Shattered

Usually, I don’t know how I feel about writing of the things that I am thankful for during the month where millions of individuals around the nation are giving thanks for the fortune within their lives. Considering the events of this past year, however, and its lasting effects on my well-being, I feel that writing about these things at the very least will provide some form of solace for my spirit. Not to mention help me process my thoughts and emotions into something coherent. Having said that, here goes nothing…

The feeling of betrayal you feel when someone goes behind your back for the sake of living happily ever at the expense of your trust is crippling. When you try to speak out against what is damaging you, the opposing force will do everything to make you seem as though you are “delusional.” Whether it’s gathering opinions that are biased towards their own interests, or if it’s bringing up aspects of yourself so that a negative picture can be painted of you to make themselves look like a hero or a divine being (especially when they want to blot out any glaring red flags borne on their conscience), they’ll resort to this tactic as a means to put you in your place.

You’re nothing but a pawn to them, a means to an end that they can turn to and take advantage of when they want to feel better about themselves. When you take a stand for yourself (because who wants to put up with this crap on repeat?), they scream and cry and wail like spoiled tyrants (King Joffrey, anyone?). They resort to advanced methods of putting you in your place, even if that means they put you, their perceived monster, in a figurative cage. Or they take over the things and responsibilities that are rightfully yours in an exercise of, again, self-glorification at your expense.

And throughout this, you eventually believe that you are less than human, yet you still can’t bring yourself to put an end to it all–which, unfortunately, is also taken advantage of as these individuals perceive it as a confirmation of their self-serving actions born of “happily ever after” being perfectly acceptable to carry on. They continue to try and put you in your place whenever they see fit, or, despite labeling you as an outcast, still hit you up for resources because, apparently, you’re still good for that much. It’s here that you realize that your heart is shattered instead of broken, beyond repair and in need of replacing.

My experiences with these things are something that continue to haunt me in my day-to-day routine or when I sleep at night. Any attempt on my part to go back to who I was before only results in more anguish and discord, and I’m left in a state of grief over the memories that have replaced that idea of who I was. On the other hand, however, in order to grow into something greater, some things must die so that rebirth may occur.

In Greek mythology, the phoenix was prolific for being reborn of its own ashes after its previous body expired–sharing a similarity with the Catholic belief that one’s soul undergoes a purification process so that they may enter eternity with a new body. Similarly, in the physical sciences, matter is neither created nor destroyed, but changes form. The shape and structure of the object are different, yet they remain atomically similar at the core.

I use this example to illustrate what kind of understanding I had come to over the course of the last several months. To go back to what I was would not only be useless, but it would defeat the purpose of any kind of growth I would get for my endeavors in the here and now. The memories of what I had experienced are still going to be there, no matter how much I wish they weren’t, and will continue to be a blight on my spirit for as long as I can tell. On the other hand, it was these same experiences that helped me realize that I was becoming someone meant for the path that I am on now, and something not meant for who I once was.

In coping with the trauma and the fallout of struggling to rediscover myself, I lost many forms of identity and friends that I used to trust. Some of these people and associations were, up until a certain point, were the only true constants in my life. And, sometimes, they may all become toxic, which I soon realized over the course of time. I am not perfect myself, and continue to work on myself every day–to let go of those things that refuse to change or prove time and again to be a vice to the soul, however, makes such a process easier.

To say that I’m no longer suffering from these troubles would be a lie. I’ll reiterate what I said earlier in that I still suffer from these. The silver lining to all of this is that opportunities for greater growth and a network of warmhearted, loving individuals have emerged to provide a light in the dark. The love and care that I have received on all fronts have reminded me of my worth as an individual, and make me want to be a genuinely better person for everyone and everything in this dynamic. I didn’t have to fight for love or approval to establish a sense of worth.

For those reading this facing a similar situation: you’re not alone. It’s going to be hard, and you will break down at some point. Keep going anyway, because the fact that you’ve made it this far means that you can go much farther. People love you. I want you to be successful as well. The harmful actions of others says more about them than it does about you. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are strong. You will get through this.

 

-Mairi

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Feeling Thoughtful

Not every day is going to be bright and cheerful, and there are no promises that the next day will be as such either. It’s knowing how to personally get through the struggles of any challenging moments and the willpower to push onward, regardless of the bruises and scars received in the wake of it all, that help us gain the strength to see ourselves through to the eventual dawn of a brighter day.

Public Service Announcement: Anxiety and Depression

For a while, I have been debating whether or not posting this or even writing this was a half-decent idea, as I myself have dealt with this in the past. However, after a couple of recent episodes, I feel that this isn’t something that I can hold back anymore. Therefore, I have put the following into writing not only to work through my feelings, but, also, to hopefully reach out to a soul who might need this. Critiques are welcome, but please keep them civil.

Having one or both of these sucks. It’s not something to brag about or to make light of under any circumstance. Anyone who has this can tell you what it’s like to feel a sense of calm one minute, going about their day in a carefree manner until they encounter something or their mind drifts off to something that triggers an inner mechanism–and then, all of a sudden, a descent into a fatalistic worry ensues, and the world may as well be ending in the eye of the victim. Or one may find themselves drowning in a sea of their own feelings of worthlessness and apathy–they see themselves as a blight on the Mona Lisa, so to speak, and feel that they don’t belong among their family or peers. Or anger that they feel will manifest itself in a pent-up, volatile outburst at seemingly nothing. Some moments you feel like you’re on top of the world and ready to let yourself shine, and others make you want to fade into the canvas so that life can go on without hesitation. And no one could even tell from a Facebook or Instagram photo that your mind was drifting into dark terrain in the days leading up to the taken photo or the days since.

