Feelings Friday

Grey’s Anatomy is one of those shows I jumped on really really late and there’s been no looking back for me since. I binged on the first eleven seasons —watching one episode after the next every day until I was through. No other television series has gripped me (emotionally) quite as much as Grey’s has. I hope to God it never ends!

The concept of love and friendship as displayed by every single character makes me feel a certain way. That’s the sort of love; the sort of friendship that not only saves life, but gives it. Like every last one of us, the characters in Grey’s Anatomy are all dealing with something; struggling, coping, generally fighting the good fight that is life. And it’s always so nice to see that no matter what it is; no matter what happens or how difficult things get, the support system just never breaks. It makes me think of that Internet meme of an old married couple sitting on a bench. They’re clearly mad at each other but even in his anger, the man stretches out his hand to hold an umbrella over his wife’s head so she doesn’t get wet. Because even though he’s angry at her, he still loves her and cares for her wellbeing. It’s just the SWEETEST thing.

Think of what a difference it would make if we all did our best to be that unwavering pillar of love, stability and support in the lives of those we care about.

We all need some of that “no matter what” kind of love.

How to love someone with depression and/or anxiety.

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1. Educate yourself.
The internet is littred with millions of articles about mental health, depression and related topics. Some of these said articles are testimonials of people who live with these conditions every day. This really is the first step. You can’t help until you understand. You can’t love, can’t support and certainly can’t connect before you understand. So get to know everything you can about what your friend/significant other/sibling is dealing with. When you understand, everything else will be a little easier.

2. Be kind, always.
No matter what we’re feeling, kindness is something humanity can never have too much of. Sometimes it might feel like your significant other is shutting you out, or that your efforts are futile. But no matter the situation, BE KIND. We all have off days. But a depressed person will have way more of these than you do. Understand this, and do not make it worse for them.

3. Re-affirm your support as much as you can.
The truth is, you’ll never fully understand. The truth also is that even the world’s best psychiatrists will never fully understand -and they’re the experts. That being said, more than anything, your depressed friend/significant other needs to know that you’ll always stand with or by them no matter what. So even when you don’t understand; even when whatever they’re going through makes absolutely no sense to you, remind them that you’re there through it all; that they don’t have to do it alone. And prove it. Again. And Again. And again.

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4. Pay attention, and LISTEN.
Every single one of us gives off signals every minute of every day. Even when we’re not communicating, we’re communicating. A good example of this is when we say we’re “fine”. Sometimes we are not fine when we say we are. And anyone who cares to will pick up on this.

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Generally speaking, when you pay attention, you’re able to hear the things people don’t say just as clearly as you do the things they say. So pay attention! We’re losing too many people to not paying enough attention. The media is filled with reports of seemingly happy people whose suicides shocked the world because they suffered in silence. Now I’m pretty sure if someone had paid attention, they would have picked up on something. Like I said, we’re always communicating, even when we’re not. It could be through our body language, our interaction with others, our speech, tone of voice, our behaviour, lifestyle choices -something. So pay attention. Your friend/significant other should never be made to feel like talking about their pain is pointless.

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5. Understand that they do not choose to be that way.
Repeat after me. Depression is not a choice. Anxiety is not a choice. No one ever chooses to exist in a state of constant mental turmoil. That just makes no sense at all. They can’t just “get over it” and they will not magically “be fine”. We do not tell cancer patients to get over it or that they’ll be fine. Depression is just as serious, even if we can’t see it. So remind yourself constantly that if they could, they wouldn’t be this way. 

6. Take care of yourself.
Do not neglect yourself. Loving someone who’s depressed can be exhausting and sometimes, you might host feelings of guilt and/or exasperation over the fact that you can’t always make this person happy. It’s not your fault. And its not theirs either. So don’t feel guilty about being happy when they’re sad. They want happiness for you. So remember to recharge.

