Let’s talk about reaching out. More importantly my seemingly inability to do so. I have been in the social services profession for over half my life. My sole purpose is to be there when others reach out to me. I can attest to the relief it can bring for the other person. The so-called burden has an opportunity to be lifted by the very virtue of sharing with someone else. Releasing what’s typically rolling around in the “wrong neighborhood” of the mind can be cathartic.
Armed with this information and actually witnessing it to be true, you’d think I would jump at the chance to fill someone’s ear with my stuff. Not the case. Well, not entirely accurate. The idea of this prospect is wonderful. Unleashing the demons that constantly plague me would be so beneficial. But, knowing this is not enough. Speaking my truth is so scary and difficult, I prefer to hide behind my written words. I mean conveying my pain in some form or fashion is helpful. But, again, not enough. Realistically, some days all I’m able to do is furiously type on this computer and hope to be brave enough to send it out into cyberspace.
What is this fear? Fear of being a burden. Misunderstood. Unable to express what ails my mind, body and soul. The questions you might ask to clarify. Statements you might make to “help” me. Having to dive into deep shit I don’t know how or want to. Having to admit I have bipolar disorder and all the chaos it has created. The manic and depressive episodes that have rocked me to my core. Rocked my marriage possibly to its breaking point. Wanting to expel the details from my memory, but also not dredge up the pain it encompasses. Wondering if you could possibly understand. Or, maybe you do so much that I must then console you. What a selfish thought that is! Baggage I guess is part of the fear.
Just the other day I was quite distraught the whole day. Many many tears shed in the confines of my home. Well, and into the dark black fur of my kitty. Back to bed I went after 2 cups of coffee. I had received news the prior evening I did not get a job I felt highly qualified for. The interview had gone very well in my opinion. I even brought up a few ideas and sparked a discussion. Does it get better than that? I was able to speak to my weakness within the proposed position, but more so self myself as an asset. I recounted this experience to a few friends and they agreed it sounded positive. Case Management is in my bones, I told them. 15 years of direct experience..successful experience. Over 20 years in a social service delivery model in general. I could learn the “ins and outs” of the agency.
I suppose I could have picked up the phone that day and relayed my utter disappointment. But, I just couldn’t. We could argue didn’t or couldn’t. For me it was a could not. I sent out a few rushed texts. One to my husband and one to my brother. Both expressed sympathy, but just to move on to the next one. Typical advice. But, I’m not a typical person. I guess no one is. My bipolar brain was beating me up through and through. How does anyone know that if I don’t share? I keep it all locked inside. Tears fell on the couch and into the bedroom. My husband asked if I was crying as we nestled under the covers in the darkness. I said no. We both knew I was lying. I can’t share pain in the moment of pain. It feels physically impossible. My body will not let me. My mind won’t allow words to come out of my mouth. I just shutdown.
I have the opportunity to share my ups, downs and in- betweens with a woman who is willing to be my sponsor in AA. This equates to another human being willing to hear what ails my mind, body and soul. Can I lay down the walls and accept this possibility? Leave the baggage at the door and honor this for what it is..space to learn how to share myself. Space to learn about myself. Space to forgive myself.
Let’s face it. I don’t need space. I need connection. Honest emotional interaction. So, let’s talk about reaching out. How do you do it?