Just feel I should offer a head’s up but this article ain’t heading anywhere pretty. It’s also abit of mess to read, if I’m honest. Hard to avoid what with the topic and all. Took me two days to type and post over how much this hit me. Might have been a bit too confident in myself by going back to this place so soon after getting out. But hopefully it was worth it. Hopefully, this helps.
I want to talk about that bastard Yibiny.
For a brief catch up, Yibiny stands for You-but-not-you. I figure you know exactly what I’m talking about, but let’s get into detail anyway. So first of all, here is something we all need to remember about Yibiny.
Yibiny is a bag of shit. This is crucial so please jot that down.
Yibiny is the voice in your head that says “why bother?”.
Yibiny is that feeling you get when you look in the mirror and think “fuck you”.
Yibiny is the thought that no one loves you, and why would they, just look at you.
Yibiny is the you that is not you. It’s the evil doppelganger out to corrupt and pervert everything about you. It is the evil long lost twin that wants to inflict pain. The psychic entity that knows what makes us happy, and sets out to pervert it. It is, to each of us, our own personal arch-nemesis. And I’m going to tell you what I did that got it to (for a while at least) shut up.
Somehow, I don’t think this will be a fun one but hopefully, we can fit a smile or even a chortle (always time for a chortle) in here somewhere.
If ya want to simplify things, I was down but then someone said “cheer up” and wah-hey, I was all good, totally sorted! Imagine the guffaw I had thinking “why I hadn’t thought to do that earlier?”.
Ugh, I must apologise.
If you can’t tell, I’m trying to avoid this. It’s only human.
But it wouldn’t be right to make it all seem so small. It’s anything but small. The thing is a beast that not everyone conquers. The herculean task we all go through in our lives. It’s the grimdark epic we all bare the toll of. I’m really dragging on with the preamble here, sheesh. Fuck it, let’s dive in.
It’s October 2017 and I hate myself. And it kept. On. Building.
I could set the scene better, maybe mention the weather, but fuck if I noticed. I was well and truly numbed at this stage. And I had all the good stuff that comes with it.
First came the sudden blips in my short term memory. Talking, typing, writing, going to the fridge for… Something? Whatever I was currently occupied by was plucked from my grasp. I’d be sitting on my couch and then HEY PRESTO, I’m out by the sink, confused as to what I’m doing here. So I pour myself a drink as I must be thirsty and instead return to the sitting room, where my son queries if I got him the biscuits he had asked for. This, in turn, would keep me up at night. What if one day I just forget to pick him up from school or forget I had him in the park. Now, do understand, it never got to those stages, but the fear of it getting there? Yeah, that fucked me up big time.
If your still here, you’ll recall I said the memory blips came first.
In actuality, I’m not sure if that is true. It makes more sense that the sleep deprivation came first but the blips were by far the scariest part so figured we should start with what stuck out the most. Sleep deprivation sounds like no biggy without context. Anyone who suffered from it knows the joys all too well. And shur, if it is gonna keep you up, it might as well bring company.
Where-ever it strikes, always around the corner is its trusted sidekick, isolation. As Master Yoda said, “Tiredness is the path to the dark side. Tiredness leads to anxiety. Anxiety leads to self-hatred. Self-hatred leads to suffering”. It’s where the fall really starts.
Because it’s in those moments when Yibiny first finds you. When it’s past 3AM and you’ve been through a full working day with another right around the corner. When you tell yourself that there is nothing in your immediate future to look forward to, It strikes.
You consider plans with your friends. “Friends?” Yibiny says. “What friends? They just humour you.”
The first time this thought enters your head, you shrug it off. Maybe even laugh it off.
But what about the hundredth time that thought creeps in? Or the thousandth? Now it’s set the bait, and the lure is so dangerously enticing. At first, you might cancel some plans. Sure, you are genuinely exhausted and you tell yourself that “there’s always next time” but Yibiny’s teeth are in you now. And somehow, it feels empowering to say no to your friends. So you do it again. And again.
And so that isolation, that was so addictive at the start, has turned into a trap. Ensnared in your solitude, your voice turns inward. But it’s not your voice now, is it? It’s the Other. The You But Not You. And what terrible truths It has to share. About you, your value, and your dreams. And you believe It, because it’s you.
Only, it’s not.
It never was.
I’d been listening to this for months, years even. How my friends don’t like me, they just pretend to put up with me out of habit. That if they invite me someplace, they all have another group chat where they discuss and agree that it would be better if I didn’t turn up. How people just humour me, that they feign to listen in the hopes I’ll go away. That those I hold dear would be better off without me. “Loser” was a word I called myself a lot. I admit, I still do from time to time, but it’s a tad more playful these days.
So in October 2018, I decided I was gonna do it.
I was going to die.
I feel I’m betraying the idea of this place somewhat here but as this very recent history for me, I’m gonna gloss over a wee bit here. Mostly, because I’m afraid of letting that idea back in. I’m still very much so in the recovery process so I’m hoping you’ll cut me some slack here.
So since roughly October 2017, I had been in this battle, and every day I was losing. Yibiny was gaining more and more ground. There’s a certain point when depression almost becomes reassuring, isn’t there? You’ve had it for so long, it convinces you it’s a trait now. Your own body is held hostage, like some weird masturbatory version of Stockholm syndrome.
I had given up. I was done.
Whenever these thoughts enter our head, there is a twisted moment of euphoria. With acceptance, comes relief. The stress and weights of the world feel a little lighter now. “What’s the worry, it’ll all be over soon” we tell ourselves. In that moment when we say it, we’ve lost.
