Empathy: a gift or a curse?

It’s strange when your biggest weakness is also your biggest strength. That the thing that almost kills you can also be your reason for staying alive. Being highly sensitive is challenging to say the least. Most of my decisions are based on emotions rather than logic or any kind of ethics. and not necessarily my own emotions. Oh no, that would be far too easy, wouldn’t it? Most of my decisions are made based on what I imagine will be the least painful option for others involved, often to my own detriment. Sometimes I get it wrong. (A LOT). Or I get resentful and become too selfish in an effort to balance things out, and end up causing more harm than help.

It can be dangerous having such a vast understanding of the human spectrum of emotion. It means you relate to all kinds of emotions. It means you relate to all kinds of people. And always see the emotion behind the action or motive, which can make it difficult to distance yourself from negative behaviours or hold others accountable for their actions. But does anyone do the same for you? You can end up in a situation where you have been hurt, and yet you are empathising with the person who hurt you, instead of considering your own feelings. People will be drawn to you because they will be consciously, or subconsciously, aware of this trait. You may not be easy to fool, but you are susceptible to being manipulated. Being aware of these manipulation tactics won’t necessarily stop you from allowing it to happen. It can just make you feel like twice as much of an idiot.

If this sounds like you, there is something I need to share with you. People who are highly empathetic attract people who are highly narcissistic. It is likely that you prefer to see the good in others, due to your unique understanding of why people are the way they  are, and the likely factors and underlying emotions that have contributed to these negative behaviours.

Narcissists are highly charming. when they see something they admire in another, they will knowingly mimic those traits in order to boost their own likability.  (That’s not to say that they can’t have wonderful goodness or lovely traits or similar interests or values, just to be clear. I resent that some articles talk about narcissist as though they are not actual human beings and are literally just balls of mass-destruction who set out to hurt others. SO WRONG. AGH. But just be aware and protect yourself, whether you find yourself being used by people, or you find yourself overwhelmed by the desires of your ego and end up hurting others and yourself.)Admiration is very important to narcissists. Sometimes they don’t know the difference between love and admiration. they are not necessarily truth-seekers. They know how to appear genuine. They are often highly intelligent and motivated by their need for attention and power. You will think that you have something in common, a deep connection. narcissists and empaths are actually very similar, or at least, they appear to be very similar, on the surface. They just happen to be motivated by different things. Or the same things in different ways, e.g; people-pleasing is a common trait. an empath will want others to be happy, as their own happiness depends on it, a narcissist will want to be liked, and nothing more, though this will be thinly-veiled, as no real effort will go into these attempts. Everything is for show. If a kind deed is not going to be seen or heard, or at least give them emotional power over others, it immediately loses it’s appeal. . Its important to judge people by their actions and not just their words. It is easy to be charming and say all the right things, but it takes real heart to be thoughtful and genuine.

Narcissists are not bad people, we all have elements of narcissism in us. every single on of us. We’re only human. but there is usually some kind of balance. Empaths are people who have overactive empathy levels (such as feeling the emotions in a room and being deeply affected by them, and almost knowing what others are thinking) and narcissist have overactive egos (they are fuelled by greed and popularity and power and driven by their egos. e.g.. jealousy, bitterness, pride, spite, manipulation are often in play. It can be shocking what lengths they will go to to get revenge on anyone who they believed has wronged them, or damaged their reputation.) Some narcissists can, or could be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is important for anyone who has been diagnosed with this, to use it as an opportunity to understand themselves and the root of the issue, so that they can try to balance out their egos and live a happier life. I’m not a professional. I’m just a dreamer. maybe some people are naturally lacking in empathy and its not something you can gain. But that does not mean that you can’t learn to make life a little easier on yourself. Just as anyone can become become swept up in narcissistic personality traits [especially in todays society, like jesus how are any of us supposed to evolve our souls at this rate? I feel it growing on me like the bubonic plague, ((and to be honest I had to google that because I wasn’t quite sure what on earth that meant)) ] , I believe that empathy is a muscle than can be flexed. All you have to do is remind yourself to put yourselves in others shoes, if this is not something that comes naturally. In my case, I need to learn to put myself in my own shoes, and get out of everyone else’s because I’m here pretending to be Gandhi when my life is in absolute shit, yet I spend half my time crying over the sadness of other people, which leaves me with no energy to sort out my own shit. BALANCE. It’s all about balance. But who knows if thats achievable eh. Fuck balance. lets change the buzzword to LOVE. Love is the most powerful force on earth. We all want love, even if we’re not willing to give it to others, or give up control. Strange isn’t it. I’ll get back to that. because you can guarantee that everything I write comes down to love, happiness and goodness and how they all interact with one another. Not talking romantically either. That’d be gas coming from me, THE ETERNAL SPINSTER.

Personally I’ve made a lot of decisions that lead to my own sadness, because i thought they would make others happier. It’s always been first nature to me. Always stepping out of the way so other people could get what i thought they deserved more than me. I’ve never liked competing with others. Bit over the top really how I’ve let it affect every aspect of my life. which i won’t go into now, because this isn’t supposed to be my life-story. But if you can relate to my experiences for the love of God, we both need a shake and you should shoot me a message so you know you are not alone in the world.

