There have been many experiences this year that have unearthed a lot of difficult memories from the past. This has been immensely intense, as much of it has been concentrated over the last few months.
During the first part of the year I was numb, stuck in the lethargic mess that is depression – made worse with a large dollop of anxiety. Tentatively stepping back into the light, over the summer, meant that I was opening myself to a floodgate of emotions once again. This takes time, it always does. The other thing? It is an incredibly personal journey; no two people will go through depression in quite the same way. What may have worked for you may not work for the next person, hence I truly believe that with matters of mental health it nigh on impossible to have a ‘one size fits all’ attitude.
Once again, I am drawn back to gratitude for the people in my life. As an adult, gratitude has been a huge part of my journey; remembering all the good in my life helps to ground me, and lift me when I am stuck in murky waters. Gratitude is something I hope to always remember.
Over the last few weeks I have found myself battling internally; what I am battling is hard to put into words, as at present there are simply no words that will articulate it. I am hurting, that much is sure, but the reasons are still not completely clear – and even if I could put it into words, I am feeling the strong urge to become hidden from prying eyes. The gears in my mind tick over constantly, and the strings in my heart are being pulled eternally. I am a sensitive soul, but this is not seen, nor understood, by everyone.
As an introvert, my natural defence mechanism during times of emotional turmoil is to retreat. Drastically. Quickly. Without explanation.
Yet, I feel like a huge contradiction much of the time. I am introverted, yes, but I am often seen as an extrovert – and depended on to be extroverted, sometimes when it is the last thing I want and need to be doing. Quite a few of the people I am the closest to are true introverts; we all admit to feeling like we often need to wear a mask when we are around others. A mask that hides the complexities that lie within. A mask that tells the outside world that we are okay, when we are really far from it. A mask of bravery for the exterior.
However, when we can remove this mask – our hearts are allowed to be truly happy, even if it is only briefly.
Human beings are such complex, delicate creatures. This is something I have known and respected for a long time. The thing that hurts is when others profess to knowing this, and then their actions do the opposite. I cannot say why this is, as it is still something I do not truly understand. Yes, I can understand (and know) that when we are fighting through hard things in life, our actions may sometimes represent this – occasionally without us even realising – yet at the same time, we are continuously learning…is this not the point of life?
When you have been hurt so badly in the past, do you not try to prevent yourself from doing the same unto others? It is certainly not naive of me to believe in such a thing. Perhaps it is simply a case of different people taking different paths to get to the same teachings from life? Perhaps it is because we are all uniquely different? Perhaps it is because of the people we surround ourselves with? Perhaps it is because of the thoughts that run through our minds? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps… There are often no answers in this thing called life.
The last few years, and this last one especially, have taught me that the thing I once used to resent is possibly my greatest asset: my sensitivity. It makes my heart ache, often. It makes me realise the power of a smile, often. It makes me aware of the subtle nuances of other people, often. It makes life beautiful, even in the darkest of days. Being sensitive means that tears prick at my eyes very easily, but I am learning to welcome the flow of them as easily as I welcome my smiles; we have to feel our lives whilst we are in them.
The world is made up of every kind of person you can imagine…and we all breathe from the same air. You can either resent it, or embrace it. After all, we would learn nothing if we all behaved in the same way, if we all loved in the same way, if we all thought in the same way…
I will leave you with some beautiful words.
“What you are is what you have always been seeking. You are your perfect partner, your greatest lover, your oldest, dearest and most familiar friend. You are the one you fall asleep with every night, the one you wake up to every morning, the one who cannot leave you, the one you will eventually die with. You are the one who is never divided from yourself, the one who remains when everyone and everything else has gone. Rest in what you are.” – Jeff Foster