-esteem is not just a problem in an individual. It is endemic to a society which exalts some people and puts other down. Is this simply the dark side of our social species?

 

Completing the Circle

Why did I keep on dreaming of a childhood home, always at night, garden overgrown like a wild jungle. Why did I keep on dreaming of the past?

It was not the past. It was the future.

The circle must be completed and every point along its line must be passed through. As sentient beings move in circles, the past is to be lived and relived, to become the future again, then the past again.

Getting stuck is extremely easy – life is hard in this age, time for reflection is scarce. Discovering the true self is not encouraged – such empowered people do not follow orders or build craven systems, so we are separated from ourselves. And even if we were encouraged to find our true selves, the journey would be a terrifying one many would not want to make.

Depression, feeling lost, isolated, purposeless, insomniac and anxious – all this comes from stopping at a point, a failure to complete the circle. No wonder it never goes away if you never try to move on! Until movement returns, the soul is truncated, growth is violently retarded, the lesson is not learned.

The soul will always rebel, it cannot be silenced for long.

You may love where you are today and love who are with today. But this may not hold true in a year, or two, or ten. Places you thought horrible may again become sanctuaries, and safe havens may become pits of boredom. People you thought safe may become dangerous, people you thought you hated may bring tears to your eyes when they pass away. Emotions that you avoided may become more relevant than you thought; the darkness you feared a guide back to the path you must return to. Things change and shift because this is the nature of life itself. There is no solid ground to stand on forever.

The circle must be completed.

Of course we cannot see into the future, nor predict what it will bring! Life is a labyrinth which must be explored and traversed, not a puzzle to be pieced together by a mind from without.

I know where my soul is calling me – back to the source.

But why would a traumatized soul want to return? Because through adult eyes it can see anew, re-evaluate events, cast off chains of dread and haunting shadows, allow healing forces to enter the soul. With adult strength it can endure past endurance, face demons and scatter them before it. Prepare itself for the next challenge – for the quest is never complete and a strictly happy ending is never achieved. But at least there is always movement and change, as the seasons do change.

There is no use lamenting, where you are is where you are. Sometimes it is necessary to go on detours, to spend years in one place, to suffer for some greater goal, or to run off and go crazy. All that matters is that the circle is completed. Forgiving ourselves for not always being perfect or doing what is best for us is essential – we are finite and mortal modes of nature, rather than the little gods we are expected to be.

My rational mind could not make sense of that obsession with the past. Why was it always night time? Why was the garden always overgrown? The subconscious (where the truth of your self and its relation with the world truly lies) knew long before the surface-mind which direction it had to go. Such dreams seemed irrelevant or historical only because the part of the mind above water, above the mist and shadows, was living only its present and not its place in the whole. It was afraid even, of that whole. And maybe rightly so, because at one point it had to be. But where will it lead now?

All you have to do is complete the circle and you can find out.

 

 

Low-energy being, the Parasite, inner conflict

I have been seeing myself as a ‘low-energy’ being these last few years. I am surrounded by active creatures who can rush from place to place, miss a night’s sleep and not be wiped out for the next week, fill their schedules and carry out routines.

Ah, these are the normal-energy people to whom I am in comparison low-energy?

I don’t normally have ‘epiphanies’, but very recently I realized that perhaps my low-energy is not due to a lack of capacity, but that my capacity is constantly drained. As such, taking on new things or doing normal-people things is just too much strain and the system shuts down. The psyche is processing constantly and all the while made anxious by a hostile society, further hampering its processing. Perhaps a degree of ignorance is required to get through it, a mask I simply cannot don so ‘late in the game’ of life. So it must be lived with and dealt with.

This force I have come to personify as the Parasite. There is something which constantly sucks and feeds away at the soul, a force which holds back and prevents rapid growth or moving forward.

