My apologies to anybody and everybody who has ever called me ‘amazing’ or told me I am a ‘strong woman’. They are enormously flattering descriptions but – as a friend pointed out recently, and I immediately saw the truth of it – I don’t need to be amazing or even strong. I just need to be me, muddling along and doing my best just like everybody else.
I seem to be through the worst of my depression, thank goodness – and thanks to the ongoing support of many friends, some from unexpected quarters. Three men in particular who owned up to depression themselves, and who were able to give support from a place of real understanding: one of them my ex-husband. One has sent me almost daily short emails or facebook links to humorous or empathetic (or both) pictures or quotations about depression, and also the benefit of his non-judgemental advice from his own experience. Female friends have been caring and supportive. I have been surrounded and supported by love, and perhaps that is why even at my blackest and lowest I still felt that glimmer of hope.
I also – and this will go against the grain for any of you who are very practical and non-spiritual – followed up on some sessions with a friend who is an Earth Healer. I was already a ‘guinea pig’ for her therapy, in, I have to say, a slightly sceptical way. However we have picked up the sessions again recently and her ‘grounding visualisation’ is of far more practical help to me than the (*! blank, blank !*) counsellor I went to see – who ended up just making me more depressed in my second session. I had been for a walk in Ridge Woods that morning, and felt deep inside me what I believed in my heart and what I needed to do, and felt calm from it: the counsellor went against all of that and it resulted in my saying things I now regret – and which I can only hope I can remedy. So the grounding visualisations etc. coming back on the scene a week or two later were exactly what I needed: I needed to get back in touch with the very essence, the core, of me – the place which is actually calm and which other people’s views and opinions don’t rock.
I’m not saying it’s all been upward. Only last Tuesday I spent the entire journey home from work in floods of tears: but the overall progress is upward. I don’t feel manic, nor madly happy – but there is a calmness in me despite the fact that some areas of my life are still tinged with sadness. And I no longer feel a need to be amazing – to be on top of the world because I’m so wonderful. I no longer even feel the need to be strong – I am vulnerable and can be hurt: but that shows I am human. I don’t have to live up to superlatives any longer: I no longer need to retain a position as top of (or near the top of) the class.
So my apologies to anyone who felt that by saying I was amazing that they were paying me a compliment. You were – a huge compliment. But the strain of doing too much became too much for me; the strain of trying to stay amazingly happy and cope with everything thrown at me was too much. I broke. But the fantastic thing is that, with help, I’m mending. Thank you.