As I stand up, acknowledge, and validate these emotions, something weird happens. They disappear. As though, they were never real in the first place, just an illusion created in my mind. A cloud dispersing into the mist. A reflection from a mirror which turns out to be a clear window instead...
"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you at all." Change is that unique spice that gets thrown into the mix of life, and we all get to experience it. And yet, change is not something we tend to get on with easily because most of us have grown up with the notion that change is potentially something "troublesome" or even dangerous when in fact it could be easily just another beginning of a new exciting and exhilarating adventure!
Depression is a filthy thing; we instinctively recoil from it. Yet it keeps coming until we can’t ignore it anymore, constantly stinging us, never satisfied. Its filthiest effect might be its ability to silence our expression of pain.
On March 9, 2016, I began a journey to get healthier by going to the gym. I have been every day, rain or shine, since. Yes, I know that I am not supposed to go to the gym every day as evidenced by the rolled eyeballs of any trainer with whom I've spoken. People are not supposed to go to the gym every day. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of guy so I committed to going every day. Whether I felt great or not I went for at least thirty minutes, at the very minimum walking slowly on the treadmill. Most of the time, however, it was far more intense than that for between thirty and sixty minutes.
I have read lots of books. Some books I have read twice or three times. Some books I read once a year... To me, a good book is a source of inspiration. It's that breath of fresh air to your thoughts, the fuel that gets you going when you need it the most... To me, the definition of a good book is like finding rare, special friend, a comrade...
The feeling of not being good enough was so overwhelming and so powerful for me it took most of my life to break free from its reigns.
It was almost like a domino effect as self-doubt trickled into every area of my life. I began to please others so much that in my job I had my colleagues actually calling me the 'sorry girl' because I apologized so much it became a habit that I only broke when I left the job!
Hands up if you’ve ever had a traumatic experience that you felt changed you. I’ll go first: in 2010 I had my colon removed due to cancer, and shortly after that I found out I had Lynch syndrome, which is a genetic condition that makes me more likely to get certain types of cancer in the future. I’ve written a lot about these experiences, particularly about how they have affected me emotionally. I’ve also thought a lot about how they have changed me as a person, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it hasn’t all been negative. In some ways, I’ve even changed for the better. Here are three things to think about that may help you feel better about your bad experiences too, whatever those may be.
A few days ago, my daughters’ school held a special day where the kids were to come in dressed as what they want to be when they grow up. I loved the idea and was excited to hear what my girls were interested in. I was elated to see that they are indeed their mother’s daughters. They came barrelling at me with idea after idea. I couldn’t help but beam with pride. I remember having so many ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up: a reporter, a writer, a mother, and more. My reminiscing was cut short by one of my daughters asking me a question. “How do I pick just one thing to be?”
After facing a chain of traumatic events in a short space of time and having an outburst of emotions to deal with; I got curious and wanted to look closer into how we process our emotions in the Western society. I discovered that we seem to be polarized in our approach to dealing with our feelings. We either don’t validate them and adopt the position of “I’m fine, really, I’M FINE” through gritted teeth or we’re encouraged to wallow in them and make an identity out of the story, whilst in the background we’re told to shove some pills down our throat to ease the pain.
Recognition of the effects of ‘frostbite.' It wasn’t the first time I’d seen this affliction in myself; the frostbite of the Digital Winter. I’d been suffering this disconnectedness for years sleepwalking, like those New Yorkers on the train, into the cold.