But this raises the further question of what is this Parasite and where did it come from? There are definitely social forces at work, values which exalt some people and not others. The effect is something like a parasite – all other things being equal, for a person of my complexion to take a step forward will be harder than for something with a more ‘favourable’ complexion. Likewise people raised with more favourable entitlements, opportunities and expectations will be much more prepared for ‘success’ when they don their smart shoes and step into the soulless world of professionalism.

But I would not stop at prejudice, class and tribalism. That would be to mask another thing the Parasite feeds on – inner-conflict. I believe this inner-conflict to be the loss of much psychic energy, with little to no gain. For years the demands to be loving and forgiving toward abusive people was a great contradiction and waste of energy. A duty fostered by deeply instilled guilt, but also genuine need for suffering people. My empathy and magnanimity is what keeps Parasite alive, I cannot tear it away from me nor tear myself away from it. This pity is a strong source of the conflict. The human psyche is a mystery even to those of us who wish to know it, and the confrontations demanded by the deepest wounded child are the hardest challenge imaginable. But this seemingly unresolvable problem is the cause of endless, enervating conflict.

Where does this black pain come from? Once you are ‘enlightened’ you realize that emotions are ‘psycho-logical’ and that the primal pain you have to carry is forced there from an early age. But what is behind that abuse? More abuse, stretching back into history. But how far can it stretch back and where does it ‘come from’ to begin with?

The suffering we endure and that is forced onto people, abusers and abused and all alike, is an element of nature itself. It is there and it is inevitable, waiting to be inflicted upon things that live. Just as a lie spreads half way around the world before the truth catches up with it, a being suffers a thousand wounds before it even starts to process a single one.

But some of us cause less damage than others. Some of us learn from our mistakes and place onto the scales of balance a greater degree of nurturance. I do not wish to promote a determinist message when I am somewhere between ‘fate’ and ‘freedom’.

We are not doomed to cause ‘evil’ just because it is an inevitable part of nature. To survive being subsumed by that immense force often means going against the grain – against a false family history painted by idealism, against an archaic society that is always a century or so behind, against dogmatic power and the false truths of institutions, against the small percentage of dangerous and deluded psychopaths who stain the fabric of humanity.

To be good and to do good is often an immense and unrewarded burden. But it is still worth it, for without good there would be no reason for a moral being to live in this world. And we can always choose the good, all of us, even if we feel a hateful resentment and will to destroy everything around us.

We will always be flawed and make mistakes, but what can change a man’s intention but himself?

 

 

Listen to that deepest impulse

I don’t know how long this will go on for. I don’t know if it will ever be healed or go away, if it will let me live as other people do. I cannot give any guarantees to myself, or to anyone.

No amount of ‘sleep hygiene’ can guarantee a dreamful night. Positive thinking and mindfulness is not going to achieve much more than temporarily helping to cope – at worst it divorces you from your own being. All the new found things, breakthroughs in ‘gut health’, yoga and all that, is not the ticket.

All you can do for sure is listen to that deep impulse, let it manifest in you. It is you, you are not separate from it. Being aware of it will not fulfil it, there is no ‘pure consciousness’ which can perceive back upon itself. When a child cries do you tell them to be ‘aware’ of the reason why they are crying and expect them to be ok with that? I should hope not! You would listen to why they are crying and try to deal with the cause, to soothe their fears if they are unfounded and provide their needs if they are unfulfilled.

Likewise we cannot turn off or turn away from the manifestation of our deep impulses, our deepest pain. For me it manifests as insomnia and discomforting states. They can wipe me out, destroying a routine, disabling me.

But I have stopped using Valium to guarantee me a dreamless night’s rest. If I cannot make it to something the next day, unless it is extremely important, I have to accept I cannot make it. I will listen to the body-wisdom, even in its most debilitating states. This is the only long-term way to move forward.

Actually listening, playing out subconscious movements in the dark, holding the deep wounds and acknowledging them tends to work for me. It lets me rest, it fades into the background. It might never go away, but the more I can deal with it and accept it, the more confident I become that I will never again fall into a total abyss.

