I'm going back to therapy.
(Wait, hang on - let's try that again with a little more enthusiasm.)
I'm going back to therapy! (Whooooo!)
Long story short: I had four big, terrible, sobbing, hyperventilating, incoherent breakdowns in half as many days, so...I'm giving it another shot. Worst outcome? It doesn't help and I'm just here in the sadness-well once again, but...I'm here anyway! So, we might as well try it, right?
I've been reflecting a lot, because of this. Seeing some other posts about therapy sessions from both tiramisú and exponixio made me feel...better? Or, perhaps, not so alone, which is kind of the same thing. The last thing I want is for anyone else to feel this way, but there's something comforting to knowing that you aren't the only sad, frustrated, lonely, scared little island.
And I've talked about it before, but I've always thought that other people make living look so easy. But now that I've noticed it, I'm finding more and more instances that speak to the contarary and which make it pretty clear to me that a whole hell of a lot of us believe that we're alone in this feeling, even though it's...kind of the complete opposite.
A friend of mine (Nell) recently said (to me and another friend, Pepper1) something along the lines of, "I don't understand why things affect me like this. Things don't seem to affect you guys this way. You seem totally fine all the time!"
Nell was very upset in the moment (and I understood exactly where she was coming from), but there was a very humorous moment where Pepper and I shared a meaningful look that said, "Oh? Are you totally fine all the time? Because I'm certainly not."
And I think that's the whole of it.
Pepper and I show our stressors in very different ways than Nell (and even from one another - though we both tend to isolate when we're not doing well), and our coping mechanisms are also different. To Nell, this sometimes looks like we're not experiencing any difficulties at all.
Each of us thinks that the other's life is going on in perfect, unceasing harmony and so we all keep our heads down and try to pretend we're not falling to pieces. It's almost freeing to realize that everyone else often isn't fine; they're stressed and scared and falling apart, too. I think many of us worry that sharing our thoughts will be a burden to our friends, when in reality, acknowledgment of a mutual fear or sorrow can be incredibly uplifting.
Even just recently in Bear, I've seen so many posts about being lonely or lost or unsure of oneself. Maybe it's just that people looking for a connection tend to reach for that connection in similar ways, and so we all turn to blogging. Or maybe it's simply that far more people than we realize feel the exact same way.
Maybe we're all living in one big lonely house - rooms alongside one another - somehow thinking that we're the only one laying awake in the night, gazing at the ceiling, with this unnameable feeling. All the while, someone just a wall apart is staring out the window into the unknowable dark, and thinking the same thing.
If we could only bring ourselves to risk venturing out into the moonlit hallways, we might find connection. (I think, for some, Bear is those hallways - a place to trip into a connection with another person's thoughts and fears and hopes. We're all wandering the corridors with candles lit, stopping to talk with one another.2)
What I'm trying to say is: in baring our vulnerabilities, we offer room for sincere connection (and yes - perhaps this is obvious, but it’s also frightening, which in my opinion makes obvious things much less obvious) and so we just have to hope that it’s worth the discomfort of cracking ourselves open a little bit.
Maybe hypocritical of me to say - I am a bit closed off in real life, but time has unfortunately made me shore up my walls. I'm trying to practice breaking them down again; especially around my best and dearest friends, who I am discovering are feeling just as alone - and afraid to say as much - as I am.
No embarassment in living.3 That's all there is to do, anyway.
Good luck out there,
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Pseudonyms (picked with love and a bit of mischievous enjoyment) for the sake of my friends' anonymity!↩
I've probably stretched the imagery too far, but sometimes I just want to have some fun with it and paint myself a little image. You understand.↩
Full disclosure: again, this is very hypocritical of me. I find living to be an incredibly embarrassing experience, but I am working on that, so - let's just call it a positive affirmation or something.↩