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You’re Not a Space Filler

Alessia Tanasă, IX E

Before I start ranting, I want you to answer this question for me. If you were able to get rid of one emotion, which one would you choose?

For me, I would probably choose shame. Shame, like every other emotion, isn’t inherently bad. When we’re ashamed, it usually means that we did something we weren’t supposed to do, and now we feel guilty about it, therefore we feel guilty about it, subsequently, we make a mental note, to not do it again. Shame is healthy, we need shame to grow, but like every other emotion, when it gets excessive, it can turn your life into hell.

I was surrounded by a handful of abusers from a young age, and one thing they all had in common, besides being mentally unwell was their lack of shame. Nevertheless, instead of holding them accountable and realizing that they were the ones who had problems and that it wasn’t about me, I filled that space with my own shame. Our silly brains like to do that, fill up empty spaces. In my head, I was like, ‘’Since THEY are not showing any signs of shame or embarrassment, I must be the one who was doing something wrong’’. Thus, my ‘’ghouls’’, gave birth to something called ‘’Chronic Shame’’.

I found out about chronic shame a few months ago, and I wish more people talked about it. My interpretation of chronic shame is, for example, what normal shame looks like doing something wrong, being embarrassed about it, feeling bad for doing it, wishing you haven’t done it, thinking about what you could’ve done differently, and then slowly getting over it. It might take a day, a week, or even a month, but you’ll eventually get over it. Nonetheless, chronic shame, things are a bit extra. I’ll use myself as an example on this one. Let’s say I lied about being sick to a friend and that we can’t meet up for later, and on the same day we see each other. My typical reaction is literally wanting to conclude my life because of it. I’ll emotionally isolate myself for months. I’ll feel physically ill for weeks. I’ll spend weeks playing that scenario over and over again and beating myself over it. That’s how extra it is.

I might have the same reaction even about smaller things - I remember one day I was talking to someone for 15 minutes maybe, and when I was done, I realized that I had a drop of chocolate milk on my face the whole time. I had a mental breakdown that lasted approximately 3 days because of it, very extra indeed.

Just imagine going through all of this and not being able to talk about it, because let’s be honest, If I came up to you and told you that I’m struggling because I told a silly lie and now I want to lock myself internally for that, you’ll internally or externally laugh and tell me to get over it, which is 100% valid, but heartbreaking at the same timeș it’s not a ‘’get over it’’ matter for some people.

The reason why I wanted to talk about this is due to the fact that it’s not talked about enough and I wish I had known about what it was earlier. It would’ve saved me a lot of energy and time.

Whatever you’re dealing with, just know you’re not the only one who’s dealing with it, and when you give a name to that demon, dealing with it  WILL be easier, like in horror movies, you just wait.

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