Adapting to cope or thrive in this society is not a way to be healthy and true – I have seen how brutalizing it is to those around me. It is an illusion and a sad one. We must fight to transform the world we live in, allow people to live out their pain and be dormant whenever they need to be. Wounded adults will never bring about a peaceful, enlightened society. Ignorant, power-hungry fools know not even themselves – how can they know anything of the world around them.

What would it mean to transcend your own self and be able to function despite the screams of your soul? It would be to live inauthentically, something capitalism demands of us. The destructiveness of our society results from such detachment. It is all around us, and it is all because we are afraid of nature in its truest and nearest manifestation: in ourselves.

When you next lay awake at 3am, unable to sleep, tossing and turning, rather than try to wipe yourself out with pills ask: what is this deepest impulse trying to tell me? Why is my body on strike, what is trying to come to the surface…

 

Imbalance

How is it fair that I, and others in a similar situation, have to deal with depression, anxiety, rage, post-traumatic symptoms, low energy, and others do not?

Why was it the case that I had to suffer abuse from childhood, and now have to cope in a society hostile to the ‘unproductive’ and the vulnerable, where others grew up in a supportive and encouraging environment?

Clearly there is no equality and no balance in this world.  Not all are born equal – none are born equal.

Should I believe in equality when it is a viewpoint which ignores the humiliation and pain I had to suffer, and continue to suffer into a humiliated adulthood? Should I suffer  the insult of having to treat abusers as equally valuable and valid human beings?

I cannot have the life promised others, one of being loved, needed and belonging to a worthy social category. It seems that the one consolation I can have, to reach some kind of savanthood through the creative will, a rising above the mediocrity celebrated by the ‘normal’, is demonized in the name of a dogma with no relevance or place in the natural world.

Equality is a rare thing, an earned thing between true friends and great minds. It is a place we attain only after a great journey; it is a beautiful realization made only when we rise above the ego in those moments of transcendence and see the sheer enormity and linked nature of the cosmos. To apply it en masse as some moral dogma is insulting to the human spirit – especially to those who are promised but cannot attain.

Perhaps we will someday reach balance, and societies will account for the destruction caused to some and not to others, showing them the understanding (and love if it is something they care for) they need to truly be on an equal others.

But as it stands now it is an insulting dogma, something that is not true and yet stands like a temple of truth before us.

What little uniqueness and skill I have managed to carve out in a life of horrific circumstances is all I have to maintain the broken esteem of a broken man. It seems cruel to me for someone to try and take that away, to take me back down to the level of those who tore the cavities of my soul out.

I do not understand how we can claim any kind of equality can exist in this world. When I see those who don’t have to constantly re-live childhood trauma I consider their lives extremely easy indeed.

What can they possibly have to complain about?

 

Why do haters hate?

So the haters hated, the naysayers said nay, the abusers abused, the controllers exerted their control.
 
And they failed.
 
With all of their advantages of power, seniority and material wealth, they still failed.
 
They made the journey much harder. They gave me these mental disorders and suicidal thoughts. They forced me to traverse barren lands of isolation and pass through tunnels of despair. They taught me to distrust the world and made every relationship an uphill struggle. 
 
But still they failed to drag me down to their level.
 
What drives these petty hate-filled people? What makes them obsess over others, latch onto them like limpets and try to drain them dry? What would they be left with even if they succeeded?
 
What does it matter. They don’t matter.
 
When I hear people mocking ambition I am taken back to their twisted faces, screaming desperately, afraid of being left behind. They don’t want a star in their midst – that would mean challenging themselves and admitting how much they fell short. They are unambitious in that sense; moral underachievement is their comfort zone. Ambition is what makes us want to better ourselves, it should never be mocked.
 
Without ambition I would be as bad as the people I was surrounded with most of my life. The wretched want to hold me down in the spiritual muck where they dwell, but that is not their decision. Where I end up is ultimately up to me.
 
