What’s Wrong With Me?

What exactly is it that troubles me? I need to get a handle,on whatever it is that’s making me feel continually depressed. I’m unhappy more often than not.

1. Insecurity. The deep-seated suspicion that I am tolerated, but not liked. This much I know: it comes from the belief that I am inadequate.

2. The pressured feeling that I cannot seem to escape, to be what other people expect me to be. I have to fight to be who I am. Not fight other people…..fight myself! I feel guilty at the slightest sense that I have disappointed someone else by choosing for myself instead of them. A typical example is social expectations. A while back I needed directions to someone’s home. Upon asking for them I was told, “If you’d come to a party now and then you wouldn’t need directions.”. The thing is, I HATE parties. The only reason I would go to one is because someone else wanted me to, and that’s just not a good enough reason any more. At this point in my life, living up to others’ expectations is costing too much. But convincing myself that it’s ok to do what I want to do is proving to be daunting.

3. My lifelong state of disorganization, messiness and inability to create a peaceful environment around me. Every time I see an unweeded flower bed, a jam-packed closet, the cluttered basement or garage I experience a deep sense of disappointment in myself. Yet something keeps me from just chucking everything, as if things were somehow important. The result is a sort of paralysis….I’m discontent with how things are, but overwhelmed at the enormity of the task, to the point of throwing up my hands because I’m so sure I can’t handle it, and don’t even know how or where to begin. I’ve had a good career as a music educator, but I’ve never been able to balance work and home.

4. Speaking of balance, the lack of it may also be a source of my deep discontent. Either I’m too busy, or I’m at loose ends and almost completely unproductive. I know that if I did everything that is asked of me virtually all my personal time would be siphoned off.

5. And speaking of my career, I see on the horizon the looming finish to the only thing I’ve ever been any good at. It has to happen. I must retire. I want to retire. But who will I be then?

6. Anger. What’s that all about? I suspect it’s key to this entire problem.

7. My introverted nature. I truly do understand why introversion can be perceived as a disorder instead of as a personality type. Combined with depression I find that my craving for solitude is not always healthy. Part of the need to be alone is energy drain. I spend a lot of time with a lot of people and I need that peace and quiet to recharge. But there comes a point where avoidance of people keeps me from doing the God-given tasks that I believe are mine to do. Where does being an introvert cross the line into selfishness; into not being a good friend; into keeping my time for myself instead of sharing some of it with family and friends? I really try to keep some equilibrium in my nature, but it’s work.

I just want to be content with myself. :0(


10 comments on “What’s Wrong With Me?”

  1. I literally agree with you on every point, and have all this in my journal.
    I am not satisfied either, because I live at home and am therefore unable to escape my family just yet.

    • I journal as well, and I find it a very good way to work things through. This particular journal entry happened to make its way onto my blog.

      In spite of my melancholy tendencies I do have a touch of optimist in me….sooner or later, we’ll work all of this out.

      Thanks for taking a moment to touch base, and let me know that I’m not alone.

  2. Trust yourself, that is where you will find the ability to trust others. Worry not about what other people are thinking, there’s really no way for you to know anyway is there? You must learn to care for yourself, as others will expect you to do so, although their actions will not always convey it. At our roots, we want to care for one another. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone, you will never succeed there. Focus on making yourself happy, and finding friends who are happy because you are happy, after all those are the only friends worth keeping in the end anyway. Do not worry over daunting tasks, they will happen over time. One does not simply complete complex involved tasks in a day. Take time to work out the little problems, and the big ones will take care of themselves, as is their nature. You cannot do such large things in a day, do do not try. Instead break them down into manageable pieces, and always remember to celebrate the victories. It is okay, acceptable and encouraged to say “no” to people who ask for your time. They will understand, or they will not and go away, never to ask again. Either way, your problem is solved. Retirement is coming, and after that you will still be you. Your career never defined you, even if it let you. You are still you, and just because you’ve changed what you do on a day to day basis does not mean you have changed. Find your identity in something less temporal, such as God, or your own self. Anger is not the key, rather a byproduct of letting these things get to you. Once you realize the simplicity of the problem you face, and the solution of just letting go of that which harms you, your anger will disappear. I feel like you have pursued a life and a vision for who you think you should be based on the ideas of those around you. Introversion is fine. Nothing is wrong with you. You are simply a human dealing with very human things. If you need peace and quiet to recover and recharge take it. But keep in mind that an overcharged battery works just as well as a dead one. If you want to be content with yourself, then be content with yourself. Those are your emotions and your thoughts you’re talking about there, if you’re not controlling them then who is? Find out. And let me know. And Jane, if that is your real name, you are loved by more people than you will ever know, I can guarantee it.

