VULNERABILITY

It’s April 2020. There’s a pandemic happening. Many people are working from home. Others have lost their jobs. Others still have to go out into the world to earn a living or serve their purpose, a strange new world different to any they’ve known. Most of us are staying in except when we have to go to the shops or to get some fresh air and exercise.

Social media is busy. There’s a number of different challenges being passed around from one person to another. Some involve answering a bunch of questions with the promise of getting to know each other better, but with a higher likelihood of information being stolen and used to answer the security questions when hacking into someone’s accounts. Others involve posting images for 10 days in a row: covers of albums that changed your life, performing arts photos for those who have or had that as a hobby. Or posting a bunch of photos of yourself as a youngster.

Imagine if we actually took up the challenge to properly get to know one another. Not the superficial question and answer posts where we learn which foods you’d never eat. But where we dig deeper and understand what makes one another tick. Where we learn about the differences between us that make us each unique, and respect the fact that being different to each other is a very good thing. If we could open up and share our biggest vulnerabilities, and in doing so, allow the walls we put up to gently crumble.

I’ll start. 

I’ve suffered from (diagnosed) severe depression in the past and most people around me had no idea. I’ve also suffered from some pretty serious (also diagnosed) stress and anxiety which was probably more noticeable, but also likely misinterpreted as me being grumpy or someone that people had to ‘walk on eggshells’ around. As a perfectionist, I’ve always had this subconscious idea that I need to present myself as having my shit together and not let my facade slip, regardless of what’s happening on the inside. 

For the most part, I do have my shit together. But no one is actually perfect. No one is even close to it one hundred percent of the time.

My depression was not so severe that it required medication, and was mainly in response to traumatic events in my life. For me personally, depression doesn’t stop me from doing regular things like getting up each day, going to work or attending other commitments (pre-pandemic). I have that need to keep up appearances. For me, it comes with a sense of hopelessness about the world. I feel as though I’m surrounded by darkness and it’s hard to find the light. I look around and all I can see is all the negativity in the world, people being horrible to each other, natural disasters causing death and destruction, and accidents taking good people from this world.

For me, it comes with a heavy feeling, and it’s hard for me to feel as though I’ll ever feel lightness again.

What I have to do at these times is stay in my head. My head knows that I’ll feel light again. Because I know I’ve been here before. And when I feel light again, it’s hard to imagine that I ever felt so heavy.

Please, if you have these feelings and need help to move through it, see a professional. Ask your GP for help, or contact Beyond Blue or Lifeline.

And while I’m doing things despite the uncomfortable vulnerability, here’s a photo of myself.

Hope you are all doing well, staying home wherever possible, and maintaining a nice balance of physical and mental activity and rest. If you need to talk, I’m here. If you want to share something of your own, I’m here, and I’d love to get to know you on a deeper level than just learning what countries you’ve visited. x

Image of female lying on her side behind a kitten also lying on its side

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