“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.” -Carl Jung
I have been debating where to go with the second blog post. Mostly because the first held so much information and I have so much I want to share. I have considered every angle, every possible approach to sharing this information over the last few days. Then as I still sat debating and running words through my head like toxic positivity, loneliness, depression, anxiety, fire, phoenix and so many other words I saw a video talking about a 13 year old girl who recently tried to commit suicide on an overpass. In that moment I realized this blog can’t be about a sequence of events. It can’t be about what I think others might think of me and most of all it can’t be about what I think others want to hear. This blog was started purely so no one else had to ever stand in the middle of that fire alone waiting for the flames to consume them.
Life is chaotic, add trauma, depression, anxiety, chronic illness, and a million other little things to the mix while you’re standing in the middle of the flames and the heat will overtake you. This is where loneliness sets in. Some of the loneliest people I know have been surrounded by people with great intentions. How many times have you been asked “What can I do to help?” “What do you need?” or been told “Just let me know what I can do.” How many times have you said those exact words?
I am unable to count the number of times I have heard those words. As a child after being pulled out of the flames temporarily I would often here things such as “Keep going!” “You’ve got this!” “You’re so strong!” Yet I recall feeling absolute anger towards those sentiments. The people that shared those words had nothing but good intentions for me. I had been surrounded by the complete opposite many times in my life, so why did I feel so angry?
As an adult I have found often times the same sentiments occur, “You’ve got this!” “Be thankful for what you have!” “How can you be depressed when you have so much going for you?” “You’re an amazing human!” As well as words that hurt to the core like “Sharing about your depression and anxiety is a way to get attention, so many people have it worse. ” ” You push people away.” “Stop dwelling in the past!” “Let it go, its a new day!”
If you have ever heard these words or been faced with the feelings that surround those words I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart, I AM SORRY! People do not always know better and until people know better they truly can not do better. This is not your fault.
Toxic positivity had become the standard for many years. Remember all of those people I mentioned who do not realize their buckets they are using to put out your fire are filled with gasoline instead of water? For many people most bad situations are still plagued with feelings of inadequacy and shame related to the feelings they have in regard to positivity. Then on the other hand you have those of us who cover all of our pain in rainbows and sunshine only to later realize it makes people believe we are not real. When in fact we are often trying to be vulnerable, but not understanding true vulnerability.
Here is what I believe we all need to hear! You ARE YOUR STORY, but YOU ARE NOT the people who created your story. What I mean by that is whatever it is that has happened to you has created the beautiful, compassionate, creative, interesting, bold, brave, strong, courageous, loving, passionate, empathetic and thoughtful human you are. The truth is there is no answer to the question “What can I do to help?” Trust me, If we knew how to fix this internal pain we wouldn’t have it in the first place.
As the quote above states: “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.” -Carl Jung ” When someone is lonely they likely can not communicate what they need or how they are hurting. This is where true, unconditional love and empathy come in. So now as you read this you may feel like you’re at a crossroads… “How can I help those I love who are hurting?” or ” How will I ever stop feeling like this if no one else can help me?”
The answer to both of those questions is this “You have had the power all along, my dear.” You have the power to step out of the fire and if you are on the outside, you have the power to step in. As I said before it WILL hurt! There is no doubt in my mind. This is inevitable. You will lose people you had hoped to be close to, you will lose people you thought would always be there and for awhile you may feel like you have lost yourself.” This is normal.
Before you take that step out of the fire you have to ask yourself, if I had no limitations physical, emotional, financial or personal what would I do? What would be worth stepping out of this fire? What would make me want to live another day? The answer isn’t going to appear in thin air and no one is going to hand it to you. Once you find that answer, you will realize your next step.
When that happens you will also realize the cheering section of “How can I help?” will begin to disappear. This will be the hardest to accept, not that you ever needed that help, but it will become even more lonely. I wish I knew how to make that transition easy for you, but there is no magic path. The road to finding yourself and stepping outside of the fire is far more difficult then inside the fire. The ONLY difference is the road of discomfort will end and you will find your truest and best self waiting at the end of that path. There will be beauty and joy. It will be beyond your comprehension. If you chose to let the flames consume you my friend, you will forever be lost in the path of those who tried to control your story. Don’t let them take credit for the beautiful outcome. There is peace in that pain.
You’ve got this and when it feels like you can’t go on, take a nap, go for a walk, care for yourself and use the word NO. I promise it sounds so difficult, but the first time you step into that power you will slowly begin to find peace. As you read this if you are lost deep in your fire and you feel like you can’t go on. Do me a favor, keep going on just a little longer. When that “little longer” gets here keep going on a little more. I will share more soon! I promise I’ve been down dark paths. I’ve tried to end my road far too soon. I’ve been met with demons, regrets and pain along the way. I’ve hurt others. I’ve hurt myself, but what I do know is you HAVE to keep going! ESPECIALLY in the darkness you can’t see the light because you my dear are the light!
If your reading this and you’ve never been in the darkness I am speaking of do me a favor…Find someone in your world who seems as if they need a little joy. Reach deep down inside your soul and think of what you would want someone to do for you in those moments. Do not overwhelm them with social activity or long conversations, just share a little hope. I promise you will make a difference. Most of all keep doing that without need for acknowledgement or reward. The payback will be great I promise you!