Lessons

17 Aug

“A moment of consideration often prevents a thousand apologies”
― Kevin J. Anderson

I apologize for not writing more often.  My head has been all over the place this year, and it’s been hard to want to write about… anything, really.

This past month I spent my time “down unda’” – in New Zealand and Australia.  It was an amazing trip – beautiful country, adorable animals, and wonderful people.  As much as I loved this trip, I was reminded of how much we still need to teach people about mental illness.

For me, when I get too overwhelmed/anxious/nervous/etc, I tend to retreat to a space that I have (wherever I am) where I can be alone, to calm down.  My parent’s are well aware of me doing this, so when I randomly just walk away, and curl into a ball in my room, they understand that I need that time to recoup.  I didn’t think about this for my trip.  My mom was worried about me going and I couldn’t understand why – I mean, I’ve told people in NZ that I’m living with a sometimes debilitating illness, so I thought I’d be fine.  I guess for me, I don’t see myself on the outside – I don’t know what it looks like to someone else when I ‘disappear’, or don’t want to partake in activities because it’ll just be too much for me.

I don’t think I made the best first impression for meeting my partner’s family.

Anytime I was around someone, my heart would would try to force it’s way out of my chest (I swear, haha), but I’d try really, really hard to keep my cool.  Questions would race through my head, all day – every day, “Am I standing right? Do I look awful? Should I be doing this? Maybe I should be doing that? Maybe I should help with this? Maybe I should say that? I wonder if they think I’m good enough? I wonder if they think I’m overweight? I wonder if they think I should talk more?” etc etc.  This alone – is exhausting.  And you can’t tell me, “Just stop thinking like that.”  It doesn’t work like that.  I don’t want to feel or act like that, but I was on edge most of the time.

I realize going into this trip, that I wasn’t the most ‘picture perfect’ partner to bring home to meet mom.  Currently unemployed, ‘ill’, and on top of it, people viewed me as being ‘lazy’, because my comfort zone, was often the bedroom that I had wherever I stayed – as it was a place I could shut the door, and then shut down myself.   But I thought that shouldn’t matter – I make Matt happyTHAT’S what should matter.

A month is not nearly enough time to get to know someone, though.  It would have been nice sitting down with everyone and talking about what goes on in my chaotic brain, so that they would hopefully see me in a more positive light.  When you’re travelling all over a country, a month sure isn’t long enough to explain anything about yourself, so I guess that was my disadvantage.

I think when it comes down to it, it’s all about learning, and wanting to learn.  I’ve always said, if there’s ever a question you want to ask me – ask me!  Nothing is too intrusive, stupid, obnoxious – just ask me.  I’d rather people learn about me, than to judge me negatively before getting to know me.  I understand that if you were never faced with the issue of mental illness, then why would you spend the extra time to learn about it?  It’s kind of like learning to fix your car – I’ve never had the desire to learn, and haven’t been faced with having to fix it on my own (despite my ‘awesome’ luck with cars needing to be fixed) – so why learn about it?  The less you know, the easier life appears to be.   I sometimes wish I didn’t learn about half the things I’ve seen and done – it paints an atrocious picture.

There are people in my life that are still learning about how to live with me and I hope they will continue to learn.  It’s hard every time the wrong chord is struck, but I have to realize  that no one knows what it’s like to be in my shoes – and so I can’t expect them to understand me all the time.  I just have to keep teaching them about myself, and hopefully keep a good flow of communication.

It’s never easy though..

Don’t get me wrong – the good far outweighed the bad, and I absolutely loved this trip!

DSCN5429Fur Seals in Kaikoura

One Response to “Lessons”

  1. Di August 29, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    “You’ve got a friend in me:)”

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