Every time I am attacked, derided, put down, criticised or insulted by deranged and stupid people, I imagine Jeremy Corbyn standing in parliament, some Tory slime hurling shit at him, trying to divert him into that same base level of existence. If Jez can resist that much pressure in the chambers of power, then why can’t I rise above the terrible, petty little shits life is so frequented with.
 
Of course, there have also been many great friends and allies in my life, without whom I would not have survived. If you are reading this, you are one of them.

Abandonment

I have been experimenting recently with staying away from the nest.

It was the built-up feelings of frustration that propelled me out. I remember a day of boldness and surety, really striving to carve out a place for me in the world.

The next day the momentum started to wear off. I was somewhere without my own personal, safe space. Back to the nest, and then away again.

But this time away meant feeling a strong sense of abandonment and desolation. I had a feeling that the spirit inside would not let me sleep, so I left, cleaving through the night to return to the dark nest.

On that night journey back I felt little of the usual fear. It was like the subconscious was projecting out onto everything, it did not really seem real; things did not seem as they were but only a figment of myself. Symbols representing something beyond my knowledge.

I listened to the spirit and it felt a lot more comfortable on its return. Waking up in the small hours of night I felt a strong sense of abandonment and desolation, and at the fringes of that a fear of self-harm or destruction. An underlining depression and dread.

I cannot quite explain it, only to say it is right at the front of the chest. I am glad I was in a familiar place when dealing with such emotions, because I was able to get through them without much alarm. In an unfamiliar place, it could have been much harder.

Life is not going to be as easy as moving away from abusives to somewhere safe. On my own is not exactly safe, and unfamiliar is not exactly safe. There has to be a careful back and forth until somewhere good is found. If indeed somewhere good is possible.

Maybe, at the risk of the depression talking, this is life now. Maybe we are thrust into tragedy and the best we can do is survive it until we die. Looking at the appalling lot of the people I was forced to grow up with, I can only compare it to something like a developing nation which must suffer enormous tragedy in order to industrialize. The legacy of abusiveness and repressed pain means there is immense suffering by default. The spiritual and emotional retardation means that members of this stunted family start far behind others, who are nonabusive and encouraged a lot more. Instead of a deranged unit which destroys its own interest, most people have a more functional organ which can achieve synergy and unity. As such, none of us can achieve the impossible standards of society, and a demi-success is all we can sustain. I can achieve only an orc-like existence, at the fringes, barely alive, unblessed by the light that shines, and comfortable only with warped creatures of shadow. Without my wretched god of snarling darkness and self-loathing, I am naked and anxious, left to trembling and the cruel punishments of the soul.

All the sentimentalism of souls and eternities and objective meaning are just there so that we never have to see and understand the ultimate futility of Nature. Its beauty and good feeling only fleeting, its ultimate end the stillness and demise of everything. If this is the case, striving for the ultimate state of society will only aid us materially; existentially nothing would have changed. People will suffer anxiety disorders and depressions under socialism. Not because of oppression and injustice, but because this is the legacy of evolution. Humanity will always find something to make itself miserable, as much as it strives to change and struggle for better. All human effort, a vigourous struggle to swim to the surface, but never does a foot step upon the shores of elysium.

Well, that was a depressing tangent! It feels true to express it, painful though it is. For some reason I also find it utterly hilarious. Do I believe such nihilism? Some part of me must do.

The other reveres Elder trees and sings of optimism through bleakness, always seeing light on the other end of the cavern.

An empty void behind, a bright future ahead.

I remember being a burnt out husk, in my early twenties. A wasteland after an emotional Battle of the Somme. Something like a vassal state, spent of resources and plundered into a barren. Trapped and stuck are the words I would use to describe that era.

I can’t remember particular days, because I don’t think it was possible to individuate them. Just a sense of going nowhere, there being no hope, only danger outside. A place of threat and humiliation, worse than the one I was in. I had no personal space, it would constantly be invaded. No matter where I put anything, it could not be guaranteed to still be there the next day. It was an example of the total system of the family at its absolute worst, and in those years the seeds of dissent had been sowed wide and thick. There was no way I was going to be like these, seemingly semi-sentient, people.

