On Staying Rational Even When I’m a Paranoid Mess


You can be a really paranoid, unhappy, cynical person and still love rainbows, butterflies, puppies and sunshine. Coming to terms with that fact has helped me tremendously to come to terms with myself. I don’t have multiple personality disorder, but I’ve always felt there are two people living inside me who are diametrically opposed.

See, I can’t hate everything. Ferry rides are great!

One self is a great friend, makes decisions that will make other people happy even when she’s not really feeling that decision. This self is incredibly understanding, resilient, confident. She has a lot of love to give, but she’s not afraid to walk away from someone when she’s not getting what she needs from them.

The other self is needy, angry, suspicious, jealous, and ferocious. She’s made many a man cry, thinks people are generally awful,  doesn’t believe in true love in any kind of relationship whether it be romantic or friendship. Essentially, this self is a scared animal who has a lot of triggers, which can set her off into a state of panic.

The more together self, talks to me in the mirror sometimes now. I like her; she says the right things and calms me down, makes me handle things rationally. I get hurt easily, but she reminds me not to express this hurt in destructive ways. Over the years I’ve learned that to hold this hurt in only leads to more problematic incidents in the future. It’s healthier for me to more frequently question someone’s behavior than to keep feeling slighted and hold it inside until it all explodes.

To give a concrete example, a guy I’m currently involved in is sometimes terrible at responding to texts. The real issue is that we’re a continent apart for now so this kind of communication, along with Skype and facebook, is more important than it would be if we were physically together. So sometimes when I don’t get a response, my mind, which runs very wild ,very frequently, jumps to the conclusion that I’ve said or done something wrong and lost him. At this point I have to remind myself it’s been nearly five months and I’m allowed to be honest with him about my fears.

The other night, when we were both a little drunk, we had a heart to heart about us. About missing each other, my fear of him abruptly telling me he hates me (or the less extreme, “I’m not interested anymore”). I suppose because my own feelings can change on a dime, because I’ve been cruelly treated and blindsided before, I’m terrified. I’m scared shitless of a good thing. And I told him this, and he was very reassuring. We ended the conversation with me asking if he would text me the next day, and he said yes. But he didn’t.

I had a myriad of bitchy things to say to him. The timing of the situation made me mad, but more so it made me worried. Slowly but surely he’s been earning my trust, doing things when he says he will, and being generally patient and awesome and wonderful. Had our conversation changed that? Had my opening up, my vulnerability, scared him off? I waited the whole day, but a couple glasses of wine in, I caved and texted him. But it was nothing mean.

Eventually, I admitted I was sad he’d never texted when I’d asked him to. He didn’t understand why I hadn’t texted him and reminded me this was a two way street. Then he told me he’d felt vulnerable the night before too. I’m not entirely sure if he was teasing me, but either way the conversation never moved towards a fight, and instead ended in the closest we’ve come to having a mushy, “I like you more, no like you more” conversation.

I hope there’s not a limit on how many times you can be honest with someone about your insecurities, but I think if there is, it’s a much higher limit if you’re prepared to articulate these feelings in a straight-forward, non-aggressive way. And I’m trying very very hard to take the advice of the incredibly rational, sane half of me rather than give into the urges of the scared, paranoid parts of myself. The girl I don’t want to be.

It’s taken me awhile, too, to realize that these two people inside me are still, in fact, both parts of myself. Those good qualities are there and I’m a worthwhile person to keep around (even though sometimes I struggle to believe this), and maybe it is possible that my friends and the boy I deeply care for can see this even when I can’t. Because even though there are a lot of days when all I see is a grey, terrible world, where I feel I hate all things, I really do still love bunnies, television, and cupcakes.

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