    • Thanks Daniel! I especially appreciate your final comment. Being loved is what everyone needs…..just as much as food and water.

      Yep…my real name is Jane, and I’m working at learning to be content with myself. Trouble is, I can control how I react to my emotions, but I can’t control the emotions themselves, so contentedness, or peace, eludes me, simply because it’s so much WORK! I always thought that peace, by definition, would be…well…peaceful. :0)

      I have seen growth in all of these areas except the disorganization, but again, it’s hard work, and right now I seem to be having a lot of growing pains.

      Thank you so much for the time and thought that you took to comment and encourage! :0)

  3. I understand how you’re feeling, especially the part about disorganization and insecurity. I struggle with these things everyday. I’m a college student and musician myself. I’m wondering if it IS a personality thing that makes us feel this way. I wonder if the thing inside of us that let’s us appreciate the beauty of music to the absolute fullest is the same thing that allows us to feel so terrible about ourselves and world around us. It might go back to the tortured artist concept. Regardless, as hard as it seems, try to focus on the positive. I’m telling you this because I have to convince myself to focus on the positive all the time. Try to stay positive.

    • You know, Chris, I also have wondered whether personality includes the areas we’ve defined as problems. I think I’m going to do a little study on personality types, and see if depression, insecurity and disorganization are part and parcel of being an introvert. It will certainly help me, and if I decide to blog what I find, maybe it would help some of us to understand each other.

      As for being a musician, it’s a large part of the time crunch problem. I’m an introvert musician married to an extrovert musician. Many times people expect that what ever he’s doing will automatically include me. Therefore, I get sucked into a lot of things that I wouldn’t ordinarily do on my own. On top of that…here come the holidays. Between church and school, that means umpteen performances, extra nights out for rehearsals and a lot of energy sapping running around. So, this year, I’m cutting myself a few breaks: I’ve eliminated an optional school performance from my schedule and declared that I will participate in the Christmas Eve service OR the Christmas Day service, but not both. It’s been received very well…..so far. (Until some keyboard player or singer can’t show up at the last minute, then….sucked in again.)

      I do try to stay positive. I know that I have SO much to be grateful for. Sometimes I try to imagiine what life would be like if I HAD to be alone all the time. I know I’m not a complete hermit, because I don’t think I’d like it for long. I just have to find that balance. On the other hand…part of my problem may be that so many people think that I am positive, because I keep this all bottled up most of the time. Time to pop the cork, perhaps.

      Thanks thanks thanks for commenting! Reassurance that I’m not alone, and therefore not abnormal, is so comforting!

  4. Jane, I feel your pain and confusion, and encourage you to keep seeking answers. Though unpleasant, inner restlessness is simply your brain’s way of capturing your attention, which is a good thing! Learn to listen . . . hear what your ‘self’ is trying to tell you . . . it will let you know what you need to be happy, to be at peace. Please do not be afraid.

    Ignore the cacophony of voices telling you WHO to be. You are perfect the way you are. Individualists in a conformist culture travel a rough road, but with each other’s help we can traverse even the toughest terrain. Know who your real friends are, and release all others.

