I just have to share my story. Not because I’m an avid fan of ghost stories, but because it’s a cautionary tale for those who might be travelling down the same path. This happened many years ago but the ripples are still affecting me to this day. It all started with a new colleague who was the only man in a business filled with women.
Like a couple of other women in the office, I was single and fell head over heels with this new man, who I will call Steve. He was also single and while he was polite and kept to himself, he drove me crazy on a daily basis, being so good looking and such a gentleman. All of a sudden I began to obsess about him as well as my looks.
I decided that I wasn’t attractive enough, so I started experimenting with new looks, a variety of hairstyles and makeovers, along with spending a fortune on weight loss products and clothing. My whole world changed. I went out of my way to get his attention and competed fiercely with the other women. I was a mess.
My nerves were so shot that my sleep was affected, with frightening nightmares and dizzy spells. One thing that frightened me the most was my reflection. It happened one morning when I got up unusually early to get my look “just right” – and saw a crazed version of my own face looking back at me.
As far as I was concerned, the reflection in the mirror wasn’t me!
It was a grotesque version of myself. When I blinked my eyes hard it disappeared and I wondered if I was losing it. What was even nuttier was that I began to see this frightening face in every reflective surface. I started to wonder if I was turning into a monster. With hindsight, I guess I really was – in a way.
Over the course of many weeks, Steve paid less and less attention to me. It infuriated me to the point of nausea, so I continued obsessing about Steve as well as my looks, trying desperately to win him over. I ended up bringing baked goods and small gifts, which he politely declined and eventually begged me to stop.
One night, Steve waited for me by my car outside of work. I was thrilled to see him there and thought that finally I’d won him over! I was crestfallen when he gave me an ultimatum. Leave him alone or have a restraining order slapped on me. I stood there crying my eyes out as he drove off shaking his head. That night was my lowest point.
I never contemplated ghost stories while all this unfolded
I went home and took to my bed, doing my best to fight off suicidal thoughts. Then I felt a presence in my room. I sat up and strained my eyes, looking everywhere. I couldn’t see anything at first but I could’ve sworn that I heard an evil laugh – like a demented woman coming from somewhere outside the room.
When I got up and started racing around the house, losing it and screaming at the top of my lungs, “Get out! Shut up!” the laugh was replaced by a creepy roar in my ears. I wondered if it was my blood but I couldn’t be sure. A photo fell off the wall in the lounge room, making me spin around in time to see that it was the photo of me as a teenager.
I ran over to it and picked it up, finally collapsing on the floor. Crying and laughing at the same time as I stared at the picture, stroking the face in the photo, I realized that I was once an innocent and naturally pretty girl. Gazing into the photo, it was like the young girl from the past was telling me to calm down and remember who I really was.
The next day I called out sick and made a concerted effort to turn the clock back, to how I was before Steve arrived on the scene. I started going to therapy and I stopped taking the diet pills. Funny thing is, Steve resigned, so when I went back, he was gone. I learned a valuable lesson: to love myself, as no one is worth losing your sanity for.
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