I quit the job that was making me incredibly unhappy. I have moved to the place I want to live, potentially forever. I have married my best friend. My endometriosis has been cleared as much as possible probably in my lifetime. I feel so grateful for my family and friends. I love spending time with children. I have the luxury of being able to watch Netflix in the day time. I am tutoring fantastic characters and people that are really adding to my life. I am starting the volunteering I have wanted to do for years. I have time to spend with those I care about.
Yet still, some days, I just feel griefstrickenly sad. No matter how much I want to be happy.
I tell myself that perhaps such sadness can be positive as it helps me recognise the better, contented times. I also say to myself that this, too, shall pass. In that moment, however, I just feel like nothing. Like no one cares. As though I have nothing to give and what’s the point because my insides hurt so much, sometimes literally but mostly figuratively.
Sometimes I feel 3 years old again, looking up at the people around me in heartaching confusion at their lack of love for each other, thinking they’re mad and wondering when they’ll notice me. When will someone finally realise I’m here and say something nice to me.
Now I’m an adult I feel as though I’m looking up at the world and thinking the same thing. Why are people so mean to each other? Why is there so much judgement? When will people realise that what’s important is being themselves and being kind to each other? These questions may sound quite childish but I genuinely mean them. I know it starts with being kind to myself and I find that so hard. I’m constantly telling myself I’m not good enough, that I am less than others, that I lack and that people don’t want me around.
The thing is because I’ve spent so much of my life covering up my real feelings, the awful physical pain and trying to impress through work, job titles, being the most supportive friend in times of need, pretending to be ‘normal’ (whatever the heck that means), I’ve lost myself. It is hard to explain that even though the physical side of things has vastly improved, that those years of pain were like being in an alternate, foggy world and now I have to, I want to, face it all and that will take time.
And, honestly, I resent people that don’t understand. I sometimes feel that I’ve absorbed all the shit so other people can be free, like some kind of trade-off = the more I suffer the better other people’s lives will be. Because I identify with pain and loss and grief and these are uncomfortable things to verbalise, as I am so concerned about not making things awkward for other people, I internalise it and tell myself I’m the problem, I deserve it, it’s my fault, it’s unpleasant to talk about therefore I’m unpleasant to talk about and to. Then I hate myself for blaming other people.
Hospices are special places in our society that no one really wants to talk about let alone visit. St Christopher’s in Sydenham/Bromley, where I am volunteering, work hard to ‘normalise’ dying, to make it part of the community because then the experience becomes part of life, because it is, rather than something to hide away from – which can often create shame, guilt and despair. If we also worked hard to normalise and respect sadness perhaps people would be more willing to open up, acknowledge it and place it somewhere safe in their head so it doesn’t become overwhelming and result in extreme situations such as suicide. Let’s talk about these things. I love elephants but there are way too many in this room called Humankind.
I’ve experienced things that are with me every day, no matter how fantastic life is. Speaking to the other volunteers I’m training with I felt this huge realisation that the level of and length of pain and loss I’ve experienced are extreme, life changing and highly unusual. I am no more resilient than you, I’ve just learnt to hide the pain extremely craftily. When people tell me I am strong I look at them in wonder and bafflement because inside I feel decimated. I feel so old. I am in awe of people that are free of physical worry, who have the normal life pains and who lack self-consciousness. I am aware everyone is fighting their own battle but I feel like the veteran on the sidelines, knowing others feel sorry for me but ultimately will leave me to it until they, too, one day, have to join me because of some conflict life launches them into.
I wake up and the first thing I think about is please don’t give me too much pain today and then I try to send some love to the ovaries I have left. I can go on holiday, I can have loads of free time but I can’t run away from my body. Some days it feels like life wasn’t meant to be this hard and I don’t know if I can do it. I feel so out of sync with absolutely everybody and I feel angry at myself that I still compare myself to others and life’s tickboxy ways. Maybe the only person I have to fit in with is actually me, but searching for a family, somewhere to belong, is what I still strive for. I can only wish that tomorrow is better.
I may well delete this post when I feel better as it’s been painful to write and will no doubt be painful to read back. I want to be myself and sometimes that just means being sad and feeling ok about it. Sometimes I need to withdraw from life to do that, ignore calls, step back from messaging, go dark in several ways. Other times it would be great to have people to share this with but I am worried I will scare people away. I need not solutions but a listening ear. When I get these worries off my chest I feel better, it’s just finding safe places to put them.
In this world where we are constantly bombarded with declaring our every happy move on facebook etc (I’m guilty of this too) sometimes I just need good wishes and someone to say or to hear me say I feel sad, hold my hand and tell me that’s ok. Not that I’m ok, because I don’t feel that way, nor that the world is ok for the same reason. But that sadness itself is ok.