When I grow up


Sometimes I wonder what I’ll be when I grow up. This push-pull of sanity and insanity leaves me in a limbo, a liminal space in my consciousness. I feel trapped in my own skin and filled with nothing but a void. Like I’m a shell, a mask of my own being. I don’t think I’m unusual wondering about myself. Cogito ergo sum. Je pense donc je suis, and all that. We all do this, “What am I here for,” “Why have I been created,” dance of purpose. The only evidence that I even exist is that I am thinking about my own existence. 

There’s a song by Garbage with the lyrics, “When I grow up I’ll be stable. When I grow up I’ll turn the tables.” I think it speaks to this feeling that I have that I’ve never really grown up, even though I’ll be turning 32 tomorrow, and nothing’s ever really improved. I’m still dealing with the same issues I dealt with as a teenager. If you ask my parents whether they think they’ve grown up, I know in some senses they would say yes but in others they would say they feel like they’re still 18 or 21. Maybe it’s down to neuroscience since our brains solidify around that age but maybe it’s more than that. Maybe we were simply not meant to “grow up.” Maybe it’s the childlike instincts inside us that make and keep us human. Maybe that’s what it means to grow up: to embrace the inner child and express it responsibly.

I know these disorders that I have aren’t going to just go away. Borderline is supposed to get better over time, and my symptoms have definitely improved since I was in college, but a lot of the core beliefs and issues are still there plaguing my daily life. When I grow up  I want to be stable. That’s all I want. From there all things are possible. Bipolar II will never go away. Even with the meds and the therapy I’ll still have more ups and downs than the average person. Right now I think I’m in a triggered “down” resulting from the abrupt change of pace from studying a lot for school to “nothing.” I’m overly sensitive to transitions and I always have been. I keep retreating to a deep area inside myself, even though it’s a dangerous place, because it seems like the only “known” place I can go to. Maybe it’s a mild depressive episode. That seems most likely.

I don’t feel like I can put a lot of words to it. I can’t seem to ground myself. And part of me doesn’t want to share this at all because in real time I don’t need any interference. I know how to take care of myself at this point. I have the safety nets in place. When I feel like this I don’t even want support, per se. I just want to retreat and wait for the feelings to go away. Part of me knows that this will pass. That Monday will come around, school will resume, and I will start to get back on track. But in between now and then I have to exist. It doesn’t feel comfortable, existing. It feels like trouble. I have a pit of panic in my stomach, tears in my eyes, and the uncontrollable urge to rock my body and tense my muscles just so that I keep myself together. Maybe I’m trying to make too much sense of it. Maybe it’s better to just to accept that this is a feeling I get sometimes, it sucks, and it will pass. I don’t know if that will make it all feel better but it might.

When I’m like this, I get a lot of mood-dependent flashbacks, memories of other times I’ve felt like this. A lot of them were times that led to dangerous moments or hospitalizations or self-harm. I think that inspires panic because I don’t want those things to happen again and I correlate them with this feeling. I’ve had to withdraw from school because I’ve gotten overwhelmed and very psychologically unstable, and I don’t want that to happen again. That is in fact my current biggest fear: that I will be unable to keep myself sane long enough to get through the semester, or the rest of my career.

One thought on “When I grow up”

  1. I get days like this whenever I don’t have something to do. This week most of my weekly commitments got canceled or moved, and I can feel myself slipping a little bit. It’s hard to be alone with just your thoughts.

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