I have a lot of people that I deal with on a daily basis. And one thing I have learnt about dealing with people is that they have all got their own stories. Just like I’ve got my own. And in each of their story, it’s them who’s the protagonist, not me or someone else. So when I interact with people, the best I can do is play the part of a good friend or a well wisher and keep myself from turning into their antagonist.
And this is something I really believe in. That while interacting with people, you are not the protagonist to them. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
And so if you live by this, you will often come across situations where you will have to choose between being the well wisher to their story or the protagonist of your own. ‘Cause you cannot be both at the same time. You cannot make their situation about you. And you cannot make your own situation about them. Sometimes, you’ll be forced to choose between their pain or your own. They might hurt you in being the protagonist of their story by ignoring you or your struggles in making it about themselves (which by the way is their right), and you will have to choose between letting it pass and forgiving them as their well wisher, or you will have to choose acknowledging your own pain as the protagonist of your own story. A lot of times you might be in the same troublesome situation, facing the same obstacle, but somehow it’ll be all about them because they chose to ignore that you sail in the same boat and that you’re in pain too. And when you choose to be their well wisher, you end up ignoring and neglecting yourself. You cheer them up and there’s no one really that will acknowledge that you need some cheering too. And this will happen multiple times with a bunch of people… You’ll always be their well wisher and only that.
And honestly, that’s the worst thing that can happen to you.
Because in being the well wisher of their story, I completely forgot that I had my own story to run. I got so busy being that well wisher to them that my pain and self neglect kept increasing until it came to a point where I no longer remained the protagonist of my own story. In fact, I became my own antagonist. My own personal villain. I was the one that suppressed my own self. My story didn’t remain about me anymore. It became more about others until it came to a point where I broke. ‘Cause I made horrible decisions. I kept putting others before my own needs. I kept choosing the role of the well wisher instead of choosing to be my own protagonist. And hence I was neglected by myself in my own story.
And that sucks.
And the damage I’ve done is huge.
Yes I’m supposed to be a well wisher to others, but not before I serve myself first. But me, I didn’t even serve myself last. I didn’t serve myself at all. And then finally, I broke. What about me? What about my pain? What about my feelings?
Because I went so long putting on a brave face for the sake of others that my shell began to crack and all that remained inside was a heart that was so deeply neglected that it bled.
And you know what hurt most? When the people I had been a well wisher to, accused me of being selfish when I finally decided to play my protagonist. And the damage done was of great magnitude. I ended up with untreated GAD and Bipolar. And I’m exhausted. ‘Cause living with mental illnesses is awful. Bipolar is the worst. ‘Cause I feel like I’ve ended up with a punishment. Before it was I who used to invalidate myself. Today it’s my own disorder that does. I swing between sadness and happiness cause my brain cannot decide how it wants to feel. It’s like all my feelings are faulty and unreal. Like they’re all a result of some glitch in my brain. And that automatically invalidates my feelings even to myself. It hurts.
And nobody wants to listen. All they care about is me being the well wisher. Not the protagonist.
And I don’t wish to get into personal details, but I’m stuck in a situation where I cannot get myself treated. I cannot play the protagonist… It’s not even a choice anymore. At least not for now. And that’s just damaging me more and more.
I feel like all my parts have fallen apart. Like my entire mechanism has fallen apart and I cannot figure out which part goes where. I cannot figure my self out. I don’t even know myself anymore… I don’t know what triggers me or pushes me towards sadness or anxiety. I don’t know what motivates me. I don’t understand my own motives when I choose to ignore people or when I choose to lay in bed all day. I don’t know why I feel exhausted for no reason. I don’t know why my head aches so much. I don’t know why I make excuses every time I get invited to social events. I don’t know why I avoid meeting or visiting my own best friends…
And honestly, I think that the only people that actually let me be the protagonist of my own story were these few friends. The ones that scolded me for trying to apologize for having needed a break so long and so serious that I ignored them for an entire year and a half. Because they understood. And I’ll be forever grateful to them for having given me my space without questioning it because they understood that I was the protagonist to my own story and actually had a life that didn’t revolve around them.
And so with these girls, I’m allowed to be the protagonist. But with others though, it’s not even a choice anymore. And frankly, I’m the one that brought it on to myself.
What I’ve realized now is that being a well wisher to people is important. But when your feelings and your own worth is at stake, always, always be the protagonist. Stand up for yourself right in that moment. Just as they begin to invalidate you. Never let them invalidate you. Not once. And more importantly, never let yourself invalidate you. ‘Cause you may not realize then, but the damage it will do will break you down for years to come.
‘Cause you’ll always look back. You’ll always turn the pages in reverse. You’ll always read those old chapters of your life. Those in which you damaged yourself the most. And that will always hurt. It will always hurt, because the damage can never be undone. The damage is the kind of damage that remains with you forever. I’ve developed fears that I never had before. I’ve developed thoughts that scare the hell out of me. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to let go of ’em.
Just remember to be good to yourself. That’s very important. Remember that this is your story and that you are the protagonist. And you have all the right in the world to cut those people out of your life story that constantly invalidate you and make everything about themselves.
Live you own story before you live someone else’s.