Yes, ANYWAYS. Narcissists. Not bad people. Misunderstood people perhaps, sad people, people who have hurt and manipulated many people, often as a form of self-preservation due to the hurt they themselves have experienced. But there is hope. It’s possible to identify these traits and try to understand WHY they exist, and how to reverse the affects. You can be a narcissist and still be a good person. It’s not a dirty word. And the narcissist-empath dynamic does not always have to be a destructive one, once their is mutual understanding and self-awareness involved. In a highly developed communicative and honest relationship, they can actually be very good for each other and teach each other things. Like a yin tang dynamic. The empath can teach the narcissist to understand and accept themselves, and that there is more to gain from sharing. And the narcissist can teach the empath to loosen up a bit and be a little more self-serving. Both can grow together and bring out the best in each other. Of course this is in highly ideal circumstances, and unfortunately nine times out of ten this is not the case. The narcissist will usually walk away unaffected, and move on to form new bonds with people who have not yet seen through them or dented their egos, and the empath can very well fall apart or end up feeling extremely drained and utterly disappointed and heart-broken and fucked-over beyond repair, to put it quite bluntly. So be safe and be careful. And be aware. Being ever the idealist, it I was reading this article, I would automatically zoom in on the “helping each other grow” part, but you need to realise that this is the exception, not the rule. It takes a lot of bravery and honesty and effort on both parts.

That said, by the way, two empaths or two narcissists can be equally disastrous, because one either has to take the more dominant role, leaving the other drained, or both can lose their boundaries a bit and become motivated entirely by empathy or narcissism, and forgot what relationships are actually about. It can mean that you have your own little world, which can be very magical, but can start to move away from reality if there is nobody else there to give you perspective or snap you out of it. Basically any type of relationship can be messed up. And obviously this article has an extremely narrow focus and won’t relate to the vast majority of people. But hey, its my article (just realised i called my blog post an article, I fucking wish), and I can write what I want. And theres no guarantee that anyone will see this so I can literally write 50,000 words describing my personal experience with diarrhoea if I want to. Thankfully, I don’t.

I still believe that love is powerful enough to bring out the best in people, but only if that love is mutual, healthy and the people involved in the relationship (whether platonic, or romantic), are compatible. Lets not go into the ins and outs of compatibility, there is simply too much to go through.

 

Like you can be highly sensitive or empathetic and be a complete asshole and dipshit and you can be a narcissist and be an absolute joy to be around and the life and soul of every gathering. Its how you BEHAVE that makes the difference. Thankfully, that part we have control over. Nobody is doomed and nothing is set in stone. Also this is not about how other perceive you, or me trying to throw judgement on any individuals or groups or make anyone feel bad or ashamed or like anything is “wrong”. This is about knowing yourself and protecting yourself and others. Mine is obviously a bit biased towards being more empathetic, but because I’m empathetic it means I can also relate to narcissism. And because I live in todays world, where we are all a bit narcissistic. And I’m pretty sure its part of human nature (to a certain extent. Doesn’t mean we should run with it and use it to trample people on our way to the top DOES IT). Or be so busy feeling other’s feelings that you forget to feel your own and get too overwhelmed by the actual emotions themselves, to be able to do anything helpful or productive with them. And instead get caught in a cycle of having meltdowns and feeling helpless and crying about the world on a daily basis.

***I’m not a psychologist, or any kind of expert at all. sorry for sounding all fancy. i am a good-for-nothing’ , broke-ass 20-something who happens to have learned many difficult life lessons through being an absolute gobshite basically. so don’t take my word. do your own research. also i could be completely delusional about my own role in this, but the info is still important, ok?***

*** Also after a while of writing this I started to realise that describing people entirely by terms such as “the empath” and “the narcissist” do sound like forms of bigotry, but I promise it is not meant that way. It’s simply using these traits as characters to tell a story. I don’t wish to define anyone by these traits. There’s a lot more to individuals than this, OBVIOUSLY, and I hate to dwell on one or two negative aspects and act like these are complete character references or insurmountable obstacles**

 

To sum up this shit-show of an “article” that was very much riddled by attention-deficit ramblings, contradictions, and zero editing, whoever you are and however you feel, you are not alone and you deserve to be happy. Get to know yourself. Find out what’s important to you. Be around people who genuinely make you feel happy and who’s presence you feel comfortable in, not people you feel the need to help, or want to impress. Look out for you. Don’t let yourself be used, and try not to use others. And above all treat people with the same kindness, respect and love that you expect from them. Ever sat at home just wishing someone would write you a letter or do something nice? Why don’t you do something nice for someone instead. Random acts of kinds and thoughtfulness can really brighten someones day. And what you put out there comes back to you. Treat people like shit and well, don’t expect your relationships to be uncomplicated. Show love and understanding and care, and you just might get the same in return, though maybe from a place you did not expect.

