How do you get through to people? How do you let them know that you care, without feeding the frenzy and fantasy that makes people ache to become the centre of the universe? To vent, and shout and curse and cry and give heartrending accounts of their days and struggles?
Life is unscripted. I realize this. Absolutely. You can prepare, you can plan. And still life comes at you in infinite variety, full-speed ahead. This goes for me, and for the people I meet over the phone. I would hope generally, that we can come together somewhere in the middle.
However, I’m feeling despite the best of intentions, practice, planning and preparation on my part, people are just not prepared to listen to what I have to say. A call that could take 3 minutes, now bursts at the seams as people barge right on through the door that opens once I answer the line.
Early May last year, our team took a few Pro-D days and headed to Victoria, BC. My memories of this time are good ones. 3 days of sunshine, walks by the ocean, bouncing around on a big bed in the hotel room I had all to myself.
We heard some excellent presentations from the professional members of our team, Dr. Chris Williams who pioneered the Bounce Back program, and clinical consultants, learning about the youth of today and their struggles with anxiety and depression in this 24/7 world we now live in…
The food was superb: breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks and snacks ready to eat every time you even considered that you might possibly be a smidge hungry.
I learned so much and enjoyed so much and loved the chance to get to see everyone in person and engage in real conversation in real time instead of the usual chats over phone or email.
This year, the gathering is proposed for sometime in the fall, and I hope it meets with the same kind of success as the one held in Victoria, 2018 🙂
I was given homework and the assignment was this: Make it a ‘Be Kind to Sam’ week! 🙂
So, I visited with friends, played some cello and fiddle, wore my stretchy pants, slept in, enjoyed some good books and movies. I hung out at the library, paid my bills, had a spa day and made some awesome stir-fry.
And yet, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m coming apart, that I’ve regressed, that I’m a stranger surrounded by strangers. I feel I’m struggling and that somehow I’ve managed to be too hard and too soft on myself at the same time. I’m not sure what it means or where to go from here.
I hope I can trust the process and the person guiding me through it all, because I really feel I need it. I need something solid to hold on to.
The gratitude I feel for this extended weekend is bone-deep.
In as much as I can have no agenda, I’ve managed to make it this far into the day without beating myself up. It’s also sunny and I have the whole day to enjoy it and soak up some light and vitamin D which is super and a nice alternative to deprivation and desperation that I seem to be taking rather hard lately. As gatekeeper/Admin. it’s an occupational hazard.
As I’ve noticed and shared recently (at its most intense, nearly a month to the day), people are not doing so well; they are seeking appropriate help, which is good, admirable, and so important. But holding space for each person and practicing my own self-care has proven to be a challenge.
I took myself out this afternoon, had an omelette, a coffee, a change of scenery.
Remembering to eat, tidying up, reading, yoga, tunes and most especially laundry, these are the items on my to do list for Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
I’m taking it one step at a time and that’s all I can do and all I can say.
Harder to walk these days than run (The Fretless). I very much relate to this song right now. The world is very loud.
Bread and Butter* Self-care. Be present. Do laundry. Create happiness. Worry less.
On account of I’m pretty sure I made sure everyone had a piece of my pie, except me. And that made me cry.
Don’t let’s throw ourselves to the wolves.
Lately, I’m feeling pretty battered and very much like an alien from another planet. So once again, I’ll be the one accessing a MH service rather than the one promoting it for a change 😛
My world has this surreal quality. And questions I have no answers for.
Sometimes, things feel so impossible. Life is expensive, times are complicated and the good information hard to find. I feel rather lost and in need of a hug.
They say you don’t get eaten alive, but they aren’t the ones getting eaten; do they know how that feels?
I don’t know how to be right now. I’m just trying really hard to show up and be open to possibilities. To stand tall. And I feel like a fish out of water. Sometimes, I just don’t want to participate. I’m tired of filters and sifting through the crap to find the real reason, the true fact, the warm and self-possessed.
Everything seems like it’s subtitled with “WTF?”. Almost everyone feels like a stranger. I’m angry and tired and near tears and I don’t feel like I can talk to anyone about it. I can’t tell them I want it to be well thought out, capably executed. I want to make it a reality that I have all my shit together and am ready to walk confidently into the world and engage in meaningful conversations and community building, friendships and kitchen gatherings, impactful reporting and well-being, and truth telling without doublespeak.
I can’t say that every time we make eye contact or feel the weight of expectation, invisible fireworks ignite and blind with their intensity until I reel like one concussed. I panic that I don’t meet those expectations, that I will unravel before your eyes. That the space is not good enough, or welcoming, that somehow I am unacceptable and should be held to account. How I see everything going wrong and everything going right and imagine it all going sideways with not enough to salvage what’s worth keeping. I’m a mess. It’s a joke. Nobody’s laughing. I feel so much it hurts. And yet, I made the effort. I inhabited the moment to the best of my ability. I showed up.
I will continue to show up. I will continue to create, and to reach and share and give my best and hope I’ve not contributed too much to the maelstrom or engaged in pursuits with persons scrounging only stolen minutes. To see and be seen.
On the radio, they were talking to some notable host of a wildly popular podcast featuring real-life couples in therapy. Discussion was based around the evolution of society, relationships and expectations. How a trend toward individualism and personal sacrifice impacts bonds between people.
No wonder people experience a decline in mental health in a society that puts unhealthy emphasis on self-management and sufficiency, effectively eroding communities and support networks until only a few are left to care for and carry one another where once there were entire villages. People competing to claim the title of martyr: I’ve moved here for you, changed jobs for you, given more for you than you for me. Or, exhausted at the end of the work day you have no more to give each other.
And still there is that expectation that you hold space for one another, to ‘bring home the bacon’ is no longer the title role, but without an ensemble cast, there is instead one person to be your everything. And if, as an individual, you screw it up? Critics claim you alone are responsible for this undoing and you alone will have to fix it. It’s not right. It’s absurd.
We should be able to come together, share the load and find a bit of joy in each other. Somehow, right now, ‘the human condition’ sounds like a disease. How people work has changed. How people live has changed. How people converse has changed. But people are still people, and I still have hope.
A perfect storm of events in the past weeks led to my experiencing a moment in terror witnessed by my father in my kitchen, to which the only thing I can say is: Thank you for showing up. Thank you for the hugs I needed to keep some of the pieces of myself together. I love you.