For those of you who haven’t read my previous post ;- ‘My strange bipolar life, the early years’, this new post might make more sense if you read that one first.
If you have already read my earlier post, thank you so much! Here’s the next chapter.
The strangeness continues ;-
From the early years in my life, I knew that I wasn’t a ‘run of the mill’ kid, I was different, I behaved differently, I thought differently, my reactions where different and sometimes completely illogical. Illogical, but also beyond my control.
Having changed schools when I was six and needing to fit into a new environment, I purposed to find at least one friend. I did not want to feel lonely and isolated like I had before. My overriding desire was to belong and feel normal. Well, at least what I thought normal was.
Fortunately I was welcomed by two friendly girls. They were kind and caring. I ‘fell in love’ with them. I bent over backwards to make them feel happy and appreciated. In my desperation to belong and please them, I started telling lies. I told all sorts of lies thinking I would be able to elevate myself to their level.
I lied about what my father did (I was embarrassed that he was a full-time theological student). I lied about being wealthy, when in fact we were more poor than wealthy. I lied about my extra-curricular activities. I lied about my mother’s glamorous past. I lied just about everything.
Well, lies eventually catch up with you. And, they did. I couldn’t remember what lie I had told to whom and gradually my credibility was eroded. My lies were uncovered and I was embarrassed and mortified. No one liked me or trusted me anymore. As you can well imagine this just perpetuated the situation.
In addition to this, I was forced to wear ‘hand me downs’ that were distributed via missionary parcels. This made me feel like such a loser. To be honest, I looked like a loser too. We wore uniforms to school, but on one occasion we were allowed to wear our weekend gear. I chose the prettiest of tall the dresses I had. The children at school mocked me for my outdated, old-lady attire. I then knew that I was a loser.
I must add here that my Grandmother made me clothes, they were exquisitely made, but they wore more for Sunday best wear. They weren’t cool and casual.
Fortunately I excelled academically despite my emotional shortcomings. This was the only thing I had going for me and I took this way too seriously. Each school term someone won the overall academic prize. It was always me. My teacher however pulled me aside one day and asked if I would be prepared to relinquish my prize. She wanted other children to have a chance to win and be motivated.
I can’t remember exactly what I did or what I said, but I do know that my reaction was extreme and the teacher panicked. The principle was eventually called in to defuse the situation. My status as a crazy, lying, loser was firmly established and I was banished to loneliness again (but deservedly so from an onlooker’s perspective).
I hated school, I hated my life, I hated myself. I sank into the black hole of depression for the first time ever. Instead of doing something positive about this, I began behaving badly. I clearly remember one incident where I left the classroom and threw every single toilet roll I could find, into a toilet. I then proceeded to tell the teacher that I had discovered this. In my crazy little mind I thought that by doing this, I would demonstrate that someone else was crazy too.
Every time I did something like this, I drew more attention to myself and highlighted my problems. It was a vicious cycle and I was back to being all alone.
I must say at this point, that I don’t blame my parents for any of this. I did for a really long time, but through therapy I have come to understand that:
- My parents did what they thought was best at the time.
- There was little knowledge of childhood psychological disorders. You were either good, naughty, spoiled or irritating. There wasn’t anything in between.
- I confused them. They weren’t sure how to handle me. My mother says at the time they thought because I was so academically advanced I was behaving out of frustration and boredom.
There were good times too. Outside of my school environment, I discovered music and started piano lessons. I was really good at this and this boosted my confidence. I also took up ballet dancing. The physical activity helped manage my stress levels and I was calmer than before.
On a lighter note, I was desperate to become a ballerina. My parents on the other hand felt that ballet was a hedonistic practise and they told me NO! on many occasions. I was persistent but clearly not persistent enough. Then one day it came to me, if I could convince them on a ‘spiritual level’ that I was meant to dance, they might capitulate and I would get to dance.
I eventually came up with a plan (once again a lie, but ingenious this time). I told my parents that ‘I had been praying about this’ and that God had come to me in a dream and told me that He wanted me to dance. They couldn’t turn me down this time as they would then be dismissing the principle of ‘God answers prayers’. This was my introduction to strategy.
I am now a strategist. I guess good things can come from bad. I must mention that I am not a lying strategist now, I base my strategies on sound facts, gleaned knowledge, experience and credible processes.