"I despised myself with an intensity that scared me.
Then it would vanish"
Self loathing is such an ugly and useless symptom. Anyone who experiences it knows that it doesn't do any good, yet it can dictate our thoughts, actions and the direction of our lives. I remember as far back as high school, using all my mind-power to will the ground to open up and swallow me. To hide, from anything, and anyone.
It has often been accompanied by an intense feeling of shame. In some way I felt as though I MUST have done something to be ashamed of.... I just didn't know what it was. In the craziest moments I thought perhaps I had done something awful when I was young, like accidentally killed a younger sibling who was never spoken about, or something along those lines that left me with this dark feeling of self-hatred. I suspected that everyone around me actually hated me, and only out of their own politeness tolerated me. It was confusing to feel like that, it was so visceral. Then, overnight, it would vanish, leaving a happy, care-free girl (and then adult) in her place. When it vanished, it vanished. When it was there, ohhhhhh it was there.
As an adult this continued with thoughts flicking from "My husband is the luckiest guy in the world" to "I have no idea how he can look at me everyday. He must be gutted at his decision." Same at work, my thoughts would fly from "I love my job, I'm really really good at this" to "Everybody here is just waiting for the day when you leave. What an utterly useless colleague you are." There has never been any consistency in my thoughts. Always complete extremes. Confusing extremes. I know that some family and friends have described me as difficult to understand.
Behaviours associated with 'self-loathing'
I've spent a wee bit of time looking at articles on self-loathing. They typically mention certain behaviours linked with self-loathing. For example:
Under or over-eating either because you don't deserve food, or to enjoy food.
Physical neglect such as not brushing your hair of teeth, sleeping in thr same clothes you wore etc.
Defeatism, believing that you'll never succeed at anything, so why try.
Self-sacrifice, either to make people like you, or in an attempt to like yourself.
Unnecessary spending by attempting to gain self worth from material possessions.
Isolation, limiting your circle of family and friends sons to avoid people 'confirming' your status.
Drug and/or alcohol misuse to manage the turmoil that comes alongside self loathing.
Relationship sabotage, attempting to make the other person confirm your belief that you are 'useless' or unworthy.
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
This blog site is hosted by Dr Lynsay Matthews, Research Fellow and PMDD researcher at the University of Birmingham.
If you'd like to share your story, drop Lynsay an email at email@example.com
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