I've found that what heals us most is the truth.
We are healed when we hear other people's truths, because we feel less alone, less different, less like we are failing at life. But what heals us most is when we are truthful with ourselves, when we stop fighting, stop pretending, stop pushing. When we soften and allow ourselves to be the person we are right at this very point in time, not the person we were, and not the person that we desire to be.
I've been to the Doctors countless times over the last year with digestive problems (I found out it was due to a bacterial infection) and each time he asked me, "Are you depressed?", "No", I would reply. Because I wasn't, I'm not. I am not depressed. Or am I? The Dr concluded I was not. But each time I left the his office I wondered that if I told him how I really felt about life he would still have come to the same conclusion. I wonder if he could see me now with tears streaming down my cheeks, would he still come to the same conclusion?
If you have been following my journey you will know that at the beginning of each new year I choose a guiding word, this year I chose WHOLE.
I chose the word WHOLE because at the beginning of this year I couldn't deal with feeling broken anymore. I have no idea how some people do life so easily. I have some naturally happy people in my life and when I'm with them I often find myself studying them wondering how they do it? How are they always so positive and it leaves me feeling even more broken.
Each time I left the Drs office I wondered, what if I told him that some mornings I have to force myself out of bed to start my day? What if I described the pain that constantly sits on my chest, the tight feeling in my throat, the knot in my stomach and the constant feeling that I just want to run away from my life, would he still conclude that I am not depressed?
As you know I took a big step back from everything a few weeks ago and a lot of the reason for that was because I just couldn't. I just couldn't function properly, life was just too much and I didn't want to run from myself anymore and didn't want to pretend that I'm not hurting, that I'm OK. That everything is fine. I just didn't want to keep all the balls in the air anymore.
I fell, I fell to my knees and felt like I wasn't going to be able to get up this time. I didn't really want to either, it's exhausting pretending to be OK all the time.
I don't have many people in my life who get it, that's why I've dedicated my work to helping others feeling less alone, because you can also be surrounded by people and still feel alone, I have many people in my life who have life down, who 'get life', they are naturally happy and as much as I LOVE being around these people, they make me feel so so isolated and they make me feel like I don't have a right to feel the way I do about life.
I can't remember the exact moment it was that I broke, believe me I've back tracked enough to try and connect the dots, but I've blocked out a lot of the things that broke me, because that is what the mind does when it hurts, it shuts down. Unfortunately so do parts of your body and soul when you do that, which makes the healing process even longer. I gave up on trying to pin point the reason why I broke and then went on a journey to understand why I couldn't piece myself together. Why do I constantly feel like an open wound? Why do things touch me so deeply? Why does the anger lurk right beneath my surface? I've understood that I still hurt because I still feel alone and I still feel so misunderstood and I just can't accept.
Thoughts about a taking a step back first came to me during the #sistasstrongertogether campaign, I started this campaign as I had so often witnessed the power of one woman giving permission another to 'be', to not pretend during the last two years, that I felt the need to highlight this wonderful bond between women. However as my notifications were flooded with tags, comments and likes I felt even more lonely. One of my dear insta connections labelled me as a natural born leader and as I read those words I became overcome with anxiety as that is so so far from how I see myself and want to position myself, because I'm just like you, I know no better, in fact I probably know less. That label is a heavy responsibility for someone who finds it hard to get out of bed most mornings, but I pretend well, so no-one really knows how difficult I find life.
Almost a month ago now, we were having a family dinner at home, I added carrot to the tomato sauce, my son doesn't like it when I add carrot to the sauce, I knew, I shouldn't have know what was coming. He refused to eat it. I'm used to it, he is hyper sensitive, smells, taste, sounds. I get it, oh how I get being sensitive. There is a lot I feel that I can share on the internet and a lot I can't, what happened next I am not comfortable sharing, but it ended up with my husband telling me that my work was fake, who I am online is fake.
These words hit me so so hard. Not because they were obviously meant to hurt me, but because with his words he had flicked a switch deep down in me somewhere, that was the moment when I finally made my decision to give up health coaching, not because I'm a fake, because that is so so far from the truth. But because I'm not a coach, I'm an artist. And I've been drowning in my creativity because I haven't been letting it flow, I've been getting in my own way.
During the podcast I recorded that will be launched next week with Stephanie from Frank and Nora, we talked about post natal depression and how, for many of us, post natal depression is actually the inability to adjust to sudden change, this was definitely the case for me and I think now it is also a case of not being able to accept. Not being able to accept some of the cards that life dealt me. I am not able to accept my story.
So if you were to ask me now, "Are you depressed?', I would say if you want to put a label on me then go ahead, "Yes I am depressed", but life is so so much more complicated than that and you and I both know that you cannot put a label on all the emotions, feelings and thoughts that come with motherhood.
Us humans like labels, we like to put things in neat boxes so life has some order, because we don't enjoy complications, we don't like it when we can't understand something. We don't like it when life is complicated, but life is complicated, so so complicated.
So as I currently drown in confusion, I'm doing the one constant in the journey, I'm telling the truth, I'm shedding another layer and putting my hands up in the air and declaring (for the label lovers) that I am suffering from depression.
So as I said this story is complicated and another reason I stepped back from my work is because I have created a brand (apparently I'm good at that), however I'm a person, not a brand, I've put myself in a box, and I know myself well enough to know that I don't fit in a box, and my creativity certainly doesn't fit in a box, it's organic, it needs to flow, it needs to feel that it can change course, shape and direction whenever it feels the need. And that is why I've been getting in my own way. I haven't invited my creativity in yet as I don't want to put it in a box, I don't want to open the tap and for it to feel restricted. I don't want to put a label on it.
So this is also the point at which I also declare, "I don't know", "I have no plan", "I don't know how this is all going to pan out", I'm just not going to 'pretend' anymore, I can not longer do 'neat boxes'. I'm just going to commit to my creativity and pray so hard that it leads me down a path that allows me to continue to voice the message that is behind Raising Women.
I'm going to close as school pick up time is looming, and as I do I want to send so much love to all the women who have made me feel less alone and supported over the last few weeks and for reaching out to me and taking the time to write to me, as each time you have it's been a hand up as I got myself of the floor and for that I will be forever grateful.
There will definitely be more thoughts to come, until then;
Do you must,
Love J x