    If I could, I’d gift you a hug and the perfect amount of quiet time ❤

    Practice self-care, dear one . . . you are so deserving. xo

    • Thanks Amy, for making me feel, if not normal, at least not quite so “out there.”
      I think that , although I am indeed learning to hear and know what it is I need, acting on it is what gives me so much angst. I think I may be like the proverbial pendulum that was swung way over in the “please everyone at all costs” direction, and has now swung over to the “please myself at all costs” direction. I’m waiting for the balance to come….when I am able to do both, as appropriate.

      In some ways, I have always been better at self-care than many people I know, because my need for solitude always asserts itself, sooner or later. Recently, it’s sooner and more often. I’m not used to sooner and more often.

      Thanks, as always, for your insight. I value it!

  5. Jane….I could have written this post….I’m so drained by an increasingly demanding job that I covet selfishly all of my free time…I’m not even giving God his due and actually resent going to church these days as it’s one more demand on my time…….I wish I had some real answers to the dilemma…I’ve been disappointing people by my lack of availability, haven’t been returning phone calls and quite honestly, I seldom pick up the phone anymore.

    Anger and depression go hand in hand…I’ve always found the two to be companions …..I think I heard that depression is anger turned inwards?

    I don’t like parties either and find any excuse to avoid them. I do prefer small, intimate gatherings with a few people at a time….people I’m comfortable with, people I trust and people who won’t judge me for being the imperfect mess I often find myself.

    I’m trying to let go of the guilt associated with disappointing other people and their expectations of me….I also feel often tolerated rather than truly liked….in my better moments I realize this is the devil messing with me but that nagging doubt often persists…

    As for what’s wrong with you…well nothing except being burdened with the human condition with all it’s quirks and messiness.

    It’s for all these reasons that we need a Savior who understands the brokenness of the human condition and tolerates and loves us anyway. This is the only thing I have to hold onto sometimes….and sometimes I have trouble finding my way to that basic truth.

    I’m not the man I should be. I know it. I don’t know what to do about it. I simply don’t feel much like interacting with the rest of the human race these days which seems to fly in the face of our responsibilities as Christians.

    I feel like a sham when I walk into church many Sundays. I hate that feeling when I see tons of people who seem to have it all figured out, who seem to enjoy the community of like minded individuals..and all I want to do is sit quietly and unobtrusively in the back row.

    I think I’ve rambled and I think I’ve been less than encouraging….but your post hit a nerve is so many of my own struggles….I hope it at least helps to know that you aren’t alone in how you feel and struggle….and I think you are a pretty terrific person as is.

  6. Chris, on the contrary, you are ALWAYS an encouragement to me. We are companions on the path of “working through it.” (See the big directional sign posts? ———–> “Work through it.” <———–"Run away." When I am tempted to run away, you remind me that I'm not on this road alone…….and DRAG me back onto the path. LOL….just kidding.)

    None of us are who we "should" be…but you're right: that's exactly why Jesus had to come. It's stuff like this that shows me just how trapped we really are. My guess is that no personality has it all together…each type of person has their own issues to deal with. And, as I said in a previous comment, I think I'm going to find out more about ALL of the personality types, so I can know what those issues are, understand myself and other people better, and maybe reduce my own insecurity with knowledge.

    Sharon made me feel so much better the other day, by saying that all of the busyness of the holidays really gets to her, and she needs to put her foot down. You know, just because the church decides to have multiple services and activities doesn't mean that we have to attend all of them. This might be an instance when it would be good for EVERYONE to recognize that you can't just stuff a bunch of people into the same box. Some people need all of that activity and fellowship. Others, not so much. And a general, traditional rule that everyone needs to be involved up to their ears just doesn't fit all of us. I guess it wouldn't make much sense to have an introvert's small group. None of us would ever show up! Or…maybe we would, if were really a SMALL group of connected people.

    I am so glad that we are friends. It makes me smile that we are getting to know each other more through writing and social media than actual face to face contact…..how typical of both of us! You're pretty terrific yourself. :0)

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