 

LOVE YIZ ALL. Every last one of you. STARVE THE EGO, FEED THE SOUL. This is where true happiness comes from. I’m sending a giant warm basket of love to everyone reading this, and just everyone really. I don’t care who you are and how shit you think you are, you are a beautiful soul and you have great potential and you are absolutely fucking golden so just take some love and don’t make a big deal out of it ok?

 

❤ ❤ ❤

Advertisements

Every day is an opportunity for change

There’s a real heaviness in the air lately. A lot of things seem to be going wrong. Life is more unpredictable than ever. The Mercury retrograde is working it’s magic, whether you happen to believe in all that stuff or not.

 

Something huge I have learned is that you can always turn your misery into opportunity. Imagine you could relieve yourself of some of the things that haunt you and keep you up at night? That you could let go of some of the negativity and guilt in your life? Purge the toxicity and start afresh?

Now is the perfect time to try to heal negative relationships and repair damage. If there are things you feel guilty about, now is the time to reach out and try to make amends. It does not mean that you will be forgiven or that the other person will react well, or that you were even in the wrong. But it means that you are freeing yourself and others of negativity. This is what holds us back and makes us doubt ourselves. Be brave, and reach out. It might seem stupid or pointless, it might not go down as you had hoped, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. I’ve started to use my negative experience to understand others. And when I have been treated poorly, instead of holding resentment I try to remember those who I have treated poorly and take this opportunity to apologise.

You have nothing to lose. Maybe you will finally give someone the closure they need and have been waiting for. Or maybe they will be pleasantly surprised and you will realise that much of the guilt you have carried has been unwarranted. Either way, most people will not react badly to an apology. And better still, you will walk away feeling lighter.

It’s also a good time to make some decisions regarding your own happiness. What makes you happy and what no longer serves you?

Keep safe during this confusing and emotional time. You are not alone and there is always someone watching over you. You are loved and if you need guidance, you may only ask for it. Trust in yourself and the universe and believe that positive thoughts will manifest positive outcomes.

 

Lots of love ❤❤❤

A Perfect Illusion

Correct me if I’m wrong, but almost everyone seems to suffer from some form of anxiety or stress these days. In fact there seems to be an epidemic of mental illness and suffering.

Why is this? Yes there’s the usual stresses; economic stress, overworking, unemployment, personal or family tragedies. These are not new issues. But theres something different now. There have been a few extra things added to the mix. Social anxiety isn’t just affected by your personal interactions. It can also be dictated by your online interactions. The strive for perfection has been upgraded. The standards have become higher and more unrealistic.  It is a thousand times harder to disconnect and live in the moment. Everything you need is on your phone. Stop using your phone for a few days, and somebody will probably file a missing persons report. Deactivating your social media will be seen as a serious sign of distress, and often is. The masters is the new bachelors degree. Want to work a menial job? Hope you have three years experience and a completely irrelevant PHD.

Everyone looks so polished and perfect. Social status is a legitimate character reference. Want to work for us? You must have x amount of followers on Facebook. MADNESS. Your ability to influence people or carry out work effectively is judged by how active and popular you are on social media. Surely everyone knows that ones image on social media is entirely controlled and carefully constructed in an unrealistic way, simply to garner positive attention? Have you ever sat beside someone as they compose a Facebook status, wracked with anxiety and desperation?  Have you ever been on a night out in your local, and everywhere you look there are people taking millions of selfies in a desperate bid to look like they are having fun, instead of actually having fun?

Is anything sacred anymore? Wouldn’t it be nice to run into someone you hadn’t seen in a while and actually be surprised by their new haircut or job or pregnancy? Because the “obligatory” pictures or status hadn’t been posted to inform everyone of this news?

I may sound old and bitter, but I am in fact 24, which puts me bang in the middle of the current young adult generation, who are mainly responsible for all of this. And I was a part of it for a good while. Until I became more and more disheartened with what the world was turning into.

Is there such thing as empathy anymore? People don’t seem to reach out as much. You can have 700 friends on social media and yet feel incredibly alone. Most of what you will see is other people showing off their own lives. Where is the connectivity that we claim is such a vital part of social media? Mark Zuckerberg claims that every country has the right to connectivity, and he is right, but I sincerely doubt that his intentions were entirely humanitarian.

Snapchat started off as a fun way of communicating, but I’m sure we all have had those people in our feeds who like to document their entire day, mundanities and all, for the world to see, in the style of a pseudo celebrity. I’m not trying to offend individuals. I’m simply trying to open peoples eyes to the fact that technology and social media have completely taken over our lives.

How many times have you been at a concert only to look around and see everyones phones in the air, filming? They are not in the moment, watching the concert with their eyes. They are watching it through the lenses of their phones, making sure that everyone at home knows exactly how much fun they are having. These days, “the fear of missing out”, affectionately referred to as “FOMO”, can actually be considered a real source of stress and sadness. You are not seeing an honest view of others lives. It is like a “best bits” montage.

