Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Gimmee a break!

I'd like to make some revisions to my last blog based on recent encounters.

I wrote before that 'I see happy people and I see sad people and I see that we don't see it in ourselves... It's so easy to see from an outside perspective, and so difficult from a personal one.' But I've realised just in the last few days, that what I wrote isn't exactly true. I think some people just don't see it at all: in themselves or in others.

Isn't that a damn shame? I suppose I never really analysed compassion in this way before, but it must start with simply understanding that a person is in a certain mood,probably brought on by something going on in their lives. And I guess that a lot of people just don't naturally do that! And that is a shame because things would be a lot easier for people en-mass if we all understood each other's moods!

I came to this conclusion in the last couple of days after a conversation with a friend where they (I expect with the best intention) implied that I have something 'wrong' with me because I have mood swings and because I get down and anxious at times. They commented on one particular incident years back, saying it was proof that my head wasn't quite right.

Now, this person is a good friend and I trust them to look out for me... but hearing these words come from their mouth was a bit of a slap in the face for me and I do not agree with their point of view! What they have failed to take into account is that they are living a happy, successful and fairly stress-free life and I am not! They own their own house, they are in a long-term happy relationship, they have a well paid job that gives them financial security and a daily routine. I don't have any of those things. I am trying to find my way and things are quite difficult. I honestly don't mind admitting that! I'm not happy with where my life is, I am trying to get somewhere I will be happy but I can't just snap my fingers and do that and yes- it does mean that my moods fluctuate and sometimes I am not happy. But that does NOT mean there's something wrong with me.

Also, at the time of the incident my friend spoke of, things in my life were in fact much worse than they are right now: I was in the middle of the breakdown of a relationship with someone I was very much in love with: they were leaving me and not the other way round (anyone who's been through that will know what it does to you!), I was unhappy at work and shortly after I left my job and moved to the other side of the city to escape that life. So to me it seems obvious that it was those upsetting things in my life that were affecting me, NOT a problem with my head!

I use myself as an example here, but I know it is not just me who suffers from this kind of 'misunderstanding' when it comes to mental health. I'm sick of being told to grow a thick skin, to just 'cope' with things, that letting it get to you shows weakness, that you must put it all aside and put on a brave face. Why should we all have to ignore our worries and downplay our sadness for others, particularly our friends? I know we'll never get anywhere if we're constantly melancholly and negative: I know that our moods tend to rub off on others and you can't always be miserable with your friends or they'll start to feel it too. But what I'm saying is it's a shame that people don't always seem to understand that other peoples lives and other people's moods are not the same as their own. If someone seems a little crazy, why can't we all just take a second to see if there's a simple and obvious reason for that rather than branding them as 'unstable' and hoping they'll 'pull themselves together'.

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