I have had one of the most emotionally difficult weeks that I have had in months. It came completely out of the blue, amidst what I thought would be a happy, fulfilling weekend that I had planned for myself. I wasn’t quite prepared for it to be clouded by a dull fog of hurt.
But that’s how it happens, isn’t it? Unexpectedly. Sadness doesn’t wait. The type of sadness that comes from traumatic experiences, it lives in a state of dormancy whilst life carries on. We try to conquer these emotions, but sometimes they resurface, out of the blue.
It started with a brutal reminder of the loss that I have suffered and the grief that I am still making my way through. Grief has been a weird thing for me. It feels like one of those wounds that you know is there, but you don’t really feel it until something bothers it or you start picking at it, and once you do the pain is excruciating.
This put in place a filter on my reality and stirred up many a demon. Even as I sit here, I am observing. Because for the first time in a good few months my values were pulled into blinding perspective.
It is so easy to lose yourself within the chaos of everyday life. Juggling work, responsibilities, trying to fit everything in all gets a bit much. When we are in this rat race we can lose sight of what we really want for ourselves. It can get clouded by external pressures and unrealistic standards and expectations.
This is why I am grateful for these unexpected downturns and moments of severe distress. It sounds counter-intuitive but the angst is worth the blinding lucidity it brings about.
I have felt totally and utterly vulnerable these past few days. I have felt totally stripped bare with nothing but absolute raw emotion left. I was reminded of some of the darkest days I have endured and what each of those experiences taught me, serving as a reminder of what is really important to me. Not anyone else, but my own values.
This became clear during a conversation with two very special friends of mine. We were speaking about labels, about mental illness and self-confidence.
The crux of the discussion came down to values, and how no matter how alternative to societal norms they may be, to be able to stick to your values throughout the madness of life is such an important, and often overlooked key to developing strong mental health.
Lets not forget that this took a severe breakdown for me to realise, so in no way am I saying it is easy and I am certainly not advocating perfect here, but if a breakdown is what it takes to help me strengthen my self-confidence and remind me of who I am, in my core, then I welcome those breakdowns with open arms.
And I welcome vulnerability too, because if I hesitated in allowing myself to bare all, I wouldn’t have had that enlightening conversation with my people.
What I am trying to say here is to not be afraid of feeling your emotions. If you are sad, be sad. If you are happy, enjoy it. and if you are really sad, feeling alone and hopeless, let it happen and observe it. You will be surprised what taking note of your feelings can teach you about yourself and where you are in your life.