7. When in doubt, HUG it out.
Granted, hugs won’t magically make them well, but they’ll remind them that even when you don’t understand, you’re there. Sometimes, that’s all they need.
A lot of the time, we assume depressed people want to be left alone. And while they do sometimes need space, remember that we all need someone. No one should ever have to carry their burdens alone. Also, remember that they constantly worry about being a burden to their loved ones. They do not want to weigh you down with their issues. So it can be a struggle to get them to share their destructive thoughts with you. But that doesn’t mean you abandon them to it. Like I said, when in doubt, HUG!

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8. Do not compare your experience with theirs.
It’s almost natural for us to want to share similar experiences when people open up about rough patches. A lot of the time, though, this comes across as you minimalizing their pain. Don’t. Many times, an unjudging listening ear is all they need.

9. Break the stigma, don’t create it.
Depression is not something that should be seen as shameful and depressed people are not weak or inadequate. To the contrary, the depressed are often the kindest, most compassionate people out there. A lot of people are unable to express the weight they are carrying because they are afraid of being judged or dismissed.

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“We tell them that it is not real; to get over it. If they could, why would they tell you even when they know how they are going to be seen?”

No one should ever have to feel like this! No one should ever be made to think that they are their wounds or that their wounds make them unworthy in some way.

And finally…

10. Ask questions.
If you need to understand, ask. Ask them how they feel. Ask them where they are in their coping process; what kind of day they had. Not all days are bad days. So make them feel comfortable telling you when they have an off day -and then do something to make it easier. Offer to watch their favorite movie with them. Make them a cup of hot chocolate. Invite them along for a walk or drive. Offer to take over some of their chores. We all have little things that make us feel better on our bad days. This is the part where you ask what these little things are. They’ll come in handy.

On a bad day, depression can feel crippling. You know you need to do this and that but you can’t get yourself to move; to do anything. It’s not something that can properly be described to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but these 50 people tried.

Here’s to mental wellness and helping out wherever we can.

Happy Endings.

“Come with every wound and every woman you’ve ever loved; every lie you’ve ever told and whatever it is that keeps you up at night. Every mouth you’ve punched in, all the blood you’ve ever tasted. Come with every enemy you’ve ever made and all the family you’ve ever buried and every dirty thing you’ve ever done; every drink that’s burnt your throat and every morning you’ve woken with nothing and no one. Come with all your loss, your regrets, sins, memories, black outs, secrets. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than you”

It’s taken me twenty four years to realize that strength is not the absence of vulnerability but rather the ability to be in spite of it. A lot of us spend our lives trying to pretend we have no weak spots. I’m sure many people, like me, would rather everyone believed us to be made of stone; unbreakable, strong, super splendid lady cool we can’t even pretend to be.

I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’m pretty sure none of my friends has EVER seen me cry. Does that mean I don’t cry, though? I wish! In fact I probably cry more than the average 24 year old female. And you know what I wish for every time that I cry? That it were someone’s’ shoulder I was crying on, instead of my pillow; that someone was hugging me instead of my teddy bear.
But the thought of letting someone “see beneath my beautiful” as it were, and then deciding they don’t like it terrifies me so much that it seems so much easier to carry my burdens on my own. So I hold everyone at arm’s distance and let them see only the beautiful.
The fear of rejection is real, apparently, and it holds us back from so much. Because the only thing worse than being hurt, is missing out on the joy of being loved both for who/what you are and who/what you are not. There’s no greater love than the love of a person who knows your good, your bad and your ugly and still thinks you are amazing. And every single person deserves this kind of love. The 1 Corinthians kind of love; the patient, kind, enduring, bears all things, believes all things and never fails kind of love.

Approximately two years ago, I made a promise to myself that no one would ever hurt me again. This decision sprouted from a series of events that happened between 2012 and 2013 which taught me that a lot of people were in your life when things were good but you could only count on a handful when it mattered. I must admit that this was quite a hard pill to swallow at the time. But over time, I learned to adjust my expectations of people. Ok, I lie. The truth is, I just learned not to expect anything from anyone. Which is how come everyone in my life ended up at arm’s distance. I powered through the setbacks and built a shield of armor around myself –a shield I wasn’t letting down for anything in the world.

