A couple of years back, I went on a trip with three of my college friends. Whilst on that trip, I read some messages from which I found out that two of them hated me – big time! I read all these remarks they had made about me and how they wished I was dead so they didn’t have to deal with me. The next day I found out my grandmother had passed away. My immediate reaction to all this was nothing. I just didn’t react. I acted normal, as if I knew nothing. Two days later when we came back home, I confronted them that I knew about their feelings towards me, and I would just stop talking to them from now on. Yet, I didn’t have any reaction. When they replied, point by point, telling me why they hated me so much, I remember, I was sitting alone in my house, shaking as I read those texts, crying – finally, and everything turned hot, suddenly. I was not angry at them, I was angry at myself, for making them hate me. I was blaming myself for the person I was. I hated myself. Even I wished I was dead.
I’ve never had many friends, so I didn’t know whom to share it with. I didn’t know anyone who would understand. So I confided in a friend from class, told her everything. She told me I should move on. I agreed. ‘I will just pretend to be happy’, I decided. That’s what I did. I pretended to be happy, the best that I could. But I would come back home, everyday I would lie down on my bed and feel a pain inside me that I didn’t know how to cure. I had to face them everyday and they were happy. My pain didn’t bother them. And why would it? They wanted me gone and they got what they wanted. Thinking they would be sad was my stupidity. But I was sad, broken, helpless and alone.
Nobody told me it was going to be okay. Nothing hugged me and told me they will be there for me. Instead, some told me to just move on. Some told me to stop being sad all the time. Some told me to stop acting the victim. Some told me to not cry. Some told me to make other friends. Nobody told me it wasn’t my fault. Even I didn’t tell it to myself.
I developed a lot of trust issues after that. ‘You don’t deserve to have friends.’ , the last thing they said to me. It kept echoing in my ears. And I believed it, for a long time. I decided that I’m never going to make friends. I used to think everyone is judging me, and I started losing my confidence. I would stand up in front of the mirror and hate what I saw.
One day, I decided to be strong. I decided that I’m going to defeat what I’ve become. I decided to work on myself. I started studying harder. I started talking to more people, even though I had no intention of befriending them. I started going out more. I did everything that I thought would help me. Nothing did. I was still broken. I just became better at pretending. I looked happier from the outside, and for me that was good enough. I became a part of a college group again, but for a long time I didn’t address them as my friends. I was changing, but I wasn’t healing, and that was even worse.
I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel safe somewhere. And I think the I love I was seeking was from myself. But I didn’t know how to achieve it. How do you love someone who is hated by everyone? How do you save someone who doesn’t love themselves? But I was saved. Not by a human. By an angel. My dog – Phoebe. She saved me from myself. Helped me to heal. Helped me love myself again. The only place I felt safe was with her. The only love I felt was from her. The only one you saw my tears, and the only one who wanted me to smile. I was healing.
But my confidence was still low, I would still hear voices that said I didn’t deserve to have friends. Then one day, I met someone from a “foreign land” who just loved me for who I am. Didn’t ask me to change, didn’t ask me to be happy all the time. Just accepted me and all my emotions. Even my underconfidence. But this person did something magical. Without saying a word, he helped me grow, he helped me blossom. He helped me be myself and be proud of myself.
Even today, I remember the dark days. I remember the state I was in. But I come back to light, because I know what is more important than opinions of people – self acceptance and a positive self concept. The reason I came back from whatever I was dealing with is because I decided to get better. I decided to heal, and the universe conspired to help me heal. I’m still healing. I do better on some days. I don’t on some days. But I’m healing. I’m always holding on to myself, and the ones that love me are holding on to me.
An advice from someone who learnt it the hard way – BE NICE TO YOURSELF! Take care of yourself, noone else will, if you don’t. Love yourself first, and prioritize your mental health. I promise you, it gets better.