Have you found yourself at a fork in the road recently or has your bridge just completely collapsed?
Life can unravel quite quickly at times, and we can be caught off-guard and scrambling to make sense of it all, whilst grieving what we have lost. Bitterness and resentment for our situation can quickly build and it’s easy to feel that no-one understands what you are going through. Perhaps you have experienced this yourself, or have people in your life who are going through it. We are undoubtedly living in a very challenging time. And it’s even more challenging to get the right kind of support at exactly the right moment.
We have also been conditioned to keep our sufferings private and carry our burdens alone. I for one have carried many burdens since I was a young child and I was never confident or comfortable asking for help, or telling anyone my troubles. I tried to solve everything on my own, even complex problems. Perhaps it was my independence, my mis-trust for others or I didn’t want to show weakness, I’m not really sure. Does any of this sound or feel familiar to you?
Something I do know now, and think of often, is that all around me there are others, “just like me!”. Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about;
I have many friends currently unemployed and wondering when they will next be able to get a job, let alone make any money of significance. This is true now in 2020 as it was too in 2008 after the GFC.
I have friends who have suffered miscarriages recently and carry an enormous grief.
I have friends whose husbands have taken their own lives in recent years and are dealing with the trauma of that every day whilst raising their children.
I have friends who are separated from their families at the moment, living in other countries and wondering if they will ever get to see their relatives again.
I have friends who tell me that where they live, mothers are leaving their babies at drop-in centres because they can’t afford to buy food for them.
I have friends whose relatives are currently ill with terminal conditions and some whose relatives have recently passed away.
I’m pretty sure that “like me”, you too have people you know dealing with the same, or, similar circumstances. The enormity of these challenges and the way society largely functions makes it very difficult to help and support in the right way, so the person who is suffering generally suffers twice. Firstly, they suffer with the problem itself and then secondly with the notion that people won’t understand so they can’t be open about it, and therefore keep it to themselves and try to just carry on as normal.
Here’s three things I’ve learnt through my own suffering, as well as witnessed in others.
We carry our own suffering and burdens for many years without processing them.
We think that others cannot possibly understand what we are going through, if they have not walked in our shoes.
We re-live our suffering day after day and feel guilty if we try to move on.
During this time of immense global suffering I also see people whose lives are largely unaffected and they carry on as normal. Their businesses are thriving, they are doing home improvements and buying pets and planning holidays. We probably all know people “just like them!”. It’s confusing isn’t it? On one hand we want to be happy for the people in our life who have normality, but on the other hand we have people we know and love truly suffering, and somewhere in the middle are many others.
It’s reported that many charities will have to close this year as they will not receive the donations needed to carry out their services. Oxfam are closing down projects and offices all over the world as I write, and it’s expected that people affected with mental health conditions will more than quadruple from the effects of Lockdown.
Here’s what I would like to suggest:
Now more than ever do not carry your burdens alone.
Know that there are people all around you – “just like you!”.
Just because someone hasn’t walked in your shoes, it doesn’t mean they can’t give you love, compassion and encouragement, don’t close yourself off.
The suffering you are feeling is real and unless you process it, make sense of it, and forgive it, the pain will damage you. You don’t need to be damaged by your pain.
Humans are resilient and from our sufferings we grow strong.
Sometimes you will have success and sometimes you will suffer, that’s how life is.
If you have success, spare a thought for those suffering and if you can, some money to help.
If you have suffering, don’t feel bitter, resentment or anger at others.
If you notice yourself or others spiralling down, grab on and shout for help.
Make sense of your “normal”, it’s probably similar to many but not the same as others close to you. Just be compassionate to everyone regardless of their circumstances, because just around the corner is another fork in the road.
Our emotional and mental health affects our physical health.
I encourage you to prioritise all three in order to navigate the forks in the road, build new bridges and keep your foundations strong.
Thanks for caring and sharing!
Love Krissy Regan, The Wellness Poet