Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are NOT a sign of weakness. They are signs of having tried to remain strong for too long. One third of us go through this at some point in our lives. -Brene’ Brown
A weird pattern I discovered on May 1st, 2013, is my inability to envision a happy place. I have been in some extraordinarily beautiful places, so that is not the issue.
I have lived in posh locals, in fabulous homes, with phenomenal views. I have visited place that make you gasp when you see photographs of them. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the western states and the last two plus years on the coast of Monterrey Bay and now in the Pacific Northwest. Believe me, the vistas are gorgeous. So that’s not it. What is my problem?
I close my eyes to picture a beautiful restful place and one of many will pop into my mind’s eye immediately to be replaced with how I felt when I was there.
I pause now to consider that. Has my life really been that hard? Was I robbed of a childhood? Were my dreams of a happy married life taken from me to be replaced with more deception, betrayal and abuse? Have I really had to endure brutality, complete and total loss of self esteem? Have I been a life long victim of abusive and subjugative behavior. Mostly.
Looks are seriously deceptive. Things are never as they appear. As a young child I learned to paint the happy face on to give the faux look of the good life. I learned to deceive the outside world with a pretty face, clever mind and developed talents. People who knew my family of origin still idolize them. My parents did the best they could with what they had to work with, but they did not have much to work with and that was a time, when what happened behind closed doors, stayed there. My memories are coated with ice to keep them frozen in their pristine looking states, for others to judge incorrectly.
The only thing that changed with my marriage was the players changed.
Then I did the best I could with what I had to work with, which was better than what my parents had, but not by much. I have had quite some time to reflect on my life in the last two years. I have used many tools to undo some damage which has worked. As I was told would happen, each layer of onion I peel away has another hidden layer to work on and here is this one.
I cannot close my eyes, picture a beautiful place I have personally seen because I instantly feel worthless, like an impostor and an interloper in my own life. I feel not good enough as if I am a charlatan acting out a false life for others to see. To hide the pain, to mask what is reality, too much of my efforts in life have been to pretend things were not what they actually were.
So many of us live at least a portion of our lives this way. I think of my gay friends, hiding in closets and the horror of the deception in their lives, and yet are we not all in closets of some sort. Hiding the things that should not be hidden? Secrets, deception to protect secrets change souls into something we are not. Someday, we’ll be able to live our lives out loud. I cannot mask the pain any longer. I share it. It makes the pain smaller, in the sharing. I know I am not alone and that you suffer, too. I send you good chi, while keeping enough for myself to heal.
And through it all, one thread shines through my life and that is the knowing that I am not alone. I know others struggle as I have with their own issues. It is easy for me to reach out with a hug, a kind word, sharing something inspirational to help another bruised soul. I will keep doing that as it is my nature. At the same time I will honor my own path to recover from the slings and arrows, to find that safe place inside or myself, where I feel strong. Strong enough to stand regardless of what goes on around me. Let those who struggle know they’re not alone… Namaste’