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For Those Lost In A Self-Hate Spiral

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Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

This is an open letter to anyone who is, has previously been, or may at some point in the future find themselves lost in a spiral of self-hatred and negative self-talk. You are not alone, take my hand.

I get it. You’re feeling some kind of way about yourself. You’ve done something that doesn’t align with the person you want to be, with the person who you know you are or can be inside. You might have eaten more than you think you should. You might have handled an interaction with someone in a less than ideal way, and now everyone’s mad at everyone else. 

You might have not done so well on an exam as you’d have liked and you’re wondering who the heck let you onto this course in the first place. Whatever it was that happened, you’re left with this feeling. You’re uncomfortable.

It could be physical discomfort, you could be bloated, or anxious, or exhausted. Or it could be the type of discomfort that we feel deep down within our souls. The kind that sits there like a lead weight, holding us down no matter how hard we fight to reach the light. 

This kind of discomfort doesn’t go away with some lemon water or tapping techniques. It sits in the pit of our stomach, not screaming to get our attention but simply whistling quietly, just loud enough for us to hear and then strain to hear better. It tricks us into working hard to give it attention.

We side-eye it; we pretend we can’t hear it and hope it’ll go away like the shapes we used to see in the dark as children. We pray that ignorance really is bliss. Except that it isn’t, it doesn’t go away. Instead, it grows, it gets heavier, it demands that we pay attention to it and let it control how we feel about ourselves. When our attempts to ignore it result in an even more intense feeling of helplessness, when the light that we’re desperately reaching for seems as far away as it has been, it can be easy to give up. 

We can give in to the downward spiral of hating ourselves, our bodies, our personalities, our life choices. We end up at the bottom of a hole that feels impossible to climb back out of and we just sit there. We can’t feel any worse. We can’t feel any better. We just are. We become numb.

If this is you. If this has been you. If this ever is you. Know that it doesn’t last. I can’t tell you how to stop it from happening, or even how to help yourself once you’ve recognised that it is happening. I do know that in one moment, you will be laughing at something stupid, you’ll be smiling at the face of some you love, and you’ll notice. You’re bathed in the warmth of the light that felt so far out of reach. You won’t know how you got there either, but you did. And you will again.

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