It has taken many years to say this and mean this: I am an individual, I don’t want to, and don’t think I do, conform to stereotypes, I like being a bit different.
Yet in darker times being different was very much part of the problem. Worrying about how people perceived me was one negative pattern of thinking I now recognise as being a big contributor to my depression. Living with anxiety means I have been living within another contradiction. A contradiction, such as doing a Community work degree and not being able to do community work, because it sometimes involves being confrontational and standing up to perceived authority.
Part of my recovery has been due to learning to love and accept myself as I am, not berating myself for the things I can’t do, but looking instead at what I can do. Now I recognise and celebrate my abilities, I recognise I can share my passion through writing, and if people agree with what I am saying that is great, but I people don’t I’ve got to a stage in my life where it doesn’t bother me half as much. People either like me or they don’t. They can take me or leave me. The only person’s approval I need is my own.