68b0734182b31402287437f0e729c27cAm I a better person for it? Not even. As painful as disappointment may be, it doesn’t even begin to compare to the void created when you block everything out. Because what they don’t tell you is that when you shut off the hurt and pain, you shut of the joy and happiness too. We don’t get to pick and choose which emotions to feel and which ones not to. When it goes, it all goes. I thought I understood this, at the time. I thought I was okay with not feeling anything. The pain of my last heartbreak was so excruciating that being emotionless seemed like a good deal if it meant I’d never get hurt again.

But that was then. I take it back. I want my heart back. My poem-writing, voicenote-sending, have-a-nice-day-video-making, ranting, nauseatingly lovey-dovey heart back. Because deep down, I never stopped believing.

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Hangover

It was the best night of my life. I was sure he wasn’t going to come through. The party was over. But just as I danced to the last song, the crowd seemed to clear…and there he was. The love of my life. A vision in a black tux! My heart stopped and for a second, I thought I was going to collapse. How could anyone possibly look so stunning?
He walked slowly but purposefully to me… Took me in his arms and hugged me. “You look beautiful,” he said, and my whole day was made! People had been telling me all day…but nothing compared to a compliment from my love. The rest of the evening went by so fast. Everything faded out until the only person I could see or hear was him. We talked and laughed for hours.. It was almost as if time had stood still just for us. My whole world was right infront of me….and I could reach over and touch it if I pleased….

Forever 21

I tturned twenty one (again) last weekend….  i got to reflect on my journey and how far I’ve come. For the first time in several years, i wasnt worried about who remembered and who didn’t, what I got and what I didn’t. It was all about me.That’s progress. I could easily have checked myself into a spa for the weekend ( if I had that kind of money). Instead, I mixed and matched my favourite things (and people) and we had the time of our lives! You can’t go wrong with fine China, food, wine, karaoke and the people you love. So yes, I did have a fabulous weekend!!

It got me thinking about friendship… And how often we neglect the value a little appreciation adds to our friends. Whether we admit it or not, every single one of us wants to be loved; to know that someone out there is looking out for you, loving you, defending you and wishing the very best for you always. I honestly didn’t know how many people felt that way about me until this past week. The presents were exactly what I wanted -down to the last detail -and I didn’t even ask for them. And just when I thought it had passed, My best friend organised a surprise party for me yesterday. I must say, I didn’t see it coming. I found out about it though, so they didn’t get to scream “surprise”!! But it’s the thought that counts. It meant the world to me!!

So this morning I feel blessed and loved and extremely happy. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Xxx
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soundtrack: Lucky (Britney Spears)

Does anyone else feel completely let down when they share something extremely personal with someone and they act like you just said the sky is blue? I do. It actually makes me resent the person a little. Today wasn’t a good day. It’s just one of those years. The “big” one, if I can call it that. Why didn’t anyone tell us that growing up was so freaking complicated? Everything in my life seems to be going really well. So why does salt water from my eyes attack my pillow at night? Somebody make it stooooooop!

Where’s my glass of red?

dear you

I talked about you all day today; reminding myself of everything I have loved and will always love about you… My day started out really shitty but the more I talked, the better I felt. I think I forgot how well I knew you…how close we were. I haven’t thought about those things in a while. I laughed and smiled and cried all in the duration of that conversation. I’m surprised I didn’t give myself away. Or maybe I did. She just listened and asked questions and let me talk about the love of my life until I’d finally told her everything I knew and loved about you. I can’t believe I did that. My mother has a way of making me talk without saying a word. Bless her.
I woke up feeling like sugar (not). But I feel better now.

I love you always.

the days that turned to years…

They say the day you write your first poem is the day you start telling the truth… This was mine. I thought I’d share it with you.

