This wasn’t what I was going to share next
and I know that this may sound totally off the wall, considering the purpose of
my blog—to share my journey in the hopes that something I say helps someone in
some sort of way. However, I
needed a break from talking about my journey. Sharing did something to me and I’ve realized that you don’t always have to
‘talk about it.’ And yes, there is
a very specific reason that I say this.
Before I started sharing my story, I was writing in a digital journal to me for me. I did it because I was trying to get my head around things that were happening in my life at that moment, about feelings of what had happened in my past, what I was working for in the future and how I was ‘changing my story’ so that I was no longer a victim, but someone who was taking control of her life. And sometimes just to ugly cry, because that’s what I needed at that moment.
I didn’t originally consider sharing my own experiences online, but if you’ve read my ‘about me’ post, you’ll know how I came to creating this blog. If I have to be honest, what I originally pictured so vividly in my head was completely different—that I could share my story, in person, with a group of people in the hopes that something I said resonated with them so they would believe in themselves—that they would realize that they were worth more than they gave them selves credit for. That something I said would inspire them to change the world, even if I never knew that anything I said could have that effect on them. This is what I have experienced from others sharing their stories, and I wanted to pay it forward.
I still have this vision… Being in a
darkened conference room in front of a group of amazing people, under a
spotlight, so blinding, that I wouldn’t really have any idea how many people
were actually with me, in the crowd. It’s quiet, but not quiet, because of the
ringing in my ears from my own nervousness. And the reason I was there was not
to have a spotlight shining on me, but to share how I was just like the next
person, depressed mom boss and all, and if I could do it, if I could make it,
then so could they.
I still believe this. I don’t know the timeline it will take me to get there yet, but I feel it in my heart, so strongly, that I have pangs when I think about it. And in the interim, I am sharing my journey online with anyone who cares to read.
My main message? A statement that I thought
very silly until I started this ‘voodoo’ (and yes, I mean that sarcastically)
of personal growth… ‘Change your story.’ There are so many things that we don’t
have control over, but there are so many more things that we can control, like
the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. I still struggle with this and
it is what I have to consciously remind myself about… sometimes from moment to
moment, breath to breath, depending on how hard something that I am dealing
with is. It hasn’t come naturally to me, so I still work on saying that I can
change my story.
So, when I began to share my life with depression in this blog, I started to rehash stuff from a very negative mindset, so that people would know where I was coming from. Although I do still struggle to take on the day, the thing is, I was still getting through the day, which is considered a win. I am still ‘here’, even if it feels forced sometimes, and I decided that negative mindset didn’t define who I was anymore and I wanted to help others decide that for themselves too.
However, I didn’t always feel that way. I believed that I was indeed defined by my circumstances, that the anger, the pain, the numbness was all that I would ever know even though I ‘prayed’ that someday I would be happy. I didn’t know or wouldn’t have believed I was playing the victim because the stuff that I was going through was tough, and my reactions were completely justifiable. I was comfortable with being miserable, even though I claimed that’s not what I wanted—but I did want that… because I did nothing to change anything, even if it was just my perspective on my situation. No one knew that this was going on in my head. People always just saw the bubbly, happy, flaky Sarah because I was good at hiding my true self.
Yet, sharing all of this… putting this vulnerability
all out in the universe and exposing my true self had an unforeseen
consequence. I started to relive everything I was writing about. Every. Single.
Thing. And although I have only just started sharing my journey, I needed to
step away already.
Which tells me several things.
1. And back to my initial statement. You don’t always have to talk about ‘it’. (I just want to be clear about something. If there are disturbing thoughts swirling around in your brain, or there are self-destructive secrets, or you need to articulate something out loud so you can get it off your chest, then you should talk about it. It’s not about keeping things to ourselves or allowing our negative emotions to consume all our thoughts, in which case it is very important to talk about it, especially if this is the way that you can deal with issues that are swirling around up there in your head. If talking about it helps you, then continue doing what works for you.)
