So, I am really excited about this one. I originally wrote it last week, but then I got recommended Brené Brown’s book – Daring Greatly, which I have devoured about three times in as many days, so I had to amend what I wanted to say. This book is incredible, I understand myself better and I understand you better. Yes, you! Various people sprang to mind as I gorged on this book multiple times. I wish I had read this back in February when I had the realisation that I’d not dealt with the haemorrhage. I think this would have saved me a lot of time!
The original concept of this post has not changed, it’s all about impact and vulnerability. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I didn’t get a job I had interviewed for. I sought out feedback from the manager and he told me how I’d done a good job, but I just hadn’t expanded enough on my awareness of the impact my actions have. This didn’t surprise me as I, until recently, had been pretty blind to any impact on anyone or anything, except for what impacted me.
Throughout April and May I was at my most selfish. I was blind to other people’s plights; I was all about me and my pain. I couldn’t see the impact my actions and selfishness were having on others. I couldn’t see that they were struggling too, not just with me and what I was doing to them, but with their own concerns. They were probably similar worries to what I was having, so we could have talked about it and worked it out. My selfishness meant I never asked if they were okay, I never took a moment to say to myself ‘I may be feeling like this, but how are they feeling and how are they feeling about what I am doing to them?’ The thought of someone else having problems, not being able to talk to me about it, then on top of that having me being a non-stop ball of negativity towards them, is mortifying. To be honest, mortifying isn’t a strong enough word for it. There are no words.
It’s taken me a little time, but with the help of talking to people, writing this blog, reading Daring Greatly and just allowing myself to be more vulnerable and open, I know the above doesn’t make me a bad person. It was a bad time, people may hate me for it and my best friend doesn’t want me in their life anymore as a result of my mental health problems, but I am a good person who just struggled with a deeply imbedded inability to talk about my feelings and trauma. I didn’t know how to be vulnerable. It’s scary. In my relationship I wasn’t even as vulnerable enough to tell him I text around people to make sure they listened and heard how great he was on the radio because I was so proud of him. It’s hard to love someone when you have low self-esteem because you don’t think you’re worthy of them, that if you are open and fully -you-, then it’ll hurt more when they leave. Turns out, it’s shit when they leave either way, so don’t waste your joy on trying to hide who you are or catastrophising things. Be you, give them your all. If they still leave? Well, they don’t deserve you. I’m going to be fully me from now on. There’s no more hiding, time to build some resilience to any shame I feel about myself.
One thing that is wonderful that has happened since I started this blog, is that I’ve had the absolute privilege of people unloading, asking my advice, giving me advice or simply sharing their experiences with me, for their benefit and/or mine. People have been so honest and open with me, even if it’s just to say ‘I don’t understand mental health issues but…’ The support and connections have been incredible. It just shows how everyone has their problems and their worries. We need to talk to each other. We need to allow ourselves to be open, the thing I have learnt is to get it out of my echo chamber. You cannot get rationale, logic or a solution to something if you keep it echoing around your own head. It is as simple as that, but I know talking can be hard; I’ve struggled for 29 years with it. Whatever method works for you, going for a walk, a coffee with a friend, writing a journal or interpretive dance, make sure you allow yourself to feel, make sure you allow yourself to get out of the chamber once in a while.
The last thing I realised, which I, in hindsight, find absurd, is that I stopped doing things that make me feel good, when I was feeling good. At the moment, when I wake and feel that heavy heart feeling seeping in, I put on music and dance around, or I listen to an inspirational Impact Theory episode, and I most certainly do not check social media for a minimum of an hour after waking up. I do these to feel good now, why didn’t I do these to -keep- feeling good then? Why are we so reactive, not proactive?
I know this has been a long one, and I thank you for sticking by me. A big thank you to all the wonderful people who have kept checking in on me and making sure I am okay and that I have plans (keeping busy has been the first and foremost priority). The photo above is a few of those who have been wonderful to me, (My father in the Easter Bunny ears will probably be your favourite of the photos, I’m sure it’ll be his..!), there are so, so many others of you who I just didn’t have a photo of to hand but you’ll know who you are. I am extremely lucky to have you lot in my life. I’m so excited to be feeling more like Leah again, and less like that bloody chimp of mine.
The last thing I’ll leave you with for now is a quote from Brené Brown that made me cry, it’s just so spot on:
“You’re imperfect and wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging.”