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Ideas & Opinions A disease wearing a costume

#1
Sometimes I feel like there are two people inside me (metaphorically, not as like a plural system type of thing), who I've taken to calling "Pollyanna" and "Melancholia". Pollyanna really believes it's possible to be universally liked, and devotes herself to that goal. She'll drop everything she's doing the second someone asks because she believes she can amass goodwill through acts of service.She's an aspiring social chameleon, trying to blend into any environment she finds herself in and reflexively agreeing with those around her, unless she's sure she can communicate her disagreements in a way that won't provoke any kind of negative reaction. She remembers the fallout from oversharing about depression, and she's not going to make that mistake again; she's going to shield everyone else from those feelings as long as possible.She won't correct people who slip up on pronouns, however much it hurts, because she doesn't want to seem pushy. She falls out of touch with friends, because that's better than being annoying and clingy. And she does everything she can to keep herself alive without inconveniencing people, because people would be hurt by her death. And as draining as all of this is, she believes it will all work. She thinks she can stop anyone from ever having negative feelings about her, and that that inherently justifies everything she demands of herself.

Melancholia finds all this nauseating. She knows trying to be liked by everyone is unsustainable. Do you think that your girlfriend would look at you the same way if she heard that off-color joke you told that got a giggle out of your co-worker a year and a half ago? Do you think your mom will put up with you living off of her rent-free forever? Do you think strangers don't look at your freak-body with scorn and disgust? How long do you really think you can keep this up before you're too irritable to keep pretending and someone yells at you again? Melancholia knows that she does essentially nothing all day and yet is somehow still tired. For a while, Melancholia is content to be alone and irresponsible, but it's not long before she starts wanting real rest, real freedom. An end to this combined feeling of overwhelming boredom that she's too mentally exhausted to do anything about. An end to the expectations Pollyanna keeps setting for both of them but consistently fails to meet. A permanent solution to the "temporary problem" that never, ever seems to go away.

And Melancholia knows she is alone. She knows whatever she says is "just the depression talking", that she's just seen as a dark cloud hanging over Pollyanna, who everyone sees as the "real" Esther. Melancholia deeply resents the fact that, of the two of them, that b***h with a forced, yellow smile across her mannish face and the delusion that she doesn't consistently look like a transvestite with a hangover who is constantly trying to "yes, and" her way through life is somehow the one who is "of sound mind". Whenever Pollyanna talks to a therapist about having "her depression" (read, Melancholia) under control as though she's some rash, Melancholia wants to scream "I may want to die and feel like s**t all the time, but at least I want and feel something!"

Between Pollyanna, who is just a costume, and Melancholia, who is just a disease, what am I? Just a disease wearing a costume?
 
#2
Well, I guess the real you is something different.

Maybe there are some aspects of each that you want to shed, but maybe the remaining aspects can be merged into the real you.

A good starting place may be to let your therapist know what's going on. The therapist should be equally comfortable dealing with Pollyanna and Melancholia. No part of you should have to feel like you need to hide during therapy.
 
#3
Well, I guess the real you is something different.

Maybe there are some aspects of each that you want to shed, but maybe the remaining aspects can be merged into the real you.
Maybe? They seem pretty irreconcilable.

A good starting place may be to let your therapist know what's going on. The therapist should be equally comfortable dealing with Pollyanna and Melancholia. No part of you should have to feel like you need to hide during therapy.
Without some sort of filter, Melancholia would start arguing both that I have an intrinsic human right to suicide and that it is the only possible resolution to a lot of my problems, which is the kind of thing that could potentially break confidentiality, especially since she has a tendency to come up with detailed plans when she feels more "in control". Melancholia's behavior is goal-directed, and when she wants to make a particular decision for herself, she's going to avoid giving others the power to make that decision for her, if possible.
 

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