However, anyone who has a twitter, or indeed a Facebook will know that people will openly talk about their mental issues as long as they can do it in a way that is amusing and witty. Or allows them to put down others, while still appearing to be a victim.

I think its brilliant that people have more of an understanding or their own mental health, and are more honest about the issues they face, but I can’t help get this sinking feeling that this is being used and abused as an excuse for all kinds of negative behaviour. If you have a message to spread and wish to inspire or uplift others, using your own personal experience, go ahead, but this doesn’t seem to be the case a lot of the time. Many people seem to use their anxiety as a crutch, or to lash out at others or compose long-winded essays which portray them as a victim but condemn others. This can be the case with many social media “activists”. Surely attacking others and pointing the finger is not an effective way to get your point across? If you really do strive for understanding, you must have empathy and a well-rounded perspective, and be willing to understand both sides and attempt to bridge the gap, instead of further instigating the divide. But that’s just my opinion. The problem is that everyone has the public platform to say and do as they please. You don’t have to earn it. Online, we can all be Gandhi.

When your message becomes more about how others see you, and boosting your personal image, it is time to step away from the cause. Trust me. That may sound harsh, but those who crave attention the most, are often those who can’t handle the criticism that you will inevitably open yourself up to. This is why it is important to do these things with a real passion in your heart. The human ego is a fragile thing.

There are anonymous sites in which people you know can ask you questions. Some people naively think people will use the site to reveal their secret crush. And I’m sure they often do. But what about the risk of bullying? Why is it that those who seek public approval and validation the most, are the ones who are the most vulnerable to criticism? I am deeply worried for a lot of people, because of this. Why let others define you?? They don’t know the real you.

We can worry about people or wonder how they are, but how many of us actually take a chance and reach out? We let our own anxiety and fear of what others will think, get in the way of what is really important. Trust your gut and hold onto your integrity. You owe it to yourself.

I’m scared. Terrified. I don’t want to lose people I love to this crazy world we live in. Life is hard enough! All these beautiful, beautiful souls stuck in this invisible prison.

I hope that anyone who is reading this and feels affected, knows that this comes from a place of love and understanding. My aim is not to make anyone feel about bad themselves, but to realise that you are special, no matter how high you rank on the social ladder, or how insignificant you feel. It’s funny how easy it would be for me to make it appear as though my life is perfect. Meanwhile I sit at home, agonising over jobs, over not being skilled enough and feeling as though everything is going wrong. The more society progresses, the more we can feel left behind. It’s hard to keep up.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever kind of day you’re having, I hope you can take some time out of your day to be in the moment, to go for a nice walk and look around you. Or to spend time with a loved one. We often think we don’t have time to do this. But the secret is, we can make the time, and it will make all the difference to your day. Sometimes we need to just take a step back and breathe and re-evaluate our purpose. And I’m not talking this big life purpose. Just being. I often suffer from dissociation and existential crisis and I find reconnecting to the universe is the best way to lift me out of this.

I’m sending you all love. As terribly cliche and cheesy as this sounds, the more you learn to love yourself, the less you will care what others think. I used to roll my eyes at affirmations and when people told me to look inward or spend time with nature, but it worked for me. Stop fighting for affection and love and acceptance, and find it within yourself. You deserve it and you are worthy.

Tis the Season to be Jolly……..

It’s that festive time of year again. The time of year that fills people like me with dread. Many people will frown upon my disdain of these kind of occasions or think that I am mean-spirited or a “Grinch”, but that’s not really the case.  I love giving gifts and catching up with people. But sometimes Christmas and the New Year can be very difficult. These are times when you are expected to feel joyous and content. It can seem unnatural. When you don’t feel that way it almost makes your sadness magnified because it is in stark contrast to how you are expected to feel and behave. Maybe I am just a difficult person. I don’t like organised fun or anything that feels contrived or forced. I don’t enjoy the expectation that comes with it or anything that feels like a pretence. Perhaps because of that old façade of perfection and “What will the neighbours think?” mentality that I have always hated. It was such a strong theme growing up in a small town. That said, anything showy or overly coordinated makes me uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy songs that come with dance routines or any kind of forced group interactions such as icebreakers. I’m more of a freestyle kind of person.

Christmas and New Years in particular can often bother me because of the massive unrealistic expectations that are built up over such a long period of time. The “Christmas Spirit” is not always something that you are going to feel. People are often disappointed when they don’t “get into the spirit”. Christmas in particular is very commercial and over the top. While I love giving gifts and the food and the lights and the atmosphere, in reality, being stuck at home with your family can be very boring and can be a time when lots of arguments arise. It’s not always ideal. And growing up I wasn’t spoiled by any means, so I guess I never expected as much as other kids. To many people their “happiness” is a direct result of the gifts they receive. You will see posts on social media of people flaunting their new expensive gifts. Usually an expensive brand and whatever is the current trend. What is more important to me is the meaning behind things. And the atmosphere. All I would really like is to have a peaceful time, which often does not happen. I find it funny sometimes how a lot of people will only admit the reality of how boring their Christmas was when you tell them about yours. Everything is for show. What about the real meaning of Christmas? Of celebrating life and love and giving and sacrifice? I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual. To have such an extended celebratory holiday that is all about materialism and consumerism seems a bit daft to me. All the glitter and parties and run ins with people from the past who will ask you “So, what are you doing with your life these days”, though really they have no interest.

