A Different Kind of Heartache

Today, my heart ached. It ached as it often does and I know always will. It ached for sisters. For women helping women. We are blessed. We are the ones more in touch with our emotions. Often more vulnerable. Often misunderstood. We are women.

I recently learnt the importance of eyes. I avoid eye contact. It turns out you really can see right through a person when you look into their eyes. The term depression eyes is accurate. The vacant stare. The hopelessness. There is nothing behind those eyes. When you recognise that in another, it feels like eyes meeting your own same expression. You relate. You ache. You cannot walk away from that. So you help. In whatever way you can. You talk. That is what I do. That is what I will always do. I will always be that safe place to fall apart. I do not judge. I listen. I feel with you. I sit with you. I put aside myself for you.

Today, I did a very me thing. Suddenly, I felt like me again doing it. I saw those eyes, that expression, that worry, that panic. I sat with it. I spoke and calmed it and read to it. I listened. I sat there being a source of what every young girl needs and I realised, this is what I do, over and over. This is my gift to this world. This is my way of saying thank you for all the lights that have appeared in my life. I have seen so many angels come and go. They inspire me. To never leave a girl alone. To talk. To support. To make her a cup of tea. To buy her chocolate. To give her my time and my attention if that is what she needs. I realise my strength and my kindness in these moments. I realise my gifts. Giving is important.

All that I need sometimes is women helping women. I need to  nurture because that way we will all grow together. I choose to pick people up. I choose to walk with them. I choose to ensure people know their importance. I am the stranger that will stop for you on the street and you can come to me, anytime you need. You can cry to me. I am the one who will always pick up the phone. I do not care about sleep or who I am with or what I am doing. I care for others. I will never change that gift. It is one of my favourite things, because it is the thing keeping me alive, after all. I have received more unasked for help than you would believe.

Fortunate

I am fortunate. I am fortunate because my illness does not define me. I am fortunate because sometimes others see it before I see it myself. I am fortunate because there is so much that I can do. So I do not focus on that which I cannot do.  I focus on the good all around me. I focus on those who support me, those who love me. I hear about people who struggle with loneliness. That is not me. I hear about those who get no visitors for mental illness, but I have not moved. People come to me. People always come and check up on me. People know that I am not ok and that ultimately makes me ok.

Mental illness sometimes means losing your self-awareness. This is something I have worked so hard for. I have always felt I know myself. Anxiety makes me doubt myself. Depression makes me not feel myself. Dissociation makes me not want to be myself. I hate losing my self-awareness. I like to know my triggers and act upon them. It is scary when you do not detect them. When life gets in the way. When everything becomes difficult. That is what your support system is there for. I am extremely fortunate with mine.

I have friends who come and see me and how I am doing at my lowest points. I have a sister who stays on the phone talking and reassuring until I fall asleep. I have friends who make me laugh when I want to cry. My support is invaluable to me. I have several places to turn to and go. That makes me fortunate. That is partially why I write. I want everyone to know that I am here to support them. We may be strangers, but we are all in this together.