Raging Insecurity

I suffer, at times, from debilitatingly low self esteem. I always have, even as a child, and my first marriage badly eroded what self confidence I had. I have a very bad tendency to minimize my strengths - if I'm good at something, it obviously can't be either very important or very difficult - and grossly magnify my weaknesses. When forced to admit there are some good things about myself, I can neuter the implied compliment: "I'm intelligent ... but I don't do anything with it"; "I'm a nice person ... but it's only because I'm afraid people won't like me otherwise"; "I'm a good mother ... but that's because my kids are good, not because I know what I'm doing."

There have been at least 2 periods in my life where I genuinely believed my family would be better off if I were dead - that it would be a relief to them, that they might feel badly for a while, but would be happier in the long run. The second time I found the courage, or the desperation, to tell Dean how I was feeling, and sought counseling because he convinced me that I didn't deserve to feel that way. I saw a therapist 5 or 6 times, but he told me on my first visit that he didn't believe I was genuinely suicidal, and after that I felt guilty for wasting his time (despite knowing that was how he made his living, and that he was being well paid to talk to me). I stopped going because I felt selfish for taking the time away from my family - an hour, once a week.

Despite the fact that I stopped seeing him far, far too soon, he did help. He recommended a book called "Feeling Good" which, despite the corny name, is actually an excellent guide to cognitive therapy. It's not a quick fix - it took some intense work on my part and I still refer to it at regular intervals almost 3 years later. But with that, and a lot of support from Dean, I've come a long way.

But it can still all come crashing down on me in the space of a few minutes. Dean and I had a fairly minor disagreement on Monday, 99% my fault (I'd say completely my fault, but I don't think he'd accept that). Within a couple of hours, I had convinced myself that I was utterly worthless, and was ready to walk out. It was a stupid, stupid thing to be upset about, and Dean was being completely reasonable to call me on it. And I was ready to end everything because I thought, in those hours, that if I did that one small thing wrong, then I was irredeemably worthless. And I couldn't even tell him that, so I raged about all kinds of irrelevant tangents that had nothing to do with the real problem - that I didn't believe he could love me because I screwed up.

On the bright side, within 24 hours we had talked it out, found a possible solution, and convinced me that I was loved and worth loving. Three years ago, I would have spent 2 or 3 weeks in a pit of black depression over the same incident. But it's been a long, hard slog, and I have a good distance yet to go to become the person I'd like to be, to put the abyss behind me for good.

At least now when I fall, I have the tools to fight my way back out, and a most loving hand reaching out to help. I know I can do it, and that the struggle is worth it ... that life on the outside is infinitely precious, and that I deserve to be a part of it.

I'm honestly not sure I would have made it this far without Dean's love and support. He is the first, and only, person I've ever been able to talk to openly about how I feel, and the only person I've ever been able to ask for help.

Thank you, my love.