Posted by: JulieAloha | December 15, 2016

Change of View

I’ve dealt with depression most of my life, but this year has sent me spiraling into the darkness farther than ever before. A bad break up and the resulting heartache, the loss of friendships, and the death of my grandmother have kept me on not so much of a roller coaster as a sinking ship. I’ve struggled with feelings of despair, betrayal, helplessness and despondency and I admit to having had thoughts of suicide, though that’s not a real option for me. Through it all I’ve tried to maintain a public face, a mask of “I’m getting through this,” but there are some giant holes in this mask and I’ve become extremely fragile, my emotions barely under the surface. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, I sob at movies and bittersweet stories on NPR; I’m a soft touch. These days I’m not far from despair at any given moment; I’ve hit my nadir, so far down I can’t see the light anymore and I wonder if I can hold my breath long enough to struggle back to the world above.

However, a friend shared some great advice yesterday which has caused me to see my situation in a different light. I’ve been trying so hard to find a resolution, to fix things all by myself while simultaneously trying to defend myself and find healing and also trying to be fair to everyone involved, but I’m in such bad shape that it’s been like being lost in the middle of an ocean squall and trying to tread water long enough to fix everybody’s broken lifeboats. My friend told me I need to stop trying to be nice, that I’m hurt and broken and I need to put myself first for awhile, that I need to learn to be selfish for now. This is difficult for me – now I’m no saint, but I do try to be kind and fair as much as possible. I definitely have my own opinions, but I’ve always had this ability to see things from others’ points of view, to see the bigger picture, and I do my best to take into account all angles of a situation and consider pros and cons to all concerned before making decisions – this has annoyed some people as I tend to play devil’s advocate even to my own (or their) detriment. It’s who I am and who I choose to be; I’d rather be kind and believe the best about people and risk getting hurt for my naivety than the alternative. That said, without my notice this ability to see the whole picture has been slowly collapsing, growing smaller and more feeble as I’ve fallen apart. I’ve sometimes lost sight of myself, impulsively saying and doing things out of character, in bitterness, anger and fear. I thought I was still seeing, still understanding, but there have been so many unexpected moments when I’ve been caught off guard, when I’ve failed to anticipate reactions and been dismayed and deeply hurt as a result.

I still want to be able to fix things, to mend relationships and heal. My friend told me that sometimes stopping to take care of yourself IS doing something to fix the situation – after all, how can you be of any help to someone else if you are drowning yourself?

So after this epiphany I’m now pulling in all oars and bailing my own boat, not worrying about anyone else until I’m in a better place myself. I don’t know how long it will take (or how long I can keep up the nautical references), but I need to start my journey back to good health and strength and life. My friend advised me to look for ways to find moments of happiness, to do things not associated with the people who’ve caused me pain. To take control of my own space, maybe rearrange the furniture or buy something new that will provide a few of those happy moments I’m trying to find. 

Therefore, I will continue to plan to sell my condo, purchase a new one, larger, more space and amenities, and one in which I can have a puppy. My mom and I plan to go to DisneyWorld in the spring. I’m saving up for a new car. I’m losing weight and getting my diabetes under control (I’ve lost thirty pounds so far, though most of that is from not being able to eat because of stress and anxiety). I’ve set a daily walking goal and weekly weight loss goal and I’m taking each moment as they come.

There will still be anguish and heartache and despair. There will still be loneliness and self recrimination and sorrow. But I will own them now, recognizing them as part of the journey, but only a part of the journey, not the entirety of it. And I will no longer take responsibility for the others who have hurt me, betrayed me, belittled my pain and my grief. Let them paddle their own damn canoes. 


Responses

  1. As a Type II diabetic, I urge you to give thanks for those 30 vanished pounds. Wouldn’t commend the way you lost #s to anyone but this is a very healthy outcome. If I’d lost 30 pounds, walked daily, and ate more conscientiously, I wouldn’t be diabetic any more.Secure your health, Good post. John W

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, John. Those 30 pounds have made a definite difference in my blood sugar, my clothes and my silhouette.

      Like

  2. Hurrah,Julie! I am excited to read this new approach to your grief and pain. I am grateful to that friend who shared with you his wisdom. You are a precious woman and I love you much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my Other-Mother. I love you, too ❤

      Like

  3. Sounds like a very good friend gave you some wonderful advice and you have a plan to move forward. Being stuck in an emotional crisis is a difficult place to be and even making one step to change one thing is sometimes all that is needed to move the process forward. You have to take care of you. It’s the same advice I hear from people, too, when they tell me I have to take care of myself or I will be unable to take care of Patrick. Another difficult thing to do and I try but often fall short or do achieve it, but my body fails me anyway.

    Having a puppy is always a wonderful thing for the soul. Our home is not a home without a dog in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Hilda. It’s a moment by moment thing – I persevere. Definitely looking forward to puppy time, maybe in a few months or so…

      Like


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