So it’s fortunate then that I live in a one storey house with no way to anchor or properly leverage rope. And I ain’t massive or anything, but I would need some generous rope to keep my horse’s neck hoisted. Basically, if I was going to do this in my own home, I’d need to take up an evening course in carpentry so it got nixed for a brief window. This would prove to be the one time that my lack of drive for things I’m passionate about would prove beneficial to my well-being. So, in hindsight, I want to thank both my lack of ambition and my large waist for me being here to type this.
During that time, I began to try reason with myself. That I was being paranoid for nothing. That not only was I liked and loved, but I was worthy of it. That I had it in me to make others happy. That I wasn’t a shell of what I was and I could be the “old me” again.
I just had to prove it.
So, like I said in a different post, I love engaging with people. Getting to know them and finding out what makes em tick. I try my best to be as honest as I can if asked a question and I hope to encourage that same openness in others. I think people find out fairly quick if we’re gonna click or not as a result. It’s faster and healthier for all involved.
So, there was a party coming up at work. Drink would be involved, the usual hoo-haw, ya get the gist (jist? gist? It’s gist right?). Any time that I’ve felt like “this is it, this is the day I’m gonna do it” I knew I hadn’t it in me to go through with it. That pain though, the pain of wanting to go is immeasurable. Unquantifiable. If it was ever going to happen, liquid courage was needed. So, fucked as it may sound, I set a date.
As the day approached, I was getting worse. I didn’t really know anyone at the time. And that’s on me really. I didn’t try to interact or bond with those around me. Mostly because my anxiety convinced me that if I stopped to talk, I’d be out of a job. So I’d turn up, turn off my personality cortex and be a dutiful employee. Which does not help when going to a social engagement. While worrying about this, about what happens next, an idea hit me.
To challenge what it was Yibiny had told me about myself.
So I called Yibiny out on the shit I had believed for so long. That people didn’t just pretend to like me. That I was likeable. That I was fun. Yet even as I said it, I admit I still didn’t believe it, but I had to try.
So try, I did.
Initially, I kept it small and breezy. I’d just purposely smile or make a dumb face when I saw my reflection. I’m sure I looked mad but this was about clawing back my identity. About defining myself again and making me, mine. I associated mirrors with opportunities to put myself down so now I needed to make it about just making me laugh.
Next up, doing something I that I had dismissed as impossible for me, so in this instance,
finding the G-spot learning to drive! Now, I still can’t do it, in fact I’m barely any closer to it, but I had the missus drag me someplace quiet and together, she instilled enough confidence in me that I could do a wee bit of turning, switching gears, and stopping the car without having a pile-up. I have to stress, I know that’s all baby stuff to some people, but for me, it was huge.
More importantly, it was another victory.
And so, we entered the endgame.
The last piece was the most significant by far. Attending the staff get together.
Now, there wasn’t a lot there, possibly a dozen or so. But I have never done well in crowds. Oh, I can get loud with the best of em, but how can you know who might get uppity about what or even if there is anyone there to click with!
My point to myself was this,
That I’ve been telling myself that my friends don’t like me was something I had yet to beat. I could acknowledge that it would make no sense for them to hang out with me if what I thought was true, and while it was easy to rationalise that point to myself, it was another thing entirely to believe it.
And so I went with the party gambit. My brain had me emotionally fucked in regards to my friends, but what about the other party-goers. Some might know my name, but most had no idea who I was. If I could get along with these people who had no reason or emotional investment to pretend to like me, to pretend that I was likeable, then that should surely prove Yibiny wrong?
So I went out and for a while, it was a struggle. I think we can all agree that “the weather is rough, ain’t it?” as a convo starter SHOULD BE SHOT but when trying to put the feelers out, it can be hard to avoid the simple stuff. I’ve never been into sportsball of any kind but fucking hell I wish I did. It would be so much easier to start off with “Some game, isn’t it?”. Sadly, my particular hobbies wouldn’t be so universally praised. Like most people having a passing interest in Star Wars, but I can’t see many wanting to hear me explain why we wouldn’t have morality systems in games (in the way we know them) if Revenge of the Sith came out a few years sooner!
Shit, time to dial it back.
So I went out, had some fun with mostly (or relatively) known strangers and guess what, it worked! The stupid plan worked! That small, fragile sense of camaraderie did so much for me. These folks had no reason to like me or chat or laugh alongside me, but they did. And when I woke up the next day, it was like something had been released. I’m under no pretence that most of the people I hung out with will forget my name soon, if not already. And that’s ok.
Yibiny, my Yibiny, was beaten.
And by fuck did it feel good.
Everything seemed a bit brighter the next day. I slept better, my mind felt sharper and I felt something I couldn’t or wouldn’t allow myself to feel in the past few months.
As the weeks went on, things improved all around me. I could see it when I looked in the mirror. My posture improved, I became more outspoken and probably the biggest change, I smiled when I looked in the mirror. I’m meek by nature so I doubt many picked up on this, and that’s ok. I could see it. I could tell. But most importantly, I remembered something we all forget when our sleep patterns betray us and our mental health begins to fail
That I matter.
And so do you.
Firstly, if you read all of that, thank you. I wish I could be more expressive with my language but I felt it best to just throw it out as I feel it with this. Sharp emotions don’t respect the editor and this topic is ill-suited towards flowery language.
Forcing me to look at myself and challenge my demons worked for me, fuck, let’s be real, it saved my life. But have no doubt, I still think it’s highly irresponsible of me to not seek professional help. I toiled with this stuff for a long time before finally trying to handle it. I’m hoping my story has provided some distraction or comfort to you, but please understand that I have no merits in this field.
P.S If you need someone to talk to someone about anything discussed here, feel free to get in touch and always remember your local support groups and hotlines. This world can fuck you up. If you can relate to any of this, I’m so sorry for what you went through or are currently living through. I wish I could take that pain away from you.
See you next time.