I’d like to start by saying that I’m having a really low day emotionally. I have experienced a couple of these this week but today is definitely the lowest I’ve felt in a while. I wonder whether this is because I have started to blog about some of the things I’ve been feeling over the last year…. I know my mood will probably be reflected in my writing today, so I just wanted to be up front about that.
I’ve found myself really challenged over the last few days about some of the things I’ve been writing about. It’s hard not to read them and think about myself that I am the most selfish woman alive. I know I’ve neglected friendships and people who really needed me to ‘take care of number one’ – to emotionally survive. Today though it feels like I’ve made excuses for letting people down and being a bad friend. This isn’t a new emotion – it’s come to me from time to time over the last few months but today it’s like a heavy burden weighing me down.
I have some wonderful friends who are going through some really tough times and I simply haven’t been there for them. Even now, as I think about some of the things they’re going through, I just feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness that I haven’t done more – that I could have done more – that I just don’t know what I can do to make a difference though anything would have been better than the nothing I have done. They have all been so good to me and definitely deserve better.
I’m just not very good at checking in with people. If someone contacts me and says they need me or asks me to do something for them – I’m there. I’ll do it if I can, but when I’m struggling, I forget to check – and when I’m in my normal working life – I forget to check too. The harder the thing they’re going through – the less I feel able to help. The difficulty with that is that when people are struggling, they’re not always able to ask – that’s definitely true for me. When I’ve struggled in the past, I didn’t have the energy to ask or to even think about what I could ask for. I didn’t know how other people could help me – I’m sure that’s the case for some of my friends too. It’s exhausting to have to tell someone else what you need from them and if they’re unable to meet that need – hurtful too.
I’m sure this has been made worse by the faith crisis I’ve been experiencing. Normally, if I couldn’t do something to help someone else, I could always pray – Not even having this as a ‘go-to’ has exacerbated the issue. In the past, I also would have said something very ‘Christian’ but not necessarily very helpful. I’m trying not to be ‘that guy’ anymore.
One of the stories they told us at my first First Aid Course, was about a very well-meaning group of people who came across someone involved in a motorbike accident. They ascertained that the guy had a broken leg and made a splint for him. As it turned out though, the guy was already dead. While they’d made a great splint, they hadn’t ‘made a difference’. Hats off to them for trying at least but the memory it’s left me with is ‘there’s no point putting a splint on a stiff’-(the First Aid Trainers words not mine). I don’t want to be someone who puts a plaster on someone while they’re having a heart attack – but I guess even that would be better than what I’ve been doing – nothing.
I think sometimes we assume (quite wrongly) that other people will be dealing with things – helping people, perhaps that’s even happened with me. I’m very good at making it look like I’m ok just so I don’t have to talk about all the ways I’m not. I try not even to focus on the bits that are not ok – just ‘busy it out’ – Keep the plates spinning. If I think I’m ok and I make it look like I’m ok, I’m ok. I think I’ve dropped a few plates this week though.
The other thing which sometimes happens – and this is mostly true when people say they want to see me – is that I go into complete panic mode – to put a visual on an emotion – it makes me feel like I’m sitting in a corner rocking to and fro whilst hitting both hands against the side of my head. I don’t do that but that’s what it makes me feel like inside – it’s why I don’t really see anyone. (I also avoid the people who can see through me).
Thankfully – because my friends are wonderful, most of them know me and I hope – know how very much I love them and that I would be doing more if I could, but there is one friend who has definitely gone off the radar for me. To be fair, I started it but things have been left in such a way as I no longer know how to find my way back. I don’t really know how I could help her – even if I were able to find a way back. The things I know she would want / need me to do are – at the moment – the last things I feel able to do. She always has so much she’s dealing with and her husband too. Their life is a constant battle, yet they are still always able to be kind and generous to others. I know that I’ve hurt her terribly and I don’t know what to do about it. Going back would also bring an expectation of change and at the moment, I don’t feel I can do anything to make a difference. There’s always an unspoken expectation that I can never quite live up to – born out of a need in her. My silence is taken as a rejection and I feel constantly under pressure about it. Going back would not take away the pain I’ve caused her – it would probably just make things worse because I’m still going to be the same person – making the same mistakes. Wanting something to be different doesn’t always make it so (if it did I’d be a size 10 and fit as a fiddle!).
So for now I remain in this cycle of being in pain because I am or have been inflicting pain on others. All this time – I thought keeping my world small, I’ve assumed that I’ve been ok but in truth – I’m really not ok. No one can make me ok either – this is something I need to work through and deal with for myself. What I need most at the moment is time and space. I hope I will be able to turn all this around in time.