All of this created a feeling that something was wrong. It wasn’t a rational exercise, as it is now. I didn’t have an insight into psychological disorder and derangement, as I do now.

It was deranged people, out of control, hurting me. Repeating the cycles that destroyed them; petty and pathetic people. The lost leading the lost.

The justifications of ‘discipline’ were paper thin. Humiliation and insult is not a tool of discipline. It is the way deranged and hurt people bring down others, because they haven’t learnt to manage what happened to them.

I remember always hiding away when guests and relatives would come to visit. It would make me feel guilty, not being social. It would also make me seem alien, and ungrateful. But I didn’t have any energy for them, my emotional energy was spent and wasted on two deeply stupid and violent adults.

Now I see that hiding away as a means of grasping on to some independence, and most certainly an act of defiance. I will not play your games or pretend. I am actually quite proud that I managed to pull that off at such an early age. Nothing could move me out – uncle is sleeping, uncle is tired. Yeah tired of your bullshit perhaps.

There was no point trying to justify things – within their destructive system you do not have a choice. You owe them your time and your energy, the authoritarian morons have the final say. That is the price of their “security”.

But this legacy is a futile one, and still rears its head occasionally, even to this day. Sometimes that feeling of stuck and trapped comes back, even though I made massive advances away from the destructive system which tried to destroy my spirit and bring me into line.

When I look back over my shoulder at the last decade, I see big blocks of black void. No light can penetrate through there. It was only really around the age of twenty-six or so that I begun to make up ground, finding freedom and responsibility in squatting and protest sites.

At last I had a chance to be proven, and there was proven. Years free from a destructive system ruled by the thick. It was only in the last three or four years that I started living, and I have no compulsion to stop doing so.

Now I am half-way between, here and there. I still have connections to the system, but I feel myself transitioning away for good; playing out the inevitable anxieties.

And if it wants to dig its claws into me, now I am knowledgeable enough to find all the chinks in its armour and strike back.

And certainly strong enough to shatter it, to lay into them with words three times as violent as they once layed into me.

I only need to be pushed far enough.

The price of lying to yourself

The price of lying to yourself is the seemingly arcane depression and insomnia. Red marks on the body, back pain, skin flaking off your hands. Anxiety and trembling, nightmares and endless dread.

The body is communicating to you, because the body remembers every pain and every injustice. It is screaming to be heard, to be acknowledged.

So many of us are writhing and suffering for nothing, serving a morality which does not serve us. Why are you protecting the honour of the honourless?

Seemingly innocent things like forgiveness, understanding and compassion for others, come right back round into uncontrollable hatred and spite, cruelty for others.

Why?

It is very simple and very psycho-logical. When you have to forgive the unrepentant, when you have to have compassion for those who treated you like an object, when you have to show trust to those who broke all trust and harmed you when you were helpless, your body will continue screaming in helplessness, and horrible emotions will continue manifesting (however much “Christian love” you think you have).

So long as traditional morality is obeyed, the emotions which run deep beneath the conscious mind will not be brought to the surface and experienced as feelings.

When morality tells us to forgive and forget, rather than to truly love ourselves by acknowledging our bodily wisdom and speaking the truth of what happened, we consign ourselves to suffering – not to mention those who face our “random, unexplainable wrath”. Anger which cannot be directed to the source will be misdirected upon others. The most hate-filled, spiteful and bitter of all will be those who think themselves ‘forgiving and compassionate souls’. It is impossible to be such when you hate those who hurt you, so deeply and absolutely.

It really is not that hard to grasp, and it really is not that arcane. Once you pull your head from morality’s arse that is.

One hurt and humiliated should seek reparation and acknowledgement for that pain. They should find a trusted person to help them rediscover their pain, so that it ceases to control their consciousness. They should listen to their bodies, not to the morality which goes completely against their own interests. They should seek vindication, cutting off whoever they need to from their lives if need be, and start to look for those who truly love and care for them.

