Monday to Friday, 9-5, the competent, confident, sociable me takes centre stage. Each day I get up, shower, straighten my hair, dress smartly, put my makeup on and accessorise with matching scarves and jewellery. I commute to work, complaining like everyone else about how bad public transport is. I get to the office and engage with my colleagues, discussing the news and last nights TV among other things. As the day goes on I focus on my work, joining in with conversations (even initiating many of them), laughing at stupid jokes and moaning about the staggering incompetence and stupidity of many people we come across during the day. If it’s a Monday then I finish at 3pm and will generally head to the pub where my boss will join me come 4pm. On Tuesdays I go to see my therapist then usually meet a friend for a drink and a catch-up. The rest of the week I work full days but will probably be out socialising at least one of those three days.
However, once I get home and on the weekends, a different part of me takes over. A part that only wants destruction, a part that is barely functioning. I am no longer able to hide from the world by burying myself in work or by drinking to make the noise in my head a little quieter. Suddenly I am bombarded by thoughts of all the things I did wrong that day. Despite constant positive feedback from my boss, I analyse the day, obsessing over what I didn’t manage to do as well as telling myself that work I did complete was substandard. Appearing now is the me sobbing like a baby. The me sat in front of my bedroom mirror writing all of the negative things about me on it with eyeliner as I cut myself or take too many tablets. The me that wants to die so badly that I’m composing a text/email to my boss to that say that I’m sick and won’t be in the next day, buying me time to execute my plan. I let my parents know I’m busy for the next few days so they don’t worry when I don’t call. I sit on the sofa with the box full of excess medication praying for the strength to take them all. I spend time googling the drugs, trying to work out if what I have is enough to kill me. Yet each night I put the box away and go to bed, feeling sick at having to face a new day and hating myself for being too weak to put an end to this pain.
And so it goes on, the next day I start all over again, playing the part of two completely different people.
It’s not that the negative stuff isn’t there during the day, when the competent me is in charge. It absolutely is and it leads to self harm and many days of achieving very little. But, I can manage hours as that competent person, I just can’t sustain it.