In recent years I’ve embraced a more contrarian nature than previously adopted during earlier adult life. Middle-age granting me the wisdom that staying true to my beliefs were an infinitely preferable bedfellow to compromising principles to curry favour. The latter displays of appeasement frustratingly occasionally granted to people completely unworthy of my respect.
My former behaviour manifesting from a misguided belief I was following a laudable strategy to improve/maintain popularity. A path I now know to be bereft of dignity and utterly contemptible, selling my true capabilities short as I fought to keep my head above water within many aspects of my existence.
A flawed approach that contributed to the exact opposite occurring. Leaving me on a solitary path, eventually leading to residing in a gutter of self-loathing perpetuated by the erratic mind games born from suffering a depressive disorder.
Occasionally taking yourself outside of your comfort zone a worthy advocacy, however if you remain constantly out of that zone you’re in big trouble, as I found out to my cost.
I recently read a quote from the late rock star David Bowie in which he posited “Ageing is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should’ve been.” An adage I related to after becoming aware I’d many capabilities and wasn’t the skill-less buffoon my capricious mind had wrongly led me to belief for many years.
This realisation of my many capabilities unearthed by the self-counselling of starting to write a daily blog, setting up my own website and revelation of previously veiled awareness of my physical and mental wherewithal. My newly held notions leading to the conclusion I’d arrived at the person I always should’ve been, as relayed by Bowie in the adage above.
Am I angry with myself for previously concentrating solely on my flaws at the expense of the many good things I did and was capable of? – Damned right I am, but on the flip side I’m pleased I got to this stage of self-awareness eventually. Better late than never I suppose.
Don’t get me wrong, I remain fully aware I’m still a deeply flawed individual. Thankfully for my sanity, though, that doesn’t gnaw away at me anymore as it did five years ago. I accept it as part of life, instead attempting to focus on the positive behavioural traits of GJ Strachan.
I’m immensely proud of the fact I’ve adopted a self-help and growth strategy to confront my mental demons. A rehab path which saw me start penning the aforementioned blog which I published on a website I set up, along with undertaking around fifty separate instances of voluntary work. Just a few of my undertakings that’ve helped increase my feeling of self-worth.
Earlier in the year someone mentioned that I’ve only been able to undertake the above cathartic strategy as I’ve not been working full-time like they have. A statement that of course bears a great deal of truth.
That being said though I’d argue that, despite my benefit of time unavailable to the majority of people in adulthood, it’s to my credit I avoided the wallowing in self-pity option, a strategy that wouldn’t have born any mental recovery mileage. Instead choosing to adopt the tougher and more fruitful path of spending thousands of unpaid hours writing and undertaking voluntary work for cancer charities.
After my heart attack in January this year, someone asked if I’d been scared of dying during the incident. I’d imagine a fairly common question directed at those who’d suffered cardiac arrest. My response was that I wasn’t scared of dying (after all I’d be unaware I was dead), but had been terrified I’d not get a few more years to undertake the skills I’d hidden for so much of my existence. Pastimes that finally restored the self-worth that’d evaded me for decades.
Some may deem my candour in this blog to be excessive. My locutions ill-judged, exhibiting weakness and/or the undignified exposure of elements of my life that should remain guarded. On the contrary, I deem full disclosure/admission of flaws and actions to mitigate them as highly therapeutic in the fight with mental illness.
Prior to concluding this monologue, the message I’m attempting to convey within this piece is aimed at people struggling with similar self-esteem issues I’d experienced. To those I’d advocate you put your faith in Bowie……. Well, his observations on the ageing process anyway. As great as the song below is, I’d not put a lot in store to it’s lyrics; especially the bit about Mickey Mouse growing from a cow!