Namely, those who do not expect them to lie to protect an abusive partner, or a father who was an absolute prick, or what have you.

This is the way to resolve the pains stored in the body, and to be free from depression caused by feelings of helplessness. Even more so, this is the way to prevent the demons inside turning you into one of them, repeating the cycle, inflicting pain and harm from the infinite source of inferiority and helplessness deep inside.

Fuck your compassion for them, what about compassion for yourself first? 

The false temple of ten thousand misguided years needs to be brought down to the ground, stone by stone. It is time to stop worshipping an illusory Father. A new monument needs to be raised to truth – an open palm facing up toward the sky.

There is nothing good in lying to ourselves, and nothing good in respecting or protecting those who do not deserve it. I speak of course of the irredeemable – abusive partners, bosses, parents, family.

I do not trust those who have suffered and yet speak of forgiveness and compassion for the worst of humanity. I trust people who first serve their own interests through honesty, who free themselves from dependence upon abusers (the wellspring of hatred and vileness), to stand in the true light of their own self interest.

Only such a soul as that can be free from the price their body inflicts on them, and thus able to choose to be truly loving and forgiving, to those who deserve it.

Fight, flight, freeze

I have found recently that my response to danger tends toward a freeze response.

In situations with male aggressors my system starts to wobble and my ability to act diminishes. The heart pounds furiously and thoughts race, feelings of helplessness wash over me.

Even if I am in the right, my instinctual reaction is eventual to take the side of the aggressor / abuser, placate and tiptoe around them to avoid further conflict. To rationalize what happened somehow, to either make it my own fault or accuse myself of exaggeration. It takes a conscious effort to remind myself that he is in the wrong and I right.

I wonder where those survival strategies were developed…

Development –

As a child you know only those around you. You have no freedom to go anywhere on your own. Nor do you have much choice over who you come into contact with. The world immediately around you is the whole world. As a result, there is no way to compare and contrast. You take what happens to you as normal, and it becomes a default.

In those days, the god-guardians create the boundaries and expectations. There is no defeating them at that age – they are gods. Even growing to maturity, those feelings of fear and blasphemy are strong. Thoughts of ‘these people are my world, learn to placate them’ are still strong. Being able to navigate the world outside, which has ‘abusive and dangerous’ projected out from me on top of its existing abusiveness and dangerousness, is hard. It is a conscious effort to get there and not regress, a constant struggle against a sorrowful default.

These learned feelings of helplessness, of placation, conflict avoidance, not trusting my own voice, are deep inside. They are the soil of depression and endless misery. They conflict with other feelings of the need to right wrongs, to confront and seek justice. A real striving for happiness and wellbeing. There is a lion behind the trembling kitten, an utterly fearless warrior ready to fight it out, who knows that it is better to risk dying on your feet than living on your knees.

How draining this all is. The world of patriarchal relations, the inheritance of a male-dominated civilization. It is utterly shite. If only people dared to know better.

Fight, fight and fight –

Fight, flight, freeze. I still freeze before patriarchal gods I do not believe in. You don’t have to believe in them for them to have power. Flight from them means a constant retreat, leading to deflation of the spirit and surrender to the powers oppressing us. Flight leads into self-wrought cages of depression. A short retreat can be wise, but flight wants to get out from danger and never go back. There is a major difference.

Only fight is the valid instinctual response.

Against this, there is first a great barrier, a castle forged of psychic stones, and an ideology of obedience to the power without and distrust of the power within. My own rage and wrath frightens me, for just or no, it can lead to a prison in patriarchy.

One day there will be a fight, a great one which leaves many more deep wounds. There has to be sooner or later, as the years of bad mental health leave less and less to lose.

But I was made to believe in my own weakness, uselessness, fragility, dependence. None of these things indicate humility or virtue. They are all misperceptions, poisons of the soul.

Me, whose tales are filled with daring warriors and truth-seekers, trembling here. It won’t be forever, but it is now.