I have been reflecting and I realized recently that for me, the loneliest aspect of life is navigating grief and perinatal depression.
The concept that one conversation with a loved one should magically heal the warfare of the mind is toxic and dangerous to the person receiving the “so-called” support their loved ones try to give them. I get it now.
In this season of pregnancy (round two)” 🤰🏾, I’ve faced tremendous lows emotionally, unlike anything I’ve ever faced and though it’s been hidden by the guise of complaining, it’s deeper than that. Deep down, I know that many of my favorite humans (friends and family alike) have wanted to be there for me but I also struggle with feeling the need to either hide behind a smile, or take the risk of sharing vulnerable feelings — only to be met with reactive statements that focus on “looking at the bright side.” I even had someone recently tell me that they’re proud of the way I’ve kept a smile despite everything I’m going through… I wasn’t sure how to feel about that one. I’ve been lucky to hear some people share their own experiences in hopes of making me feel more grateful and grounded…but it’s honestly had the opposite effect. 🤷🏾♀️
It’s hard not to feel a sense of pride at being able to hold it together all the time, but it’s also incredibly difficult to exude strength at every disappointment. Amidst the hard seasons.
Sometimes all we need is someone to hug us and say… “I know you’re hurting and I’m here to give you 1,000 more hugs on the hard days — virtually or physically…” (and actually deliver on that).
Then there are the slew of thoughts I face after sharing. I start asking myself…
“Why did I share…”
“Am I now being judged…”
“Am I the complainer…”
“Am I now too naked…”
I wake up and remember that I too, once, found myself in a happy season of “peace” in my life but met close friends around me who needed me and were struggling…with a hope-filled hello and tough love (advice) that they didn’t need in that very moment. They might have felt the burden of “faking it, to make it” around me.
The complexity of true relationship with others can often lead us to a feeling of deep loneliness. We don’t want to end up on the dangerous hamster wheel of co-dependency in the tough seasons but we also have a desire and need for community, a need to share, vent and explore the dark areas of our emotions, while gaining the healing we truly desire through talk therapy.
Today, I’m considering new ways to cope with the sadness I feel. And that alone, feels like progress. Feels like me. Again. That’s why I’m writing, again.
I am also promising myself that I will allow people to feel what they need to feel. I am reminding myself to view them through the lens of love (Mark 12:31). Through a lens free from judgement (Matthew 7:2), free from unsolicited advice or toxic gratitude statements (James 1:19).
I want to be a landing spot for people to simply show up and be, human.