Oct. 1. 2014
As the 47 bus edges forward in traffic, I’m texting my childhood best friend. She is checking in with me since we haven’t talked in a while. There is a reason for that.
She’s asking me if I feel better; I tell her no. She asked if there was a trigger; I tell her no, depression doesn’t have any triggers. I apologized for being so snippy; I’ve been going through a hard time.
I find she can’t really relate to what I’m going through and what I’ve been through. Only someone with depression knows that it physically hurts. Only someone who has made suicide attempts can relate to the pain. Only someone who has gotten sober and withdrawn knows how hard it is. Only someone who has been sexually assaulted knows the shame and fear that follows. Unless you have been in similar situations, you could never relate. I know it’s alienating and mean, but it’s true. As a result, I feel a lot of tension between us.
Then it hit me. Why do I feel the need to defend my feelings? They’re mine and no one else’s, so why am I so afraid to own them? Why do I never feel like my feelings are good enough? I have the urge to exaggerate in order to feel valid. Only if the feelings are “this” certain amount of bad they are acceptable. Only if I feel “this” measurement of pain am I allowed to claim pain.
Who decides these rules? Why do I have to accept the way society defines pain, happiness, anger, and sadness? Why do I feel my feelings are only valid when they reach or surpass expectations? Why do I give people that power?
I realize, these are my feelings; I should be the one deciding how I feel. I shouldn’t need someone to tell me what I’m experiencing. Personal experience is a personal thing!
I can see how I got sucked into this because I didn’t use to like feelings. I looked at them and decided they weren’t for me and I was better off without them. Obviously that wasn’t going to last and when the feelings started to pour in I grabbed onto everything I was told by Hollywood and The Press. Those standards became my guide when I needed to reference a feeling.
Turns out those definitions aren’t accurate either. But I still have a very hard time owning my feelings and allowing myself to feel valid.
I guess this marks the start of a journey to figure out what my feelings look like and accept them as they are and know they are good enough.