“I said I wouldn’t call but I’ve lost all control and I need you now. And I don’t know how I could do without, I just need you now.” Lady Antebellum
To start, I know that it has been forever since I last blogged. There has just been a lot going on and I know I say that a lot but it is really true. I tried to get my thoughts together and believe me, there were a lot of them. I just couldn’t narrow all of the thoughts in my head down to one blog. I waited and waited and thought and thought. It wasn’t until this week that it hit me like a ton of bricks. There has been a lot going on in the world and I wanted to take the time to discuss it and give my point of view.
In one week, two celebrities have committed suicide. Although I did not know them personally I was a fan of both of them it hurt me to my heart to know that they both felt that taking their own lives was the only way that they could get relief or peace from this crazy world. To the outside world and to the people that knew them best they were both said to have been happy, joyful and full of life. They were said to always have a smile on their face and to love all of their close family and friends. It really made me wonder, how is it that these two people can appear to be so happy and full of life to the people closest to them but still take their own lives as a means of escape? What exactly was the disconnect?
I started to think about my own life. I appear to be happy on the outside. I tend to carry other people’s issues and feelings often and I do not mind doing it at all. I honestly think that I was put here for that, among other things. I love helping people through their dark days and times. I am glad that I can hold their hand and shed light on things that obviously make them feel so low. I take pride in being there for others. What I realized though is that when I am done helping others put the pieces of themselves back together again, I am not broken and not made whole myself. I realized that I do not have the same help as I offer to others. I am left there with all of my thoughts, fears, hurt, wounds and scars and I am left to try and sift through all of it and put on a “happy face” before I can venture out into the world again. Although I know hundreds of people, especially on social media…I am not sure that I know one well enough to be there for me to help me put myself together again. When I sat down and came to this realization, it showed me that I live a very lonely life and I always have. For as long as I can remember, I have always been alone. I never really made friends that stuck around for the “long-haul.” The friends that I did make would stay around for a while but eventually they would up and go and somehow it just always ended up being me, myself and I. There is nothing wrong with being alone. I believe that sometimes being by ourselves is the best thing that we can ask for but then there are times when you just need someone by your side while you laugh, cry, scream or whatever it is that you need to do in that moment to allow yourself to feel better. I always thought that it was so interesting that you can be around a room full of people and feel so alone. It’s truly something. I often wondered if it was just me that felt this way. It made me sad to think that others could possibly feel the same loneliness that I do.
To most of the people in my life I am looked at as “the strong one.” I am usually the one who reaches out especially when someone that I care about is going through something. I do whatever it is that I can to ensure that they are taken care of. I want to make sure that they know that they are not alone and that it is going to get better. I reach out as much as needed. Being alone is not a good feeling and I try to make sure that no one feels that way. As much as I enjoy being the “strong one” it also has its disadvantages. Everyone expects you to be able to handle your stuff and their stuff, they never reach out to make sure that you are okay because you display that you always are. You end up wiping your own tears along with everyone else’s and you end up fighting all of your demons and battles alone. You become everything to everyone but yourself. You end up climbing into bed with all of the lights off and you just cry your eyes out and you wish and pray that there was someone to help you unload all of the baggage and burdens that you carry. You just wish for a break, before you break. You want some peace, rest and just a small part of your sanity back. You do all of this in the dark and in silence because you don’t want everyone to see or think that you are not as strong as they think you are or as strong as you portray yourself to be. If you breakdown and show that you are actually human and you need help, what will the others think of you? Will they view you differently? Will they still trust you to help them unload their baggage or will they see you as weak, damaged and a fake because you made them think that you were something that you weren’t, strong? These are thoughts that often go through my mind. I do not want to be like anyone else but me but it would be nice to feel like there was someone that I could go to if I needed it and they would not look at me differently. I believe that is why most people stay quiet about the mental and emotional battles that they face on a daily basis. It is too hard to admit to others that we are not okay because we are afraid of the opinions that they would form about us. We are too consumed with the thoughts that others will have about us that we don’t even take the time out to have a thought or think about our own well-being and needs. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to say that you can’t do it alone. In my opinion, that is what makes you strong.
As someone who struggled with depression, I can relate to the feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and just feeling like I didn’t mean anything to anyone. I would barricade myself in my apartment in my room with the door closed and I did not want to communicate with anyone about anything. I would keep the blinds sealed shut and I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want anyone to see me that way. I didn’t want to be judged or made fun of. I didn’t want anyone to think any less of me. I didn’t want people to think that I could not handle everything that life was throwing at me when that was the truth. I couldn’t. My uncle had died and I loved him so much. That was my toughest loss, I wanted a house so badly but we did not have any help, I hated my job and I wanted to get out but we were not in a financial situation to do so, I was tired of looking at myself in the mirror with the same hairstyle and the same clothes. I was tired of not feeling pretty or appreciated. I was tired of people not calling to check on me or asking me if I wanted to go places. I was tired of feeling like the only person that wanted me around was my daughter. I was tired of it all. I was tired of pretending that I had a grip on reality when all I wanted to do was close my eyes and make it all disappear. I just wanted to go away. Would the world be better without me? Would they miss me? Would they even notice that I was gone? I hated that my mama would keep asking me why I didn’t want to go to the doctor. I told her part of the truth which was that I didn’t have the money. The other part was that I knew I was depressed. I had studied the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders) enough to know what it was frontwards and backwards. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what it was that I felt because I lived it. I dealt with those feelings everyday and if a doctor told me I was depressed (which I was) I would have to own and admit it and that was something I was not prepared for.
Of course hindsight is always 20/20 and I am so glad that I went to the doctor and talked to someone because I needed it. I needed to get all of my feelings off my chest. I needed help and I needed to not feel ashamed of what I was going through. It was a hard pill to swallow but going through what I was going through alone was even harder. I wanted someone to understand I had that in my doctor. She cared and she worked with me to ensure that I was getting better. Resources are there. All we have to do is ask for them. I beg of you, check on your strong friends. Check on your not so strong friends. Call and text them. Motivate and encourage them. Be their shoulder. Tell them that you love them. Everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. Being someone’s shoulder or shelter during a storm may do more than brighten their day, it just may save their life. Thanks for reading! 💋