A little over three months ago, I wrote a post about hope and what it’s meant to me. I told you about how it’s been a sort of sign in my life and how I operate on it. Both are true, but there’s another truth as well. There’s another side of me that reflects the opposite of hope. It’s the part you don’t see, the one that comes to the surface right before bed, that comes when I’ve failed and/or when I have a lot on my plate.
Before I continue, please know I’m not doing this for attention. I’m not even posting it on my social media or anything like that. I’m not sure who might be reading this, but for those people who used those magical search terms in their Google or WordPress searches and found their way here, thank you. This is the toughest post I’ve ever written and I’m grateful for your willingness to read this.
I started going to therapy earlier this year. Specifically, I started to go to a therapist that specializes in dialectical behavior therapy. According to a brief Internet search, it’s an “evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat borderline personality disorder. DBT has been proven useful in treating mood disorders, suicidal ideation, and for change in behavioral patterns such as self-harm, and substance abuse”. I’m not going to go into details about what it was that led me to go. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I need to keep private for my own sanity.
My therapist and her office are great. It’s a very welcoming environment (that, okay, has maybe one too many Sarah McLachlan songs on its playlist), and she particularly has been extremely supportive and validating of my emotions. I haven’t actually told her the truth behind why I’m there, which I know I need to, but she listens with open ears all the time.
Something I’ve learned in therapy is that I’ve been neglecting some of the things that make me me. For instance, theatre: my last show was in 2013, when I was a senior in high school. Sure, I go to shows in New York all the time, but I haven’t actually performed in forever. My therapist opined that I should give community theatre a shot. When she said that, I can’t begin to tell you how hopeful I was. I envisioned a great, elaborate scheme where I’d be playing one of the most complicated and cherished characters in musical theatre, singing one of the most complex songs Sondheim has ever written, and finally finding myself some peace in all this mess.
I drove the twenty-five minutes to where the audition was taking place. I had my resume and my headshot all ready in my black padfolio. My piano track was in it’s own separate playlist on my phone (for easy navigation). I was prepared. Heck, I had been practicing/rehearsing since March. I was beyond ready.
I never went in. I parked my car in a random little parking lot, about a block away from the theatre, and sat there for the whole thirty minutes before auditions were supposed to start. I get everywhere early, so this wasn’t out of place for me, but me getting there as early as I did allowed even more room for the following thoughts (which, by the way, is not a full, comprehensive list by any means): what if I crack on that note again? You weren’t a theatre major, you don’t deserve this. You use your hands too much. You haven’t taken a legitimate voice lesson since you were 12. They aren’t going to like you. You can’t go in there. I drove home and didn’t speak about any of it.
I guess I’m writing this now, a month after the fact, because ever since, I’ve felt the opposite of hope. My panic attacks right before bed are only increasing and I feel super lazy. I’m not as motivated to be around friends as I once was and my anxiety when talking to others has spiked. My mind wanders and wanders and I can’t seem to get a grip on it. I hate it.
Lately, I’ve felt like such a failure. Mistake after mistake seems to be happening and I don’t feel like I can do anything to stop it. I wish I knew how to end this post. I wish I knew what to say, or how to make sense of all that has happened. But I don’t. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m grateful for you being here to read this, but I don’t feel hope.