The Emperors Old Clothes

Now What or What Now? 
I was diagnosed two years ago as suffering from “severe clinical depression”. 

I have suffered without having the label for all of my adult life and much of my childhood. 

However, for much of my adult life I was a reasonably successful manager of people, being responsible for over 300 at any time and though I often suffered pangs of self doubt, in public I was seen to be very confident if not a little arrogant. What I had learned to do was to ‘act’, and I seemingly was very good at it because almost no one seemed to suspect.
Avoidance was a good way of keeping my secret. Avoiding close personal relationships, friendships, leading rather than following, (being in charge prevents lots of awkward questions!)
Then life changed, I lost my job, and with it my authority, I lost my marriage and with it my purpose, I fought for a while to keep it but in the struggle lost my dignity, but worst of all, the mechanisms I had perfected for hiding my insecurities stopped working! My real self was on show for all too see. I was the naked Emperor and nothing I did seemed capable of covering my nakedness. I was ashamed of what and who I was.
C.B.T., group therapy, anger management classes, prescription drugs, more prescription drugs, different prescription drugs, hypnosis, individual psychotherapy, counselling, all these and others have been tried none have had a long term effect, some had no effect at all! Today I hope….; I hope for a cure, in the sure and certain knowledge that there will never be one. I have to find new ways to ‘act’ that hide my real self because the real me is tiresome to the mentally well and to be honest pretty bloody tiresome to me as well!
So far, of all the “treatments” I have been exposed too, the one that seems to have the most effect is this one, this writing thing; more specifically, this anonymous writing thing. It’s too simplistic to say its cathartic but it is having an effect, it is helping me to understand myself a little better.
Avoid worthlessness. Put a premium on your Dignity!
I realised recently that it had long been a wish of mine to be a writer and actor/performer and that along life’s meanderings my wishes for myself had been forgotten or set aside so that the “acting” me,( you know the one who was always in charge!) could be supporting and understanding and mentoring of everyone else. I became what everyone else wanted and never really ever got to decide who I was. The consequence of this is that I now have no self esteem. I am pleased to find that the real me is actually sensitive, romantic even, that I see more good in others than I used too, am able to celebrate the successes of others without jealousy, enjoy reading the words of others and love the ability that the internet offers to engage directly with the author, but I am nervous that amongst my family and ‘friends’ ( Many of the former, few of the latter), that these qualities are a little effete and unsubstantial, but that’s OK because for now as I am able to share them with the digital ether that is the inter-web.
Well, as I sit here writing this I am no longer naked, but nor am I fully clothed.

The one time Emperor, stripped of his kingdom, his dignity,all that he held dear, can no longer afford a tailor to make his clothes; He’s learning to make his own, stitching the threads of his life back together, one experience at a time. It’s a slow process and I prick my thumb frequently but hopefully, one day, we shall have glorious new clothes. (Hopefully!)

ATB


Agides xx

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