Low self-esteem: is it me, is it luck or is it just the winter?

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It’s funny how right when I was feeling self-confident, full of energy, motivation and self-determination, life turned things around. I’ve been on a low lately, feeling pretty much depressed and not very up for doing everyday activities. My low self-esteem happened gradually and on three levels: physical, relational and sexual.

Looking back at the period around and a bit after Christmas, these three elements were on the up. I was active physically, doing lots of exercise and feeling healthy. I was hanging out with my friends often and there was some general sense of openness and festivity in the air, especially because of the New year celebrations. I was also open sexually. I was having lots of sexual interactions, often and with different people. I was feeling confident enough to do it and the sexual fun I was having was feeding back to my sense of self-esteem positively.

From the first half of January up until now things changed. It all started with the physical: I got ill twice in a row from the same stomach bug with the main symptom of nausea. It wasn’t only distracting, it was also worrying because it didn’t look like anything else I’ve experienced. It certainly didn’t help waking up at 5am in the morning and googling symptoms (why the hell do we do that?!). As soon as I got better, I got my bike for a cycle and I had an accident. I crushed on someone’s car door as he was opening it. I injured my chest and it’s been intense. Even though it’s getting less painful, it looks like it’s going to be a long recovery and I doubt I’ll be able to be 100% fit for exercise anytime soon.

As if the physical is not enough, the relational stuff have been quite challenging too. I haven’t been able to go out a lot because of my health and socialising has been limited to one/two close people, my flatmate included (who I’m really thankful to have, especially at times like these). Additionally, I started a new group online training which includes a lot of online conversations and assignments. Even if I enjoy it a lot, it feels like I’m 14 years old again. All my old patterns are coming up – comparing myself to others, trying to please the authority, constantly questioning myself about the things I share and seeking for approval and validation.

Sex-wise, during the gap between being ill and my accident I couldn’t have sex because I was recovering from a sexual transmitted infection. For the rest of the time I’ve been lucky enough to have some stable sexual contact, which has been what I needed and one of the main sources of my excitement (even though my usual negative romantic patterns seem to be creeping in slowly there too).

All this time I haven’t been in the mood to write at all. I’m now doing it in preparation for my meeting with my mentor but also because I want to explore what is currently going on in a bit more depth and hopefully feel better.

Well, there’s not much to explore apart from the fact that I don’t feel confident. I don’t feel confident enough to make any brave new steps, nor to even look back at what I’ve done or written in the past weeks. There’s this veil of negativity that filters my judgement about most things me or other people do or say. I’m trying hard not to bite into this and I see that the only way to do this is by staying present.

Two things I’m trying to remind myself is that first, it’s winter. It’s the time when things seem to naturally close down before they bloom again. It’s easy for me to get cynical about this sort of stuff. Even if I do believe that the bug can be winter-related, I don’t believe that my accident was part of the winter cycle; nor that the universe wanted to teach me a lesson (and if I’m honest, I wish I did because it would make things a bit more bearable). But it helps to think that winter a time of the year that maybe a lot of other people feel a bit shit and I’m not the only one.

Second, I notice that self-confidence is not a static thing, it’s not something that can be fixed once and for all. It seems to me to be very much dependent on conditions. Last month I was confident because the circumstances allowed me to be. It was part effort but also big part of it was pure luck or based on societal stuff (for example, with the anticipation and excitement of the xmas and new year celebrations). This is of course easy to say but much harder to believe. I can see how I often think the reason I’m not happy these days is my own fault. I believe the fact that we don’t really seem to share our imperfections or difficulties with others as much as we share our successes plays a big role in this.

And, that’s it really. I don’t have much else to add because well,. I’ll just switch off and go and do everyday things, such as shopping, cleaning my room or reading a book to pass the time.