I keep receiving lovely messages of support for my blog posts – thank you 🙂 I am very touched by every message, and moreso with the knowledge my innermost waffle is read and appreciated by others. It really is very comforting.
I also keep receiving lovely messages saying how brave I am for sharing so openly and honestly. For revealing so many of my ugly truths and personal struggles. Again – I thank you all for the support, but I’m also left wondering, am I doing the right thing?
As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, I grew up in an emotionally dysfunctional and stunted environment. There were tons of positives in my childhood, and I don’t mean to diminish their value, but unfortunately it is the negatives that left me drowning in recent years, and relearning how to function in society.
As I learned to deaden all emotions as a child – and I maintained this less-than-stellar approach for the first fifty years of my life – I have no sense of boundaries. The natural thing for me, is to talk about you. To tell you nothing more about myself than my favourite colour (pink) and how I have my tea (a dash of milk and no sugar thank you). Even discussing my favourite foods is problematic – I worry so much what I say will be judged, that now I’m not even sure I know what my favourite foods are. As I delved more and more into recovery, and searching for the self-awareness to identify my issues and how to remedy them, I gradually started learning to share stuff. ‘Stuff’ being feelings, thoughts, reflections on my actions and contemplations of future options.
I sometimes wonder if I’ve crossed a line. Am I oversharing? Does this impact those I live with? My husband and close friends read this blog. My eldest son has found it. My brother. I’m sure over time there may be other people who stumble upon it. Have I shared too much? I can say with absolute certainty, that if was asked about my feelings or about why I’m purging, or do I experience anxiety, I would be struck dumb. Staring at you with a slightly confused look of panic, desperately hoping the earth will open up beneath me so I can seek out a rock to hide behind. Discussing these things in real life borders on horrific. I just can’t do it. Or won’t do it. I lack the courage.
Gradually over the past couple of years I have shared more and more – initially in sessions with a psychologist, and then over time with different friends, then journaling and blogging. I now feel quite free sharing my innermost thoughts. It is quite comfortable. Perhaps this is how a smoker feels once they get used to those first god-awful cigarettes – it gets easier and easier the more you do it, and then before you know it, you’re comfortable with your new habits. Whether they’re healthy or not is a whole other story.
So why do I share? And potentially overshare? Number one – it’s all about me. Journaling is the single most powerful tool I have used in recovery. It took me years and years to bother starting. I kept reading and hearing how it was a great tool but I just thought (in my holier-than-thou kind of way), Yeah whatever. I’m sure it’s great, but it won’t work for me. But I stand before you now – totally corrected. There is no better tool. There is no necessity for journaling to be read by others – in fact a lot of my writings will never be read by anybody else – but just the pure act of writing out thoughts and feelings is incredibly cathartic. I also like to understand the nitty gritty of everything – or as one of my gorgeous friends says, the ins and outs of a duck’s guts (poor duck 😦 ) – and I understand my thoughts better with the written word. To be honest, I frequently fuck up the spoken word so I’m much more comfortable in this written world.
But aside from this sharing being all about me, there is a self-indulgent, ambitious part of me hoping it is helpful to others. To those who are going through any sort of recovery, I hope maybe a tiny snippet of something I write one day, will resonate and help you to know you’re not alone, you should never give up, there’s always another day and another way, hang in there. I understand what it’s like. I believe in you. You’re worth it. We can do it – together.
And to those who are trying to understand or support someone in recovery, I hope my little journey is a small window into one person’s world and that little window may shed a tiny bit of light and understanding. When you live with a mental health issue – be it depression, anxiety, addiction, or any of the myriad conditions – there is stigma and judgement and fear. And that’s just from yourself. If one support person develops a little more understanding or empathy, then the world becomes a kinder place.
And as for me being brave with my sharing? I don’t feel brave. Bravery is facing a fear head on, and doing it anyway. Writing and pressing “publish” doesn’t cause me any fear. Staying on the same side of the road as the chihuahua that’s coming towards me is terrifying, and that takes courage. But blogging is not courageous for me – it’s cathartic.
I’m not sure if I’m crossing over into the land of stupidity? I have met a lot of people in my life – family and friends and students and colleagues and members in groups and orchestras and goodness only knows what else! And I suspect that over time, people will inadvertently stumble across this blog and all of a sudden know a ton of information about me. I am not sure if that is brave or stupid, but I do hope it is worth it.
So with every ounce of my being, I thank each and every one of you for reading my words. For allowing me to share my thoughts – without judgment. For letting me wallow in pity parties and catastrophise every day events. These things I need to do. And I hope that something I say helps someone some day. And I desperately hope that what I say, never negatively impacts somebody else. This is my story, and my story alone.