My biggest bully is living inside of me.
I never really understood my own thoughts, which is probably why no one else could understand them either. From a young age, I just remember living with a pit in my stomach, one that followed me everywhere, whether it was to school or to sleep. I remember just always feeling nervous, anxious, and somewhat undecided. I always knew what I wanted. I am, and always have been a go-getter and a doer. However, something inside of me just always second guessed my decisions. In my opinion, I am the most sure unsure person I have ever met. I know what I want deep down to the core, but my brain tells me otherwise. My whole life I have had my biggest bully living inside of me.
It got really bad when I entered my teen years. As a young girl, it really only showed leaving my mother or going somewhere that did not feel familiar. As a teenage girl, you meet more friends, you experience new things, and you fall in love for the first time.
Relationships. Relationships really started to trigger me. I wanted to be the perfect girlfriend, I wanted to be the perfect friend, I wanted to be the ideal person to have in life. Trying so hard to be perfect and find who I wanted to be made me lose who I really was. I pushed people away. I came on too strong. I did things that make me cringe when I even think about them. I know why I did them — my anxiety and my obsessive compulsiveness. “One more text will fix everything, one more phone call will right my wrongs, one more, one more, one more.” I wish I knew then what I know now.
My thoughts, my obsessiveness, it all made me grow up and understand life a lot quicker than the people surrounding me. To others I seemed crazy, but to me, I seemed like I was just showing how much I cared. I knew what I was doing wouldn’t fix anything. I knew what I was doing would be viewed as “crazy.” But my brain told me keep going. My brain told me things I wish I had never heard.
To outsiders, this seems insane. “Her brain tells her things?” Not necessarily. I don’t hear voices and I don’t hallucinate. But my brain tells me that I am not good enough, or that I need to fix something that never even broke because of my doing. I chased relationships and friendships that were not ruined because of me. I blamed myself for things that other people were doing to me. I was so hard on myself because I believed everything my anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness told me.
But today, I am 23 years old. Far from where I started but far from where I want to be. Elvira is her name. I call my brain Elvira. The obsessive thoughts, the anxiety, that is her. Whenever I am about to do something irrational, a little intense, completely out of the ordinary, or something I will regret, I tell her to shut up. I even sometimes write down what I’m thinking and either say. “Okay, this is rational,” or “What the actual heck am I saying right now?”
This is a very personal topic to me. I mean, who genuinely wants someone to know that they have this alter ego called Elvira that essentially bullies them on the daily? The answer is no one, obviously. But I’m sure there are a lot of “Elvira’s” out there. I just want you to know, you may have a bully living inside of you, but all you have to do is be one right back.
I remember I got really bad at one point. The thoughts were consuming me and a cloud of sadness just washed over me. I could barely get out of bed. It was the day of New Year’s Eve in 2017. I took a step into my kitchen and I couldn’t breathe. I started having a panic attack about leaving my room. It became that bad for me. I didn’t want to hurt myself. I just wanted to sleep. I didn’t want to think. Think about what I’ve done, whether it be making someone think I am crazy, annoying, or “dramatic.” Gosh, I hate that term. Dramatic? If you think I enjoy obsessing over everything or feeling so anxious that I cannot catch my breath, then please, hand me my Oscar right now because I’ve been doing a very good job of acting. I couldn’t handle worrying and crying and freaking out over every little thing, so I changed myself.
I didn’t change myself overnight. Heck, I didn’t even change myself over the last two years. I’m a work in progress, but not a totally broken or damaged one. I learned from Elvira. The people I pushed away were not my people. The ones who stuck by my side and listened to me all the nights I couldn’t sleep because my head was overflowing, those are my people. I won’t give you cliché advice like “Just breathe and relax.” Just breathe? Wow, thank you, everyone, I am finally cured!
No, I will be honest. Some days will suck. Some days Elvira lives inside of my head and stays for weeks rent-free. If you’re going to take up so much space in my life, can you at least pay me? How inconsiderate. Sometimes I open a book, I watch my favorite TV show (The Office, for those who are wondering), or even just call up my family members and talk about how I’m feeling. It’s amazing how many times I understood how silly and irrational my thoughts were once I said them out loud.
I am beautiful, I am strong, I am funny, and I am caring and kind. Who I was or how I have acted does not define me. Sometimes you live, other times you learn. To the people I have annoyed, bothered, or came off as crazy to: I am not, and I am sorry you never really got to know the real me, because I am awesome.
My biggest bully may live inside of me, but each day I grow and each day she goes. I belong to myself more than I will ever belong to anything else.