But when people insist that you need to talk about something to get through it, nope, I don’t always believe that’s true. Sometimes talking about ‘it’ solidifies the fact that ‘it’ was bad, like an affirmation. I know ‘it’ was bad. You know ‘it’ was bad. So why do we spend so much time talking about ‘it’?
Everyone heals differently. Everyone comes to that place differently. But don’t discount the fact that the more and more we talk about ‘it’, we’re only confirming that’s where we live and that’s what our story is because of the repetition of talking about it.
What we really need to talk about is working through the fallout of those thoughts or experiences. It’s about coming to terms of what those things, sometimes seeming so insignificant, have done to impede our healing—and then moving forward through them. Personally, the first time I admitted I had to do this was with a psychologist after my hubby and I were in a car accident, three months after we were married. I was talking about the accident, about my work letting me go, about the eggshells that were between me and my husband because I was so angry and every time I told they psychologist, I would get more angry. So, we devised a plan to not talk about the ‘its’ I was going through, but instead work through the emotions associated with all the its. I was fortunate I had an outlet to discuss the feelings that were a result of the circumstances and it made me realize that I needed to shift what I was talking about.
2. Slipping back into the negative mindset could be a big indicator that you are not ‘working on yourself’ enough. And I want to be honest here, because this is where I was at the exact moment before I started to write this post. I believed I was doing well. I was reading personal growth books, listening to inspirational and motivational talks and audio books, taking time to deliberately think about things that I was grateful for. I was doing everything I thought that I could, but somehow, in my own head, I still made a shift towards the negativity from sharing my journey.
But I came to a realization—I wasn’t doing anything for me. I was being pulled down by my own thoughts and words because I remembered that I didn’t feel like I was enough and I wasn’t allowing myself to let go and ‘play’. I love how Brene Brown describes it best in her book, Dare to Lead. She talks about research from Stuart Brown, who states that the opposite of play is depression. For me, this explained why the personal development stuff that I was doing was not helping me.
My play is doing something that makes me happy. One of my Arbonne sideline sisters suggested thinking about what made you happy as a kid. One of those things for me is singing Disney cartoon musicals or 80’s music, like no one’s listening, so be prepared to cover your ears. Maybe for you, it’s a walk in the woods. Maybe it’s reading. A bubble bath? Running? I have no idea, but if you’re in that negative mindset, then you might need a minute to let go and play, so you gain the strength to address and deal with the stuff that is keeping you down.
3. Slipping back into the negative mindset is not necessarily a bad thing, so forgive yourself. Why do we humans have such a hard time forgiving ourselves??? I think that we are so focused on being ‘good’ and getting over the bad, that we go down a ‘beat yourself up’ spiral, which may look a bit like this:
“I know I shouldn’t be focussed on the negative—look how you’re not able to just get over it. I know that the more I think about all these negative things that it is making things worse—but here you are, not thinking about something else. I know that I started sharing my own vulnerabilities with the hopes that it could help someone—but instead you let yourself get mired down into the negativity.”
You may need to go down that negative path again for a bit, but it doesn’t mean you’ve failed helping yourself (or failed as a blogger who wants to help others). It’s okay to feel bad sometimes, especially if that means that you are able to get both feet on the ground to give yourself a base to spring up from it. But this can only happen if you can forgive yourself for feeling poorly in the first place.
4. Healing isn’t about finding happiness. It’s about believing in the process. You don’t have to feel good to share the negativity, but you need to believe that it will bring you to a better place in the long run. This is where I got trapped before I decided to share this. Even though you may get pulled back into your negative thoughts and feelings, it’s just one of those steps that bring you closer to healing yourself.
I have to admit, my thoughts are all over
the place with this post. If you really want to get an idea of how erratic my
thoughts are sometimes, then this is it. However, sometimes things like our
thoughts are messy, because that’s real life, so I didn’t want to write and
edit what I wrote here (but seriously, if you notice any glaring errors, please
I am going to continue to share my journey, now that I’ve gotten a grasp of why I was being pulled down by my recollections and hopefully be able to post something once or twice a month.
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From the bottom of my heart, thanks for reading!
Sarah, The Depressed Mom Boss