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Selfish? I know

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"Selfish" - is what my mum called me today as I was making myself some fries for lunch. Even though everyone else is grown and a lot older than I am, and there are a ton of leftovers in the fridge, and there is no designated lunch time in the house, and there actually is an employee who could make you something, I got labeled this because I was craving fries and decided to make some. #selflove? The past few days have been quite depressive, especially today, a bit of yesterday, and last Friday. As anyone who is familiar with overwhelming bouts of sadness, sometimes you can explain it, sometimes you can't. I had one of those "episodes" earlier today, and I typically go to my mum whenever I'm sad, just because I'm the last born and she gives the best hugs. But as I sat with her and cried, I could tell her attention was elsewhere. And after I called her out on it and said "I'm just really sad, about everything," she went on this rant on how sadness is the absence of thankfulness. I knew she was annoyed at me, as the interrogations began on if I'm sad when I wake up, or when I look at my baby nephew, and other intense guilt-tripping subjects. I got annoyed, because in my head I thought, "Yes, actually, sometimes." But what bothered me about that interaction is that I felt even more alone, and I realized that if I can't talk to my mum about my mental health, who around me can I talk to?

Those Darn Demons

With that realization came the scary, dark thoughts. Now, I'm not at the point where I believe that I'm possessed by these thoughts. But I will say at times when these bouts hit, I get a little scent of that evil aroma permeating. It's at such times where I'll go to extreme conclusions on why it's a good reason to kill myself. And I'll think, "So-and-so needs to see how serious I am when I say 'I don't feel well,' or 'I'm sad,' or when I just cry for no reason."

Today I had the terrible thought of, "Well, if I die, I guess it won't be that bad for Mum since she can be thankful for the other 4 children she'll have left." I know this sounds so terrible, and it is! But it's that bad! These are the extremities my mind goes to when I'm under attack, so to speak. I become so much more insecure that I think to make someone else suffer for hurting my pride. Selfish, I know.

What We've Got Here Is Failure To Communicate*

When such instances happen, I get so frustrated, because I feel like the only depressed people that are taken seriously are the ones that physically hurt themselves. I feel that I'm trying to communicate, "Help. I'm lost. I'm lonely. I'm afraid, and I'm in pain!" But I think all people hear is nagging, or complaining, or my little repetitive emotional drama, or all the things I'm not thankful for. So instead of trying to replay the same broken record, I just clam up and recluse. I convince myself that nobody cares, because everyone has to deal with their own problems, and life is hard, so just face it and stop complaining about it. But, I always keep thinking, "Am I the only one who bleeds this much? Am I?" Selfish, I know.

Comparison Guilt

I know everyone has problems and many are in worse situations that I'm in. But here's my problem: guilt-tripping someone into happiness does not magically make them better. In my case, it makes me worse. Firstly, I think my feelings have no place in a conversation, or anywhere. Secondly, me going off, "at least I'm not in so-and-so's situation," doesn't make me feel thankful or blessed, it just makes me feel bad for that person. Thirdly, I'm living my life, not anybody else's, right? [perfectpullquote align="full" cite="" link="" color="#dd3333" class="" size=""]So, why do we come up with these pass/fail labels that validate people's experiences based on completely different people living completely different lives?[/perfectpullquote]

That's what I don't get. And that's why I can't go off of someone else's "worse" experience to make mine feel less horrible. All I know is my experience, my feelings. I can only use my own consciousness, my own mind, my own stream of thought. Selfish, I know.

Last Thoughts (for now!)

This post isn't supposed to be a rant or another sad girl post. It's mostly for those who may know someone close who similarly goes through what I've described, and how to deal with them. If you don't understand their behaviour or way of thought, ask them what you can do that can help. If they don't know, experiment with them on some ideas that can be helpful to what they're going through.

  • Listen, listen, listen to them. You don't always have to have something to say back. Sometimes people need to verbally extract their feelings, and that's it. In fact, saying things out loud can be a stress-reliever, like a way of literally releasing those pent up feelings.
  • Sit with them. Just be there for them without trying to argue with the mindset they're in. Yes, it may require a lot of patience and may not always be fun, BUT you did sign up for this relationship, and sometimes support is needed most when it's not always convenient or reciprocated.
  • And each person is different, so it might be sitting in silence, sending encouraging notes, going out with them, reading to them, massaging them, eating with them, anything. Exert yourself to find out what ways they receive love and care.

They're allowed to feel whatever it is they're feeling, and no matter how much you may not want them to feel that way, (and trust me, they don't want to feel that way either), it is what it is. Now I believe each individual is responsible for their feelings, their behaviour, all that. In no way am I saying that their feelings are excusable for their actions (that's another topic for another day). But what's needed is a safe, welcoming space amongst people, and how much more important it is if it's amongst loved ones.

Living life in your thoughts and feelings is selfish - I know. And I think most people know that, too. After all, we're created to live selfless lives (second greatest commandment anyone?), commune with one another, and love one another, but it does take time to unlearn ways of going about things that've been so ingrained in one's mind. And it requires help, because this life CANNOT be done alone.

Selfish, I Know - Mgeni.org: Thoughts on being selfish as a depressed person.

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Making My Change