On Friday, I had a really hard day. Like really bad. Can’t quite say what it was, as I kind of woke up with it. But no matter what I tried, I couldn’t shake the ominous dark cloud shrouding my being. I know the drill: I went to the gym, I had a bath, tried to meditate. I really tried to lift myself but it was just not happening. In fact, the more fruitless my efforts, the more hopeless I became.
After battling it all day, I decided to reach out to a few friends. But that action alone was surprisingly difficult. Firstly, I couldn’t decide who to call. Then the problem of what to say. I mean, I didn’t really know what was wrong. When I did think of a couple people, I called but either they weren’t physically or emotionally available. They didn’t grasp the severity of my predicament because I ended up minimizing things. In that moment, it was the hardest thing in the world to say: I am overwhelmed and I need help.
This turned out to be quite a strange thing for me. Because I really didn’t think I had a problem with communication. I have always been pretty good at articulating my feelings. I have worked actively on self-awareness for years. I know this stuff. So what was blocking me? I was perplexed. Even Cricket was worried, keeping a close watch on me with her wide concerned eyes.
After reaching my limit, I resigned myself to just to bed early. I was hoping the next day I would just wake up better. But even that felt wrong, like a failure of sorts; like giving up. I really wanted to name what was actually wrong.
As I was tossing and turning, I got text from a new-ish friend trying to organize a meeting. It felt really awkward but I flatly asked if we could talk. It may have been because I was feeling more desperation but there was no beating around the bush, cryptic phrases, minimizing, or hoping for mind-reading going on in this call. In the end, she just listened and empathized. Seemed I was able to work it out by just speaking it out loud.
It didn’t solve everything by any means, but it helped me feel less alone and a heck of a lot less scared. I am grateful to my friend, I won’t name her so she doesn’t get a pile of needy people breaking down her door. But the secret was that she didn’t try to solve it. She just listened. I needed to talk so bad. And it didn’t really even take that long. Like 15 minutes.
So what I figured out is that when I have been in that space before I have done things like drink alcohol, self-medicate, or eat to numb my feelings. Turns out sadness and even hopelessness are natural human feelings. I don’t know where along the line I learned to be so afraid of them. Perhaps because in the past when I was younger it felt so insurmountable. It kinda was. No one should have to go through trauma alone. Scared and scarred are closer than just one letter. Perhaps the fear comes from past hurts that haven’t healed. The more you allow the hurt to heal, the less fear remains.
So the next day I woke up, and things were in fact a lot less heavy. The day was a little brighter. Still felt some residual angst, but I also experienced some relief. The old destructive coping strategies I had used for so long, no longer overtook me. I didn’t wake up feeling hung over or shameful or defeated. I actually felt like I had a little win. It was small but it was proud. I had gotten through the darkness of yesterday without harming myself in any way. I guess once you do something once, it’s easier the next time. I also learned a great way to self-sabotage is trying to do “life” alone. No man is an island.
I am grateful for warmth, persistence, stability, grace, and timing.