So this post will be a recount of some of the things I have experienced over the last couple of years.
I don’t know how to explain it and it’s taken me a while to write this post. But basically I want to talk about something I think is quite important.
Now I understand that this may not apply to everyone and I don’t want this to be a preachy, over-emotional post. Because I’ve complained several times about posts like that and I wouldn’t want to do that to you guys. But this is more for me. It’s so I can have a reminder of the things I learnt from some experiences I’ve had so that next time I face something similar, I’ll be able to follow my train of thought on here and hopefully cope with it. And in that way, I hope it benefits a few people out there.
I want to talk about a few themes. But they’re connected in a way. So I apologise if I’m jumping topics here and there.
Basically, I want to talk about people, and vulnerability.
I’ve had a completely horrific last couple of years. And I think I’ve alluded to some of these things in previous posts. Basically, I’ve had some hard things happen to me emotionally. And this was because of events and people that are significant to me. But it’s not even about that. It’s about what happened afterwards.
See, when I was going through this, I found it hard to cope with multiple things happening at once. And one thing I kept hearing over and over from all sources was this: talk to someone about it. Or, seek help.
This wasn’t from people I had approached. Basically, my closest friends and family can pick up on when I’m upset, etc. So when they try to strike up a conversation about it, I’d say I’m just having a hard time, and this would always be followed by that golden party line.
As time went on though, these became more than suggestions. I was being pressured into talking to someone. Talk to friends, talk to family, talk to a counsellor. Just do it! You need help!!
This was anything but helpful to be honest. For me personally, I have wonderful people around me. But I always feel like I can’t explain things to them in a way that makes them understand exactly what I’m feeling. To put it bluntly, I don’t believe anyone really understands me. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I’ve never lost sleep over it. It’s something I’m aware of and accept. Surely you can’t expect people to understand you completely. So you can imagine why I was having trouble with this talking thing. It was more than that though, I felt that I had the strength and insight to deal with my own problems.
But of course, things were getting worse for me. So over time I started to believe what everyone else was saying. That I needed help. I got to this place where I felt I wasn’t strong enough to deal with these issues and other people knew something that I didn’t. So I was talked into talking to others.
It was hard. It was really difficult. Went to counsellors, who to me, were saying pretty standard things about how I shouldn’t worry about what others think and I should let go and focus on good things, etc. Stuff I already know. Which made me more frustrated.
Then I was talked into talking to friends- people I didn’t really trust, actually. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with them, it was more that I wasn’t comfortable talking to them about certain issues. But I forced myself to, anyway. Because I believed I needed help. And it really did Not help.
The thing is, people can have the best intentions. But often when you show people you are vulnerable, they want to fix you. This somehow makes them feel they have the authority to make decisions for you. And they interfere. Which is the last thing you need, sometimes. And it’s what happened to me. Things got much worse. Only now, I was reduced to feeling like others don’t understand, but also, that I was wasting their time with problems that they could care less about.
Awful feeling, that. The need to want someone else to listen, for them to understand, comfort you, but also put up with feeling like you’re taking up their life with your petty issues.
They’re probably not petty, but you’ll definitely feel like they are, sometimes.
At one point though, something had to give. I was talking to one of my friends when he straight up said something to the effect of “I can’t help you. You’re not accepting of any thing right now and I have some other serious problems to deal with”.
It was a huge shift for me. Someone had just confirmed that they couldn’t help and that they had more important things to do in their life. It wasn’t a half-assed attempt to make me feel better but not really understanding anything. It was the truth.
That gave me resolve. I completely rejected the hypothesis that you need to talk to others to feel better or work through your problems. Because everyone is a separate person with their own battles. To expect someone to understand, let alone fix your problems is a bit unfair in my opinion.
It’s also unfair to you. I feel like I underestimated myself quite a bit.
I am enough.
The leading evidence-based treatment for depression is actually “self-help”. As in, you are enough to sort your own issues out. You have all the things you need.
No you don’t need a counsellor. No you don’t need pills and therapy. What you need is to trust yourself. I know that sounds so fluffy and cliche. But hear me out.
I made a resolve. Never to talk about my problems to my friends again. I still talked to all of them everyday. But I made it a point to only talk about positive things. I projected myself as a happy, content person. And this made me deliberately look for positive things in my life. I spent a lot of time on my own. Not ruminating, but going to new places and doing different things until I absolutely enjoyed my own company. I focused on helping other people with their issues (Not by interfering, but by being there). I went out of my way to help others. I guess I felt better by putting myself in a position where I am able to assist someone else. It was like a defense mechanism. It helped me focus less on my issues and allowed me to put more energy into others. It really helped.
I also continued blogging. I can’t explain the positive effect blogging has had on my life. But even on here, I try to keep my posts about the positive, interesting things that happen and the most I can learn from them and the people I interact with.
If it’s one thing that I want to conclude from my experiences and this post, it’s that whatever ridiculous things happen to you, you have all the strength and tools you need to deal with them on your own.
Now this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t seek help or talk to people or become a loner. Because if you have people that do understand you and help you feel Better, then for God’s sake talk to them. Because that’s rare. And it can make all the difference. Even counsellors are helpful. Maybe not in my case, but they do help lots of people out there.
But if you’re like me, and you don’t want to talk about your problems, don’t feel like an oddball. You’re capable of dealing with it on your own. Believe that.
But most importantly, don’t make any bad decisions. I had made several that I regret. And I’m not one of those people who thank their horrible experiences for the person they are today. I’d rather acknowledge that they were bad experiences and I had made bad decisions, but the person that got past all those things has always been inside me. It just took a while to be released.
I know this is a rather bleak topic and may be irrelevant to many people out there. But if this applies to even a single person out there, I’m grateful.
I learnt a lot about myself. That was important over the last two years. And I hope that should I face similar things again, I will apply the same principles you get through them.