Why cant we show love and be thoughtful towards people all year round? I feel that there’s a reason that Christmas is more magical for children.

Everything is more magical for children. Children know how to use their imagination and spirits to make things wonderful. We have become accustomed to relying on physical and material things. There is pressure to project an image of happiness that sometimes we just don’t feel. And that is ok. Those of us who don’t come from particularly close families know the struggle of the harsh reality that sometimes Christmas is the shittiest day of the year. And that’s perfectly fine. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling irritated. Frankly one day is enough. Things don’t have to be perfect. I guess I found Christmas particularly underwhelming this year because I have gone through a lot of change. I have distanced myself from a lot of people in my life and taken time to focus on myself. I’ve had some painful realisations and losses, as I’m sure we all have. And I did feel that one or two special people were missing from my life. Occasions like Christmas, New Years and Valentines Day can be hard when you feel like your life is lacking love. I wish that people took more time to reach out to each other and show some love. Platonic or otherwise. Kind gestures are important. You have to show people that you care. I feel that these days, with the avid use of social media, people have become more self-absorbed. Social media is no longer used to contact people or stay in touch. It is used as a form of self-promotion and exhibitionism. You don’t see the same level of connection and support these days, I feel. It feels like so many only log on to show off their own lives, rather than to connect with others. I feel that if I reconnected with social media, it would not make much difference it my life. The constant reminder that everyone is just a message away and yet nobody reached out would only cause more loneliness I feel. Solidarity is a beautiful thing to see, and I’m not saying that I do not see beautiful moments of this. I just wish there was more and that I felt more genuine love and empathy from people, and not just when it serves their public image. There is something awfully lonely about today’s world.

I’d really just like to take this moment to send out love to those who are feeling down and disheartened. Just know that there is someone watching over you, and that the universe has your back, even when you feel most alone. It’s ok to be sensitive and to feel things deeply. It doesn’t make you a moody person. You can use this sensitivity is a wonderful way if you put your mind to it. I always find that no matter how alone I feel or how much of an alien I think I am, once I speak up about an issue there are always people who feel the same way, however strange it seems.

The New Year can force you to look back on your life and the past year. And for a lot of us, that is painful. But you must remember that the most painful times offer the most growth and change. Your day is coming and your are getting closer with each disappointment, provided yo take the time to learn from them and reflect. Sometimes we have to learn very hard lessons. We have to let go of people who do not facilitate our growth. We have to say goodbye to things that we wanted, but that were not meant for us.

A lot can happen in a year. We might think we are not where we were meant to be and that everything has gone wrong. But you have to realise that it was important to go through all those things. Every hardship contains a valuable lesson and contributes to our wisdom. You may feel that others are passing you out in life, but maybe they have not learned the lessons that you have learned. Until you learn these lessons, you will continue to fall, and nothing is sustainable. When you have experiences heartbreak and pain you become more selective about who, and what, you allow in your life. And this process is painful and difficult but I believe it is the path to the true self and to true happiness.

If you are dreading the New Year or its bringing up a lot of emotions, you are not the only one. And life is a continuous journey of change. There is no time limit or right time to start. You have the power to make changes to your life at any time and you don’t have to hold yourself to any unrealistic standards. My goals for the next year, and every year, every day are simply to be true to myself, to be kind to others and to continue to grow and learn in whatever way I can. I want to start strengthening my mind with daily affirmations, to keep dreaming and envisioning goals until I have the confidence to believe in them and manifest them, and to hold on to the new positive habits I have developed through the hardships I experienced. My biggest lesson I have learned is to stop people pleasing and carrying the emotions of others. Surprisingly it has made me calmer and nicer. I feel less angry at the world when I pursue my own ideals, regardless of what the crowd does or what is expected of me. And it may cause conflict and alienate me at times but it is what truly makes me happy. What makes you happy? Who makes you happy? Try to keep that in mind.

If you are reading this and identifying with this, then do not worry because it means that you are going through a similar phase of growth. No is not the time to doubt yourself or give up. Now is a time for connecting with yourself and others like you and sending some love out into the world. We all have a special purpose here on earth and figuring out what it is and following that path is what will make you truly happy. Fuck expectations.! Fuck judgments! Fuck behaving in a socially acceptable manner! Fuck this live/work/die thing/ How about live/love/learn/give.

Stay Golden ❤ ❤

 

The difference between solitude and isolation: Loneliness vs inner growth

I am a person who needs a lot of time to myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being around people, I really do. But I am naturally introverted and find being around large groups of people (or even just one person sometimes) for too long, a bit draining. I pour a lot of energy into people when I am around them and am very sensitive to the atmosphere in a room and the group dynamics. I find it exhausting sometimes. So after spending too long running around trying to please everyone, I can reach a stage of feeling burned out. Mainly because I seem to do things in extremes. So every now and then I need to retreat and recharge my batteries and gather my own thoughts. I become far too easily distracted, so unfortunately the only way to really focus on myself sometimes, is to remove myself for a little while.

