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Saturday, 23 March 2019

Us vs Them

It's very easy in a world full of millions to feel at odds with one another. To stand still and say 'I'm so different, no one understands my struggle' or 'I'm much better than everyone else, I'm special.' In my novellas Every Last Thought and Psycho Girl which comprise my novel Every Last Psycho, I have protagonists that both feature different types of entitlement.

In ELT, the protagonist, Tess, is schizophrenic. She believes she is useless, no one loves her, and drowns her sorrow in drugs and cigarettes. In PG, the protagonist, Evelyn, believes she is better than everyone around her due to her brains and beauty, and that every guy she meets should kiss the ground she walks on.

While neither girls are explicitly based on me, I've felt both types of entitlement in my life. The 'I suck and should kill myself, why am I so useless' vs 'I'm so brilliant and smart and gorgeous, why should I have to coexist among these peasants.' A book which has done wonders for me, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, discusses both these types of entitlement.

Thinking you're inferior to everyone and that everything you do is useless and pointless is just as egotistical as thinking you're superior to everyone and that people should bow down to you. A depressed person and a psychopath share feelings of deep selfishness in different ways.
Truth is, none of us are better or worse than any of us. We all have problems and struggles relative to our human experience. There is no 'us' against 'them.' There is no fundamental widespread difference between all of us because while we are all unique individuals, we are also extremely similar. Humans share much less genetic diversity than we think we do.

It's easy for us to constantly separate each other of course. Alcoholics vs non-alcoholics. Liberals vs conservatives. Men vs women. Black people vs white people. Homosexuals vs heterosexuals. Autistic people vs non-autistic people. Psychopaths vs empaths. Creatives vs non-creatives. Theists vs atheists. All of us can probably point to moments in our lives when we went 'no one understands me because I'm a bla bla bla! They're not like me! They don't understand people like us!'

But what we have to understand is that we ALL think we're different hence we're ALL the same. It's a paradox. Addicts can say 'people out in the "real world" don't understand what it's like for us.' Black people can say 'white people will never know the struggles that those with our skin tones had.' Trans people can say 'it's so much easier for someone born with their sex and gender identity matching, I wish I had that life.' On and on and on.

This 'my struggle' or 'I'm different and mis-understood' complex seems to be getting more widespread, especially via social media. I've been going through a horrible depressive period in the last couple of months, and looking back through some old diaries in my teens made me think 'jeez, you need to snap out of this!' Of course depression is an illness that has to be treated with medication and therapy, and it can't just be 'snapped out of.' But small steps can be taken to overcome it, and I think one of those steps is realising that none of us are special.

I am neither so significant nor insignificant in the wider scheme of things. I can lie awake thinking 'I wish I'd never been born', but what makes me think that my life is any tougher or more complex compared to someone else's? I can think 'I want to kill myself', but how is my sense of 'self' any worse than another person's? What makes me so unique that I somehow don't deserve to be on this planet?

While mental illness is very serious and should be treated as such, I do believe that perhaps part of the problem is obsessing about the problem. If I accept that I have anxiety, and say this is how I am and it's neither good nor bad, it counters the problem because I'm no longer making it more than it needs to be. Not everything needs to come back to my anxiety or depression or addiction. We have illnesses BUT WE ARE NOT OUR ILLNESSES. A mental (or physical) illness doesn't define you and need not limit you.

So to wrap up, remember that we are all one. We are all part of each other and life is a circle. Everything is temporary and nothing remains, including our bodies. Everything is made of energy. None of us are any better or worse than each other, we are just molded in a different fashion but the fact that we're all slightly different makes us all human. We are neither special nor unimportant, we simply are.

Here's a song by a dreamer.

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
I've also published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: