Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: pexels.com
I visited the doctor today. Finally. Not because of a pressing physical issue such as back pain or an ingrowing toenail , but because of my emotional state, leaning toward a (mild) depression. The signs have been there for a while, but I’ve been putting it off, finding it really hard to open up to the possibility of pressing that pause button.
There are a number of reasons why it can be scary to stop for a while. Like I mentioned in this previous post, there are issues of guilt and shame that come up when we try to hit the breaks. We know there are people relying on us, and we don’t want to let them down (guilt). We also know that not being able to juggle all them balls at the same time could be perceived as being weak (shame). Chances are, by the way, that it’s mostly our own perception of weakness that we’re fighting. Often we are really quick to acknowledge how impossible this western lifestyle is when it comes to other people, but somehow we still believe that WE should be able to handle it. Weird.
Guilt and shame were the two most obvious barriers to overcome for me as well, but then tonight, as I was discussing the reality of actually taking some time to heal, I noticed fear as well. The fear of what might actually come up when I make room for it. I’ve been adding quite a few loads to my luggage over these past few years: from my divorce to the issues relating to my fear of commitment through to childhood trauma and the struggles of parenting a child with a diagnosis. I’ve sort of just taken them in stride and dealt with them from time to time (yay for therapy), but I’ve never really allowed myself to fully make room for them for more than a week or so (a week was the longest, at a retreat I talked about in this post). When I just keep going and going and going, the emotions I don’t want to feel kind of get pushed to the back. What if they all decide to surface at once?
“Maybe it’s time you let them” the doctor said, “but I understand that it’s scary“. Did I mention she’s pretty great?
The doctor also asked me if I had any physical symptoms. I mentioned the tension, shaking, shortness of breath from time to time, my back pain and exhaustion, and the fact that I have irregular periods. All of these can be symptoms of emotional issues as well, as she explained, and we often wait until these have taken over completely. Like I told the doctor: “It’s like I’m waiting until I’m physically unable to get out of bed before I decide I have the right to rest.” Except, like my partner said, when that happens I won’t be able to look after my children anymore either, and that’s something I want to avoid at all costs.
The thing is, I actually believe our system doesn’t really bring up stuff until we are able to handle it. There’s a reason I’m dealing with certain trauma’s now and I wasn’t doing it a decade ago. Perhaps all it takes is a little faith that even when things get really tough, even when we’re faced with a bottomless abyss, we can count on the tools, the flashlights and parachutes, we’ve gathered along the way to help us through.
I’m not alone in this. There are so many people in this situation. And I’m also not alone in that there are so many people around me who are willing to help. Since I’ve let go of the “I’m super okay like all the friggin’ time”-facade, I’ve seen so many open, welcoming arms that it gives me courage. Perhaps the time is right to just… make time. Shine light on what wants to be seen.
I’m really grateful, through my sadness, for being here in this life, with these people around me and with these experiences to guide me.
Thank you for sharing your time and attention with me! ❤