The problem was, the whole being alone thing never really worked well for me. Because I actively disliked myself. I didn’t use the time to be productive or to do what I wanted or needed to do. Instead I let myself feel guilty and worthless for not being around for other people, or not making enough progress, and all that time was wasted torturing myself with negative thoughts and my own self-hatred. So instead of giving myself some head-space and achieving some balance in my life, this would lead to me overthinking and fueling my paranoia. The only results it ever produced were to send me further over the edge.

This time wasn’t any different, in the beginning. However, something changed. For the first time I feel like I am taking something away from my inner reflection. I now understand the difference between isolation and solitude. The difference between being alone and feeling alone. What started out as me isolating myself, due to feelings of inadequacy, has surprisingly lead to me discovering a whole new sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

No longer do I crave the understanding and support of others. No longer do I base my self- worth on how ‘useful’ I can be to others.

At first I was hiding, shutting out negative experiences, settings and emotions I did not want to deal with. I was so worried about what people thought of me and of drawing any attention to myself.

I’m not sure how exactly it happened, but somehow I have learned to be entirely content in my own company. To the point where I do not feel lonely. In fact, sometimes I have to give myself a little push to go interact with people, and not because of anxiety, but because I am learning to enjoy my time my myself. To really use it. I do not need to escape from myself quite so much.

I’m appreciating the time I have to myself. Instead of using it to mindlessly scroll through different forms of social media (although I do still manage to find way too much time to do that, despite me deactivating the majority of my accounts), I am spending time making things, gathering old photos, taking new ones, going on nature walks, reading and studying up on the things that are important to me. I had gotten to a stage where so many aspects of modern society did not appeal to me. Much of it I found practically unbearable. I get sick of small talk, and gossip and listening to people talk about things that don’t have meaning to me. The only way to tackle this and make life more bearable was to stop complaining and allowing myself to get angry and frustrated and feel lonely. And instead focus on the things that add meaning to my life and keep me sane. I got sick of being resentful and bitter. Positivity is an important thing. I would never want to spread negativity towards others just because they don’t view the world the way I do. That is not the kind of person I want to be. I have a terrible temper and can carry a lot of quiet built up rage that can be very destructive to the unfortunate person, or people who happen to be around when I reach boiling point. The only thing I can really do is work on myself. There is no point in always trying to be there for everyone if it leads to you neglecting your own needs and feeling resentful, thus sending out negativity. That is helpful to nobody, least of all yourself.

Instead of berating myself for feeling different, or allowing my differences to make me feel lonely, I have learned to accept them. That’s the key thing here. Realising that it’s OK to just be you. You’re not hurting anyone by being yourself. People may not always agree with you, or your way of life, but it’s YOUR life, and it’s not up to them to decide, or to take offense.

Sometimes I find my idealism embarrassing. I find my writing embarrassing. It’s a vulnerability. But it’s one of the ways that I express myself. It’s what makes me me. And I don’t need everyone to approve of me or like me. Because I am starting to like myself. And that changed everything. I don’t need to seek that elsewhere. I don’t feel the need to overcompensate for my lack of self esteem. My insecurities still exist and bog me down, I’m just learning to deal with them without implicating others in my self-destruction.

It’s no longer about who I am, or what I look like. It’s about how I feel and what I think about and what I see in the world. I may not think I’m all that special, But the universe is so full of magic, that I would be foolish not to take the time to explore it. I owe it to the world and it’s beauty, to step back and admire it and appreciate it. I am thankful to be a part of something so beautiful, and I intend on soaking up as much of it as possible while I can.

Instead of constantly dwelling on the things that I don’t like and the things that hurt me, I’m realising how important it is to be grateful and to pay attention to the things and people who have made my world so wonderful. If you have ever just stopped and looked at the sun shining through the trees or the birds flying through the sky or felt a warm glow from the friendly smile of a stranger walking by, then you will understand the little miracles I am speaking of. They are always there. We just need to take the time to notice them. To really see, hear and feel the world around us. Being alone with the world does not have to mean feeling alone. Sometimes the moments that we cannot capture, or explain, or share with others are the most important. There is something precious and sacred about allowing yourself to be silent and still and marvel at the world around you. It is empowering somehow. We are all a part of the universe and the universe is a part of all of us. We are made of the very same atoms. It’s important to understand the connection we have with the world and one another. But first we must connect with ourselves.

We love and support you

So as you may be aware, in the summer of 2015 I had one of my giant meltdowns and spent two months in a psychiatric hospital. While there I met many people who I formed bonds with. Some of us have managed to stay in touch. I’m so thankful for the people I met there. I’ve seen so many heartbreaking and inspirational stories up close and it has made me a better and stronger person. A person who wants to fight for the happiness of those wonderful people, who made me laugh and smile during a time when I didn’t think that would be possible.