14 months. 14 months without hearing your voice, seeing your smile, hearing your words of encouragement and your teasing. 13 months… Trying to forget your number, in vain. Dialling it and hanging up every time until I finally found the strength to stop dialling, even when I really wanted to. 12 months… Since I stopped seeing you when I closed my eyes every night; in that stranger across the street, in that car in front of the car in front of mine. 11 months… looking behind my shoulder as I crossed the street, afraid I might bump into you and undo all the progress I’ve made…
10months…wondering how you are, and what happened and why you didn’t want me…
9 months. Not wondering at all, and finally being glad it was all over.
8. since I hit delete on all those memories and pictures and letters… Since I accepted that even great things like you and I come to an end.
7 months since I let you go, like you never existed.
6 months since the day your name came up again in a conversation, and made my heart skip a beat. You were well. So it was well.
5 months
4 months
3… I started to wonder… what if I saw you again? Would I still love you? Would I… say hello with a shrug; like you were just any one; a someone or other I used to know? Would my heart
skip
a beat?
Would my insides break out into song? And if you showed up on my wedding day? Would I say
I do?
2 months since I found you… And searched within myself for the courage to come and find you.
1 month one week and 3days since I found that courage… Only for it to disappear almost completely at the sight of you.
My legs went weak, my insides flattered and my heart
Lost
Its beat.
1 month since I found the courage to dial that number. Since I saw that message that morning. Since I heard
your voice
again… And saw that look in your eyes; the one I was sure I’d imagined.
3weeks since I realised I still loved you. And that I would always love you.
It’s been 3days 6 hours and 47 minutes…
since I found out you loved me too…
more than I’ll ever really know.
3 days 6 hours and 47 minutes since you breathed life back into my life and made me feel whole again. Since my heart started to beat again
Pumping warm blood around my body,
Melting all the ice that had grown around it away.
But who’s counting?

broken hearted girl

Love once made her a wonderful person… It created a glow in her eyes, a twinkle in her smile and a radiance of joy and peace and happiness. Love encompassed her being and surrounded her existence. She filled the world with the joy she radiated. Many believed because she believed and loved because she loved… And then nature set in and turned love cold… Because she didn’t know how to unlearn the details of her tainted love… The months and months of deliberate lies… The love that once made her strong and radiant now burned a whole in her heart… It scorched her insides until hope and faith went out the back door; replaced instead with pain, suspicion and mistrust… With heaviness of heart and dripping pillows. She desperately tried to hold on to what was…the girl who loved and hoped and believed like she had never been hurt; the girl who loved relentlessly; who loved because she loved… Not because she was loved.
She stares in the mirror and sad eyes stare back, wondering what happened to the girl she used to be…

the starry-eyed dreamer

Love. Living with the vulnerability of giving someone access to the insides of your most delicate yet most vital organ. The heart. Opening yourself up to a world of emotion, good AND bad. A rollercoaster; a perfect blend of yellows and grays and highs and lows.
Wanting to shower this person with what little or what much you can, not for a moment holding back because they deserve it. At least you think they do. But the question is; where do you draw the line? How much will you give before this person gets comfortable in his/her “throne” of love and security, often forgetting to pull you up with them? And what happens when they do? (Okay we both know the answer to that. You eventually tire of being taken for granted etc). What happened to doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you?

Shall we conclude that the 2013 being doesn’t have the capacity (both moral and mental) to withstand love in its purest and most unrefined state; that you shouldn’t expose the depth of your emotions to your ‘significant other’ for fear that this might be your undoing-the beginning of the end?

What rubbish! Why let love be defined by what the other party can or can’t handle? It’s a choice we make and if they want to leave then let them leave. If we have to alter ourselves to fit someone else’s requirements, how is that love? Simple: it isn’t. The beauty of being unconventional and loved for it? That’s the love I want. The world can keep its “I love you but I’d love you more if…”. Don’t love me more! In fact, as a bonus, take the first instalment too. Add it to your ‘more’ and see if I’ll die.