It is no secret that I wasn’t doing very well when I wrote Monday and that had begun last Friday. Things have been turning around thanks to my friends. 🙂
When I say “friends”, I am speaking to those of you that emailed me supportive messages, commented on my post, nodded in understanding over my frustrations plus the people whom I know on a more personal level.
I didn’t always have good friends or good supports in place. In fact, 3 years ago I leaned on one person and I had a few wonderful friends that kept in touch over the internet but could not be a part of my daily life (as much as I would have loved that). I had my husband’s family as well but in truth? I didn’t know how to behave in a normal family. I didn’t know how to accept their open arms. I know they will be shocked that I used the word normal but they are a good group of people who support each other. Family right?
When your support system is not strong or you have found it hard to accept the support that is right there in front of you, life can blow you over rather easily.
Being hospitalized was one of the best things that ever happened to me. All these total strangers and many staff actually seemed to like me. I was honestly shocked by that. It was a huge gift to realize that I was really worth liking. I could be funny or serious and they still stayed. Many of them got to know my secrets while in group therapy and they got to know what I held as shameful for so many years. I assumed they would turn away once they knew my secrets but they did not. That experience gave me the courage to be more open when I went home and I found out that people liked me there too.
I might sound stunned/stupid here but the idea of someone actually liking me just for being myself was a foreign concept to me.
If you grow up being made to feel worthless or you run in to some “sweetheart” whom makes you feel worthless later in life, people liking you can be shocking. You’ve been taught that you are not worthy of that. It is sad to me that so many parents, teachers, family members, and partners can cause real damage without even realizing it. As for those who do it on purpose? That is a blog for another time.
It was all around this same time that I learned that I needed to extend my circle of friends. In a few cases it meant making new friends but in many cases, it really just meant letting good people who were in my life already get closer to me.
Why this long-winded talk about being liked as a person and letting good people in closer? Well… my hard days since last Friday are why.
Years ago, I would have experienced the trigger that I experienced last Friday and that would lead to a downward spiral that was on a very steep and slippery slope. I’d end up suicidal on day one more than likely. 😦
Here is where friends come in.
I let my friends know that I was having a hard time by blogging or emailing about it. In return I began to get supportive comments, kind emails (some being only one line long), some thoughtful Facebook messages/pictures, a phone call from one of my sister-in-laws, a craft day with a good friend, even my husband joined in this time and we watched “Inside Out”. If you ever watch that? I think they need to rename “Fear” as PTSD because that is exactly how we see the world. It was amusing really.
Each person did something that has been instrumental to my healing this week and all the weeks before this over the past 3 years. They showed me that they cared. Each person played a little part in letting me know that I wasn’t alone. Don’t forget that list includes many of you! Thank you.
So what is the point of this blog?
Well… for those of you with a very small circle of support or your “circle” belongs to you and your cat? You need to branch out a bit to help you get through the crappy parts of life. These same people will delight in the good times and we will delight in theirs but when a hard time arrives? They will be there for you.
This circle doesn’t need to be the best of friends. It just needs to be made of people who know enough about you (and you about them) that you care about each other. Heck, I chat with the Walmart greeter (Marina) and we know a lot about each other. We are not best of friends but I have shared the good times with her like buying cute clothes for my 2 small great-nephews or a really noisy toy for my great-niece. I know her kids still live at home and they are driving her crazy but she loves them too much to say anything. If I have a bad day? Marina gives a crap. The point of this is that many people inside your support circle are not really close with you and these are relationships we can all build.
Of course we all want close supports as well and we can build those too. We need to start small and be picky about who we share our inner life with. Trust is so important here. If you do not have close supports now? Don’t worry about it. You can build them from scratch.
Join a book club.
Take a class.
Go on a bird watching tour.
Take an exercise class.
Go for a daily walk and actually stop to say hello to people you see regularly.
Do/join/start anything at all that truly interests you and you will find like-minded souls there. They are taking the same class after all.
A huge thank you to each person who did even the smallest thing for me while I was down. You really helped and I am beginning to feel better now.
You all deserve to have that too and you can.