Seeing someone hit rock-bottom and then fight their way back up is truly awe-inspiring. A few months after I had left the hospital, I was out in town and I ran into a girl who I remembered from a support group. At the time she had not left her house in months due to crippling anxiety. To see her out and about was a truly victorious moment, though it might not seem like much to most people.

These seemingly small victories have been marked in my memory and give me endless inspiration. Because truly, they are not small, they are mighty and they are the stepping stones for greater achievements that will only continue to blossom.

Many of us couldn’t even imagine that we would ever get through those dark times. I have lost contact with a lot of those people but wherever they are, I hope that they are doing better and that they know they have love, support and admiration.

One of my friends  Erin, who was also in Pats with me continues to make me immensely proud. She decided to use that wonderful humour she kept us all entertained with, to start up a comedy society with an emphasis on removing the stigma from mental health. The money raised for the comedy gigs is donated to suicide prevention and mental-health charities across Ireland. I cannot even express the pride this makes me feel. And this is only the beginning.

There are so many people I could mention, that I would not even know where to start or end, and hopefully I can pay them all tribute in some way at some stage. But the main person I would like to mention at this time is a wonderful person called Mason.

In a sense we got to witness the birth of Mason, because during this time, he came out as trans. And thus, the name Mason was born. Seeing the happiness on Masons face every time someone called him by his chosen name was amazing. He started to shop in the men’s sections, got a haircut, new clothes and the smile on his face grew wider and wider.

But sadly for trans people, despite the huge relief of coming out after a life-time of suffering, the struggle doesn’t end there. The process of transitioning can be extremely challenging and slow, due to the health systems in place. Seeing someone blossom and become happier in themselves, only to see that hope slowly fade away is a sad and disheartening thing to see. That is not something I could bare to see happen, after so much progress has been made.

Trans people are some of the most vulnerable and at risk people on the planet. When you feel like you are living in the wrong body every day and every aspect of life is a struggle. Mason is still waiting to get hormones before any surgeries can be possible. Mason has been incredibly brave and positive during this time and has made so many changes to his life, each change bringing him more hope and happiness. I think it’s really important to commend the bravery and strength of trans people. There is not a lot of trans visibility in this country, but that’s not to say that there’s not a lot of trans people who are privately struggling.

So many people want all these material gifts for Christmas but for some people, all they want is happiness and to feel comfortable in their own skin. Obviously not just for Christmas, for life. But I do feel now is a good a time as any to send some love and support to Mason, and to other trans people in Ireland, and across the globe. So please if you guys could help me spread some love and positivity that would be much appreciated.

Hope is a wonderful thing, that is hard to hold onto. There is no such thing as too much love or support, so let’s spread it around and infect the universe.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love

❤❤❤❤

Obsession and Addiction…

We’ve tricked our minds into believing

Love and happiness

are fiction

And filled the empty spaces

With obsession and addiction

*above is a small extract from some of the new poetry I’ve been writing. I usually keep this on a separate page  (beautifulnightmaresimpossibledreams.wordpress.com) but there’s no harm in mixing things up a bit.

picture also by me. VERY ROUGH version of what I’m trying to achieve. Hopefully when I get actual photoshop and learn how to do things properly when I start my course is January, I can make better cleaner edits. Cannot wait to see the progress. And with every step I take and fear I face towards a better future, I know that I am not alone. And I would love to hear other people’s stories and see their journeys. Other people are the biggest source of inspiration and encouragement you will find and it’s what truly gives me faith. I’m only at the start of my journey and still have no idea what I’m doing. WINGING IT. So any suggestions/feedback/discourse would be greatly appreciated. ⭐⭐⭐

 

Recovery

For the first time

I’m starting to believe

In the possibility

Of recovery

 

It never comes easily

But there’s only so much

You can bleed

 

I had to make a choice

Between life or death

Happiness or misery

And I know

It will be worth it

There’s something out there

Waiting for me

 

Don’t try to drag me down

Just because

You’re used to seeing me on the ground

I picked myself back up

I’m standing tall

And I’m going to stick around

 

My destiny awaits

And for once, I’m not afraid

I’ve made my choices

And the rest is up to fate

 

I’ve spent my life

Fighting just to live

I’m ready to forget

And forgive

And though the memories may last

The girl I was is in the past

 

I’m taking responsibility

Now that I can see the wood for the trees

 

It’s all a matter of perspective

Realising what’s subjective

I took my time to be reflective

And recovery is my objective

Fighting old habits to make way for the future

The other day, while trawling mindlessly through the internet, I managed to stumble across a beautiful quote that has stuck in my mind. It was one of those meaningful quotes on a scenic backdrop, the ones that sometimes make you cringe, but other times make you feel something that you can relate to. The quote said “I am a raging sea trapped inside of a raindrop” and of course was pasted over a dreary picture featuring raindrops. I don’t know who wrote it, or where it came from, and the internet offered me no answers, but it really resonated with me. Its strange how one picture, song, movie or quote can make you feel so much and feel that you are somehow connected to the world again, and that you are not alone. As with everything, there are a million different interpretations you can take from it but it spoke to me on a deep level and really hit home, in terms of emotional expression.

