This week we have been in Ontario on a family vacation. Ben’s family has a cabin on a beautiful lake that is nestled between the trees on Manitoulin Island. Ben has been going there since he was born. He has missed one summer and that was due to Aubrey being born during the time we would normally have been there.
It’s been a mixed bag of craziness and bliss. It is hard not to feel relaxed and joyful at the lake, the place is seriously amazing. But there are also a gazillion people there this week. Which makes alone time or even just time for Ben and I to have any form of conversation impossible.
This is tough.
Because the biggest, by far, management tool I have for anxiety and depression right now is talking. When I made the choice to open the gate and talk to my Mom and Ben there was no going back. It didn’t open a nice pretty little garden gate; it opened a friggin floodgate!
I very quickly learned that talking is key for me. If I don’t talk things go south pretty quickly.
I have always been a ‘do it myself’ kind of person. I believed I could handle everything and anything on my own. I didn’t need another person for anything, especially anything emotional! I didn’t have emotional problems! I was coasting along in my blissful little world that only required a small one-man raft. You might even go as far as saying I was my own wolf pack!
Ummm…not so much.
I now know how wrong I was. We are so not meant to be in this world alone. We are not meant to be a self-centered people. We are meant to work together, live together, love together, communicate, help and heal each other.
I used to look at people who talked about their feelings as weak. How could those people be so weak that they require talking? I would NEVER be that weak. Because I was strong. I came from a family of strong women. The last thing I needed was a good ol meltdown talk about feelings!
I don’t joke. People who in my mind were so weak seriously bothered me. Looking back I think I was annoyed by it because somewhere deep in my soul I knew it was what I needed. I knew I needed to live in relation with people. To talk when I needed, to grieve when I needed, to smile and laugh when I needed.
I realize now that people who talk and express their hopes, dreams, failures, fears, those people, they are stronger then they know. They are in the know. It also made me realize that I need to continue to embrace my weaknesses.
If I had never gone through anything that required any emotion but pure happiness or bliss I wouldn’t truly know how to appreciate them. And even more so I wouldn’t know how to appreciate myself. Through conversation and my writing I am slowly discovering that my anxiety and depression are not my demise, they are my gift.
My gift to learn what I am made of. My gift to learn to give compassion and empathy to the people around me, especially the ones that at times don’t look from the outside that they deserve it. My gift to understand truly how deeply I love my girls. My gift to learn that I am not always the broken heap of a girl I may have thought I was.
So these days I work towards embracing that. It’s not always easy. I still have days I just want to melt in the spot I stand on and have Ben peel me back up when the waves of despair have passed. But, since I learned to talk and relate to others I feel like I am truly learning to live.