This post may or may not ever see the light of day. Contrary to the title, it’s not an affiliated post with BT (if you’re too young to get that reference I’m raging…). Anyway, I digress Cause this is uncomfortable. This wee space on the internet is my light and easy hobby. Usually I feel that anything “heavy” has no place here. However, I think the horrendous news about Caroline Flack yesterday has made us all think about opening up or being more kind. This post has actually been in a draft form for weeks and weeks, resigned to die in the draft folder, but I figure if my experience helps one other person that needs it in some shape or form, it’s worthwhile publishing.
To be honest I take the stiff upper lip approach generally with life. I’m not a “talker” per se. I’m the Queen of the brave face. As a rule of thumb, most people that know me would never know when I’m struggling mentally. I try to be the cheery, positive person in the room and I can’t handle the thought of making somebody else’s day more difficult with my “stuff”, so I simply don’t. I’m much more likely to make a joke than cry or offload.
But, this is TERRIBLE advice. I learnt the hard way late last year that when you bottle your thoughts and feelings up for an extended period of time, it catches up on you. And it’s not a positive experience when it does. In fact, by the time it all crept up on me, I realised that I was at the lowest I’ve ever been. And that’s a scary place to be, especially if you’ve not experienced it before.
I went through an awful lot in a relatively short space of time. In a nutshell, I was deeply grieving the loss of my dad who was the closest person on earth to me and I was struggling to cope. I was worried about my family and looking after them, always trying to be strong for them. Then suddenly I lost my home and my “life” as I knew it. People I thought I knew turned out to be something quite ugly and it actually impacted on how I viewed myself. In the end, it actually took something relatively “small”, a really nasty exchange with someone, at the wrong time, to just push me into the depths of darkness. I just ran out of positivity and optimism. I was disillusioned about the human race, beyond overwhelmed and honestly, I was terrified of how I felt. I was drowning and yet I still didn’t open up and speak to somebody.
I am extremely fortunate and have amazing people around me and a few of them were thankfully perceptive enough to see that I wasn’t at all myself and really tried everything they could to help get me back into a positive space. But nothing really worked. I couldn’t shake that heavy, worthless feeling and nothing I seemed to do brought me much joy. I literally wanted to just pack my stuff and bugger off, far away. It felt like almost every internal thought I had was dark.
Luckily at the end of the year, I got some perspective shot into my life like a lightening bolt and I was able to build my mental strength back up on the back of that. My priorities shifted and I started practising more self care and putting myself first for a bit. But if I had of just spoken and opened up to people long before, I probably would never have gotten to the point I was at to begin with.
The lesson learnt for me is really simple. It’s a cliche but it is good to talk. Not dealing with your feelings or being honest with those around you can store up big issues. And it breaks my heart to know there are people out there that can’t see solutions to their problems and feel like the only way out is to end it all.
You are not a burden on your loved ones. Be honest with yourself, if your friend came to you to talk about their problems would you feel like they were burdening you? Of course you wouldn’t and you’re not any different. If you’re feeling low, or overwhelmed or like you can’t see a solution, remember, there is always a brighter day to come. If you really don’t want to “burden” your friends or family, phone a helpline or if you have the financial resources, book a therapy session. Whatever you have to do to get it out, please do it.
I know I’m very fortunate and I know there are a lot more people out there with much bigger things happening in their lives. What I’ve experienced isn’t new or out of the ordinary. But it still impacts your mental health. Even though I’ve had very tough periods since, opening up and talking about it has really helped stop me sinking into that dark hole again.
This post is in no way intended to be a “sympathy post”. I’m one of the proudest people and I don’t ever want to feel like a “victim”, but if it helps one person offload their negativity in some way, I would be delighted.
And if you’re not struggling yourself, use your words kindly. You don’t know what impact you have on somebody else. If you can’t be kind, STF up!