Many are afraid of coming forward with their personal issues and illnesses because of the backlash that they fear they will receive: you’re sweating the small stuff, quit feeling sorry for yourself, other people have it worse than you so quit whining, or it’s not the end of the world. The list goes on, but these are examples of the kinds of things those that suffer fear to hear, as if it’s a confirmation that they aren’t allowed to feel the sinister things that haunt them regularly. As everyone is a unique individual in one way or another, so also do those that live with anxiety or depression receive a different effect of the mental illness(es) as well as respond to it in a unique way or form. Studies and findings about the most common signs of anxiety and depression are abundant all over the world wide web, yet many still respond to these things as if it were the same thing as a person who chronically complains about a frivolous matter of work or a person who throws a temper tantrum if they’re accused of stealing something from another.

Anxiety and depression aren’t easy to live with, and it isn’t always an easy task to get out of bed everyday and put on a happy mask to entertain the masses. Heck, sometimes it can be hard to find the willpower to leave the room, whether it is out of fear or despair. We as individuals need to make more time to understand the individual and why they feel the way that they do, and at least be there to listen without making an excuse for judgment if not have a solution to the problem altogether. The less likely those struggling will encounter the stigma, the more comfortable they’ll feel about opening up or coming out of the “mental illness” closet, as some would argue, and thus making greater the road to help and possible treatment. There are people who are already willing to help the stricken crowd (and some may be suffering themselves), so we need to show that we are willing to listen and nurture the mind and spirit in the best way we can.

To those who are suffering from these illnesses or something akin to it, know this: you are not alone in your suffering. You are loved more than you realize. You are worth more than you realize. Whatever plagues you does not define you. Reach out to others for help, especially those who love and care for you–or reach out to those who are also under the same cloud, so that they can work through their emotions easier. Face the day knowing that the sun will still rise. Much love to you all.

Letting Go

Sometimes, the best thing that one can do for themselves is to let go of something that isn’t doing much to help them grow as an individual. At some point, one may come to realize that, regardless of how good or bad something is and what kind of immediate gratification it brings, hanging on to it may ultimately prove to hold them back.

Put effort into things. Let them grow, and watch how they influence your growth as a person. Things transform and change over time, and, if they are not meant to accompany you into the next phase of your journey, let it go with grace and gratitude, knowing that the experience has imparted you with memories and wisdom that will make you a better person for tomorrow and all future endeavors.

Breathe

The other day, I walked into a bar, on a last minute impulse decision, after a particularly long and exhausting day of work. The only thing that I can recall was how much seemed to have gone wrong for me during the day and the week leading up to it–my car’s headlights decided to magically break as soon as I used a turn signal (?), planning periods were spent since no onpeople e needed a break hour anyway, and I wasn’t getting out as often as I needed to be. So, having these things, as well as many others, swarming in my mind, I decided to give in and get a drink for a few minutes and then take off so that I could stay on my schedule. I ended up staying for well over an hour, spending time talking to other bar patrons and employees about daily struggles, humorous experiences, tales from the world of teaching or motherhood, and how we get by in the day to day living cycle. This was notable for me, not just because I was able to relay my own stories to another person or group of people, but because I had finally allowed myself to be in a state of ease not usually experienced in the life that I have currently paved for myself.

More or less, this idea is something that we can all relate to on some level.  We put in so much time and effort into establishing an identity and making a name for ourselves within the working world that we lose track of the things that really define us, and try to make our hobbies and lives (outside of the regular workplace) work around what we do to sustain ourselves–I am guilty as charged, as I have found myself allowing work to become my life rather than a piece to a bigger whole. Many of us may find that we spend more time working at home (outside of the regular workplace) than we do doing the things we love or spending time with the people that we love. Yes, working and having a job is a very important thing for an individual to possess, with reasons mentioned in the above writing. However, with a desire and a growing demand to have everything be above and beyond what is expected, we often lose ourselves looking for that same perfection in the way we work–so much so, that it bleeds over into our personal lives, blurring the lines between one part of ourselves and another, delivering more stress-filled anxiety into a life that loses its spontaneity and adapts more to a one-track beginning and end way of living.

Notably, we also find ourselves losing some form of human connection on an interpersonal level. The same absorption into work and everything of the like drives us to treat everyone we know, colleagues or loved ones, in the same fashion. They all become recurring faces in our daily routine. If they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, or if they happen to be absent, a tight equilibrium is disrupted and, subsequently, so is the sense of calm that we establish in this case.

This is where the importance of stepping back to take a look at ourselves or to take time to ourselves comes into play. Too often, we are called to devote every fiber of ourselves to the constant demand and fast-pace of the workplace that we forget to look at ourselves and meditate upon where our own well-being stands amidst the grander scheme of things. If we are going to be a part of something that is ultimately bigger than ourselves work wise, why not take a moment to care for ourselves so that we can be more productive? And what about for the people in our lives? How are going to be able to communicate with them in a way that doesn’t come off as technical or un-engaging?

Every one of us is human, and we deserve to treat ourselves as such. Do not cut off the things that help you sustain yourself, but do not let these same things encompass your whole existence. Go to a bar and have a random conversation. Take a window shopping trip with a friend. Set aside thirty minutes or so for the sake of helping someone with chores or homework. Set aside thirty minutes for a call to a loved one or friend. Go jogging. Take a few minutes to just be by yourself and breathe. Write a blog entry. Have that balance, and you’ll be fine.