Living life for myself: Selfishness at its best

I go my own way

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been alternating my dose of Citalopram, so that on alternate days I take 20mg, then 30mg. It seems to be working for me. I do notice a drop at the end of the day when i’ve take 20mg, but it’s better than being on 20mg every day, and definitely preferable to the numbness that accompanied daily 30mg.

I was just thinking about how different I feel now in comparison to 6 months ago. 6 months ago I was suicidal. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed a lot of the time, and on days when I did, I was doing well if I managed breakfast before 2pm. Sometimes the body needs to rest. My body, and my mind, needed to rest. I had spent most of my adult life living too hard and not resting enough. I would never give myself the breaks that I needed, but would push on, putting my body under unnecessary stress that ultimately led to my downward spiral into deep depression.

I used to try and fit myself around my life. Now I fit my life around me. I know what my triggers are. I get anxious at the thought of talking on the phone – so I don’t take jobs anymore that require lots of telephone calls. I get stressed out by multi-tasking. I’m a focused person who works best when concentrating on one thing. That’s why I’m good at video editing. To edit moving image, it requires a lot of concentration and single-minded focus on one task. It can often be tedious at the start, wading through hours and hours of footage to find a shot that works, listening to people waffle on for hours in the hope that something they say will be the starting point to a story. Multi-tasking puts me under pressure that I struggle to cope with, so I avoid working in situations that require me to juggle more that one task at once.

I’m also better working alone than as part of a team. I like to work in isolation – I never was a team player. At school I swam, I ran and I generally avoided all team sports (with the exception of basketball, for some reason). As an adult, I have naturally veered towards activities that require single-minded focus and little group interaction. I train with the circus school doing aerial silks, rope and trapeze. When I train in the gym, I go alone, or with a partner, and I avoid group classes. In modern-day society, being a team player is seen as the pinnacle of job skills. Thankfully, working in a creative role allows me to skip these social niceties.

People have often said to me “You can’t live life like that, you have to try and fit it.” I’ve been told that “no-one likes it, but everyone else has to make an effort.” Do you know what? I don’t care. If someone wants to make an effort to fit in, great, off they go. But just because other people do it, doesn’t mean that I have to. When I was a kid, I used to wander around the playground alone, because I found interacting with all the other kids difficult. I still find group situations hard and I prefer one-on-one interaction or small groups. I’ve questioned myself as to why this is – but the fact that I’ve questioned myself means that I believe that there’s something wrong with being like this.

I suppose society is meant to be about people being together – community, cohesion. But there has to be something different, someone different, in order to define community as being together. How can you experience joy without sadness? Likewise, how can you experience togetherness without being alone? I don’t beat myself up about being a loner anymore. This is because I’ve come through so much and I have to make sure to look after myself now. I can’t fit into the world around me, so I make my life fit around me.

I’m lucky that I can work from home, that I work as a freelancer, that I can be flexible with my working hours. I was never a 9-5 kind of person. And yes, I know you’re going to argue “who is?” Well, I’m choosing not to live a 9-5 life. And that’s good enough for me. Selfishness is considered a ‘sin’, but right now, it’s making me happier that I’ve ever been before. Try it out, you might find it suits you. There’s always a different way, you just have to look for it.

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2 Responses to Living life for myself: Selfishness at its best

  1. Debbie Mc says:

    I really relate to the selfishness thing, when you spend your whole life trying to please other people to the point where you are soooo unhappy and depressed anxious and generally not who u want to be sometimes u jst have to start living for urself! Ppl may call it selfish but tbh I call it taking control 🙂 – living YOUR life YOUR way is the best thing you can do! X

    Like

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