Things are going to get a little deep and things are definitely going to get a little personal. I know my forte is writing funny listicles and taking the piss out of gobshites, but I am a real person with a real life and one of the things I’m absolutely awful at is talking about feelings. Specifically bad ones.
When I was younger, like 14 or 15, there was a falling out with my friendship group at school. There was a boy involved somewhere along the line, naturally, and as girls are at that age it all got very bitchy very fast. I wasn’t bullied as in punched or kicked or whatever but sides were taken and I was basically excluded by most of my friendship group. We were all GOTH AF as well so it wasn’t like I could just go and find new mates, I was too niche. I felt like I had no one.
I did become depressed, as you would like. I remember crying every day for about 8 months or so and to be honest it was exhausting. During all this I had my first heartbreak too. It was generally quite a tough time for my early-teen, emotionally immature self to deal with. So one day I took about 30 co-codamol, wrote some dark (very goth) suicide notes and went to school as normal. I was done. I’d had enough. The world would be better off without me.
Long story short, my mum found the notes, raced to school, got me to hospital and I was kept in for a couple of days. Turns out I was that serious about ending it all that I’d taken too many tablets and my body just rejected them and threw them all up. I was coughing up bile for hours and hours. It wasn’t pleasant. I won’t go into what the correct lethal dosages are because it was actually my lack of knowledge of that that saved me.
Some people’s thoughts are that suicide is selfish and yes, from a healthy, sane persons point of view you’d be totally right. However the mind of someone contemplating suicide is not a healthy, sane place to be and sometimes they just want the pain to stop (like I did) or they may even think that they’re doing everyone a favour. So yano, dismount that high horse please and have a bit of empathy.
Things got better after that, I realised I wasn’t alone. It still took a long time but the ‘black cloud’ of depression slowly lifted. I became able to cope better. I grew more resilient to bad stuff. My deputy head wrote in my school leaving book, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” That’s stayed with me ever since, so cheers Mr Crowther wherever you are. You made a difference.
The point I’m making is, that’s how bad things can get if you don’t reach out to the people around you and start talking about feelings. Good and bad. I can’t wave a magic wand and make it easy or anything because I still find it incredibly difficult to do. If I feel good or have some success and start talking about it then I don’t wan’t to be seen as being boastful or arrogant. If I’m feeling sad or anxious then I feel like admitting it is weak. I pride myself on being a strong person so to admit I’ve fucked up or that I’m worried feels like a failure.
It absolutely infuriates my husband because if we have a fight I just shut down completely and refuse to talk. If I’m emotional I have so many different thoughts racing round my head that I can’t articulate exactly what I want to say and so I don’t say anything at all. I’m still having arguments in my head with people from years ago because it’s only now I’ve thought of the perfect thing to say. My mind doesn’t work fast enough to win a verbal argument.
So I write it down. I type it out, delete it, rewrite it, read it back, write some more, delete some more. As I write I find that I can be much clearer and get exactly what I want to say across, without any ambiguity, without any personal insults – the time away from an argument or a situation gives me the calmness and the clarity to make sense of how I feel – it’s my own version of talking about feelings.
My husband is absolutely brilliant at arguments, he knows exactly what to say and when to say it so I just walk away from him and he’ll shout, “I’ll wait for the text then shall I!!!” It’s not a perfect solution but at 32 I know my limitations and this is the best way I have for dealing with things.
I wrote a post on my New Year goals and last weekend the house we were looking at and proper loved is now sold STC, there was a complication with the business expansion and some old crap from a couple of years ago got dredged up again and I went from feeling on top of the world to feeling really down and anxious. It all came at me at once. Life can do that sometimes, the little prick. For the first time, possibly ever, after half a bottle of wine, I actually confided in my husband – I started talking about feelings. It sucked. I felt out of control and I felt weak but afterwards I felt loads better. The whole problem shared is a problem halved thing does ring true.
The point I’m making is, if you’re feeling down, it can be very very difficult talking about feelings. You may think it’s pointless because no one can offer you a practical solution out of whatever crappy situation you find yourself in. DO IT ANYWAY. It doesn’t matter, even knowing you have someone who cares enough to listen is a huge boost and I promise – IT WILL GET BETTER. It always gets better. Without the crap, you wouldn’t know how amazing ‘good’ feels. How many times has something crappy led eventually to something good? Sometimes the bad stuff just needs to happen. Maybe there’s someone out there who really needs to read something like this now to know they’re not alone and if I hadn’t felt like shit last week then I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.
I implore you, even if you find it too difficult talking about feelings to someone – write to them then. Even keep a diary. Sometimes writing things down can organise and focus your thoughts. I do it all the time. I’m doing it right now.
I’ll leave you with the wise words of Mr C, although I’m sure he wasn’t the original author, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
P.S. This is also one of the reasons I designed the gratitude journal. Focussing on the good stuff in your life rather than the bad can help switch your mindset. The ones I’d seen out there were a bit flowery and over complicated so the one I made is a bit more down to earth and really simple. You don’t need to buy one though, any old notebook will do. Its just sometimes, the simple things, like pretty stationery can help.