Wednesday, November 2, 2011

learning a lesson the hard way




For a long time I have always been a firm believer that our happiness is entirely in our own hands. And it is, to some extent. But as someone who went through a hard time and got out of it, I felt like I had a right to judge people who were perpetually down.

You see, when I was a teenager I was a bit...dramatic. Okay, to put it bluntly, I loved self-pity like most my age loved candy. I made no effort whatsoever to try and be happy or to appreciate all that I had, and so I sunk further and further down until it took over my whole life.

I don’t like who I was back then. I resent who I was back then and I have absolutely no patience with her. Now, when I feel down, I jump on it quickly, stamping it out with gratitude journals, relaxation tapes, writing in the sun, breathing exercises, walks and time with friends.

But I forget. I forget that I was handed those tools, I forget that I didn’t find them myself. That it took years of therapy for me to be the happy person I am today. Yes, I work at it, but whenever a sad cloud comes I know exactly what to do. Only because I’ve been there before, and gotten the help I needed. Not because I am working any harder than others at it.

But I didn’t think about it like that until yesterday. Instead I went around pompously patting myself on the back for being happy, and judging those who weren't.

I realised how wrong I was yesterday though, when someone I love; the strongest, most giving person I know who has never wasted a moment on self pity; told me that they were sad. And had been for a while.
And it shook me to my core. I wasn’t surprised; I mean I had guessed it, deep down in that dark place you try not to acknowledge. But I couldn’t comprehend it. It shattered all of my previous views and I realise just how wrong my old attitude had been.

Being depressed isn’t weak. It doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, or are just ‘feeling sorry for yourself’. It means that you’re human. And sometimes life is tough. And sometimes we can’t go through it alone. Most people aren’t given the tools that they need to get through sad times, they don’t come naturally. It’s not an instinctual thing to be able to control your emotions effortlessly, or even with a hell of an amount of work.
Sometimes we need help. We need someone else to show us what to do to pull ourselves out of it. And there is nothing wrong with that. 

In fact, asking for that help? I think that it’s one of the bravest things that a person can do. 

19 comments:

Anna said...

I completely agree. Asking for help is the hardest thing. It's also the bravest thing you can do.

SJ said...

it reflects a lot about as a person you that the person felt confident enough to tell you that they're not in a good place. sometimes the hardest part if not knowing who to turn to.

ellie said...

Its so tough to reach out to the other person. What a wonderful post.

I just saw RABBIT HOLE recently, and its a very sad but subtle(I'm still not sure if that's the right word) film about grief. It was a very interesting and yet honest film.

Sometimes, its so hard to listen to the other person. But its just as hard to listen to ourselves talk about the problem too.

molly said...

Its such a struggle. Especially, friendship. I think of how I poured so much of myself in letters over the summer to my best friend in 7th grade. It was the end of our friendship.

Now though, I work as hard as I can to nurture the friendships I have. Sometimes, I feel I have to be the listener. And still, I'm not sure what's going on.

Your post does help.

nancy said...

this is a wonderfully honest post - I really appreciate that! one of the worst feelings has to be feeling depressed and sad and down for no reason - trying all the usual tricks to keep yourself pepped up and getting absolutely nowhere. sadness is horribly suffocating and senseless sometimes.

lucy and sarah said...

You are a wonderful friend.

A really great post.

I think I must have been my most depressed actually when I was in elementary school. I think it was kind of break down around third grade. I decided to give up. Not try. Not do anything. My teacher didn't understand me. And I went into special ed. Even there, I would not do anything my teacher would have for me to do. I'd just put it in my locker and that was that. Oh, I daydreamed a lot. I had my colorful papered notebooks that I carried everywhere with me.. But really, my special ed teacher gave me no incentive. No inspiration. Then one day my grandmother decided I could succeed in math. Before I kne it.. I was in regular math class. They decided I didn't need special ed classes. So I had to clean my locker. There was big nest of mice in my locker.

Ashley said...

The last line---SO TRUE.

We did write similar posts :)

This whole figuring out human nature is an energy sucker!

Teresa said...

Completely agree... and that so normal and comprehensible attitude of yours can be a blessing in disguise - for you and the sad/depressed part.

We want to share what works with us - in fact we make a life suggesting this and that that worked (from relaxation techniques to face creams) and when sharing we feel useful and valid. The same when we overcome somethings and discover the way was/is so much smoother than we thought when we hit the floor.

People who you're trying to help might not see it this way right now but one day they'll remember - hey, that's the moment, the colour she talked about...

Now you can try to help, try to drag them out but you can't bitch and proclaim you own the Holy Graal. In that line - in that want-to-wor-this-out-and-quick lies your loving and supportive nature.

becky said...

You absolute beauty. That is all I have to say.

Pop Champagne said...

lovely post. yeah as a teenager I was a bit depressed too, now looking back on it I sometimes go what was I thinking!

Kathy S said...

That last line is so true. It really is one of the bravest things you can do.

Tuesdai Noelle said...

I like this part:

"Being depressed isn’t weak. It doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, or are just ‘feeling sorry for yourself’."

Tuesdai Noelle said...

I like this part:

"Being depressed isn’t weak. It doesn’t mean you’re not working hard, or are just ‘feeling sorry for yourself’."

Deidre said...

Aww, It's very true. asking for help can be so hard!

The Book Florist said...

I think this post sums up why your blog is such a wonderful place - you've experienced things and found a way of battling them and then talking about them afterwards so that everyone feels built up and empowered by you.

Sabrina said...

Thanks for sharing this!

demie said...

thank you for your lovely words at my blog. thank you for this post. thank you for , through this long distance, you could see i have the tools...

keishua said...

admiting something is wrong is brave. I think that is really the hardest thing being real and saying you don't have it together. Sometimes we need a wittness to help us feel brave enough to admit that to ourselves and to the world(even if it's just one person). Only then can we heal.

Mimi said...

yes, i agree with you. sometimes we're too reluctant to ask for help because we think it would mean we failed or something, but really asking for help and acknowledging we need it actually shows strength. :)

<3, Mimi
http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/