We all experience emotions even though sometimes it seems as if you cannot feel at all. Personally, I often struggle with the ability to identify and express emotions. It can make me feel like I am feeling nothing at all. Almost like I am not connected to my own body, as if I don’t belong here. It’s a sense of depersonalisation. Feeling disconnected, dissociated and desensitised to your own being and the world around you. It can be frightening at times. It can make you feel less than human, robotic almost. As though you have been switched off and are operating on auto-pilot. For a long time I thought this would always be my reality. I don’t know when it started, and how, or if it ever really ends. I just know, that despite how terrified I am of strong emotions, when I experience one, it makes me feel alive, and I live for those moments. Perhaps its a defence mechanism or a result or the lives we live. I don’t know all the answers. If I did, I’m sure I would be off being an expert somewhere, and doing something useful with my life.

Sometimes we shut down our own feelings before we can have a chance to feel them, without even realising it. Maybe it is our minds way of protecting us. It can be such a difficult thing, to realise that your own emotions are valid and that it’s ok to feel them. For someone who has a lot of feelings and opinions about the world, and someone who likes to believe that I have a good understanding of people, I can quite be quite detached and distant at times. I feel shame about my own emotions a lot of the time. I enjoy being able to use them to try to understand others, but I will always feel a sense of guilt about expressing my feelings for my own benefit. I think a lot of people probably feel this way, at least to some extent.

I can be hard on others and often not very tolerant of their emotions. I get angry at people for having such strong emotions sometimes but this is most likely because I do not know how to express my own. I often don’t realise that I am repressing my emotions, I just think that they are not there. In this sense, I am much like a dormant volcano. Quiet and calm but every now and then I will erupt when you least expect it, and when I do I will destroy everything in my wake, without seeing it coming or knowing why.

This might sound very warped to some people, but I hate the idea of being selfish with my emotions. I’m so afraid that  if I place importance on my emotions that I will dismiss someone else’s. This is not to say that I’m not selfish with my emotions, of course I am. I think the strangest part, is that when you become so accustomed to being a certain way, you just don’t know anything else, it is so hard to change. It’s hard to be the person who asks for help, or cries, or expresses anger towards another person. Feelings are replaced with logic and rational thinking. Its like seeing things from an objective point of view. It’s good sometimes to step back so that you can have perspective and see things clearly. It however, it not good to completely remove yourself and your own feelings from things which affect your life. Nobody has to be more or less than what they are, and I’m trying to figure that out along the way, instead of expecting everyone else to adopt my warped way of thinking. I’m trying to find a balance between thinking and feeling. I’m trying to realise that I because I am hard on myself, I am also hard on others and sometimes expect too much from people. That you can’t tell people not to feel or ever truly connect to someone without letting them see your own vulnerability.

I have spent so much of my life being avoidant and living in denial. I find it hard to be close to people emotionally, or physically, and could never stand the idea of being dependent or reliant on anyone. Writing about all this is one thing, letting someone into my life is another thing entirely. I imagine being my friend is very difficult at times, like talking to a story (I don’t know what that means either, I couldn’t find a word ok) instead of a person. I will tell you all my thoughts and views about things, even the ones you don’t want to hear, I will tell you whats going on in my life, but I will rarely tell you how I feel about it if it affects me personally. I’m a hell of a lot better than I was a few years ago, when I’m fairly certain I was vacant from my body and mind and living in another planet entirely. In fact, I’m getting better at it every year, I’m almost where I need to be. Every small step feels like a giant leap towards a better future and a life that I don’t mind living. A life that I look forward to living. Every year, I find myself doing and saying things that I never would have imagined doing before. Being allowed to step out of my comfort zone has been challenging but the most rewarding experience. There’s still some way to go but every step away from my comfort zone is another dream lived, and I want to keep stepping forward.

I don’t think that everyone should be an open book or wear their hearts on their sleeves but I have a deep admiration for the ones that do. People  may think that they are weak for being that way, but those people are the bravest of all. Feeling exposed and vulnerable is a scary thing, but it gives me so much hope to see people express themselves and show you a bit of their soul. I’ve been so lucky to have met such wonderful, brave, loving people throughout my life, who have shown me that people can make the world a better place ,and that I won’t always have to daydream about living on another planet, but that I can take that magic with me wherever I go.

The happiness and hope that I get from other people is what makes me want to keep trying to be a better person and keep striving to achieve my dreams. Instead of just dreaming about things, I am starting to ask for them and I can’t believe the difference it has made. Because if you never ask, you will never know. I wish that I could give people even a fraction of the joy they have given me by being there, by simply existing and expressing themselves, their beauty, their creativity, their kindness and courage. So here’s a big shoutout to old friends, and new friends ,and strangers alike. For continuing to inspire me by being yourself and not being afraid to share parts of you with the world.