It got me thinking about how we all might dance around depression without really knowing it. It affects us all in such different and varying ways. I am naturally a glass half full person, and will always seek to find a positive in all situations. It's just the way I am. It doesn't mean I dismiss depression, I don't. When someone close to you, or indeed you experience it yourself, the topic is given some thought, perspective and action. I am also a heart on my sleeve kind of person and am, some would say, overly sensitive. But that overly sensitive nature has been a gift as well as a curse.
I have only ever experienced depression once in my life time in my mid twenties when I was living alone in Brighton. A change of job, a new flat and new found singledom should have brought joy to a new era of my life, but the reality was I felt absolutely lonely. It felt like being in a bottle neck situation and not being able to get out or away from it. I got through it, I'm not sure how, or remember how, but the incident has remained in my memory bank for good.
Similarly a move to France showed patches of unhappiness, that had they been left unchecked could easily have slipped into depression. While it is easy to share the bright and sunny side of life of moving to a new country, it is not so easy to share the down side. A wrench away from all that you have become gives way to facing something different. Those happy go lucky posts can often mask a different story, the loneliness, the frustration of living in a country that doesn't speak your mother tongue. Things such as adapting to not having central heating at the flick of a switch. Those momentary glitches where you sit at the dining table with a pile of letters in French trying to make head or tail of what it means and asking yourself, have we done the right thing.
If we think back to our childhoods, we would mix with other children so easily, make friends without judgement or prejudice. When moving to another country as an adult, you revert back to thinking it's going to be easy. But throw in those who have preconceived judgements and prejudices, those circles of cliques that are resistant to newcomers and what might take weeks or months to form bonds with fellow human beings can take years. Despite my sensitivities, I have developed a thicker skin, but I am also aware that others have not.
It is so easy to judge, pass comment, make a criticism without fully knowing or indeed understanding the bigger picture. As adults there are times when we don't question the line up of events and circumstances or the bigger picture before boom... your human pendulum is left swinging like a disconnected grandfather clock. Before you know it your mind and emotional state have been left unguarded and unchecked for so long that you don't know what to do about it.
We forget as human beings we are fragile. We forget that about ourselves and for each other. Therefore the events that have taken place with the dearly beloved makes me stop and think. Someone has entrusted me with their fragility. When they talk to me and share their innermost scariest thoughts, it's like holding fine bone china in my hands to be handled with care. You then start to think about yourself, how is my mind? Am I doing enough to make sure that I am mentally healthy? You then stop and think about interactions with those around you, friends and family and those momentary exchanges with others on a daily basis. These everyday interactions, we all want them to flow in a positive direction. But when another persons pendulum is knocked, it can have an effect on those around them. At times it is easy to think they are having a bad day. But why? Before making an assumption – that bad day could be an accumulation of lots of bad days, that they don't know about. How often do we take a step back and think, is this person OK? What's the bigger picture?
Well-being in the workplace and looking after yourself as self employeds are key topics in the UK and I can't help thinking that those this side of the Channel who are self employed need and must take stock regularly to ensure that their pendulums move at a steady pace. Be mindful of each and every day. Are those little frustrations building up to something bigger, and don't need to? Is life feeling a little too pressured of late? Are you dealing with it, or at least sharing your thoughts with someone that you can trust?
There are two sensitive souls in my marriage, one is happy to own up to being sensitive, yes, that's me. While I am not the best at checking and reviewing each day for me, I do for my husband. I know that a heavy workload means a cluttered mind for him. I know that the pendulum is swinging out of kilter for him. So we talk it all out and when it's in black and white and spread out on an A3 sheet and lists to accompany I know that the pendulum is swinging at its normal pace for him.
I can think of nothing more frustrating than being trapped in your own mind and not being able to see a way through it. Unless you have been in that situation, one can never truly understand what it must be like to be trapped in your own mind. I know from the beloved, that there are a myriad of feelings experienced; being a burden, can't think, fear and failure. I have learned to just lend my ears without judging or fixing and offer an abundance of love and support when it is needed.
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