For a large portion of my life, I have felt that I have not had a very strong support system. Growing up, I was not taught how to talk about my feelings, I was encouraged to shut them down. It was not until I was living in “the real world” that I noticed the way I expressed myself was not normal, but it was the only way I knew. I did not have the kind of parents you could talk to about anything and everything.
I first experienced death when I just turned 10 years old and I did not know how to deal with such a thing. I was not talked through loss. I was given the news and then left to my own devices. I even remember some cruel kids mocking how this person died. I was lost at that point and from here is where I started building up my wall. Being mocked for having feelings did not feel good and so I thought it best to keep them to myself.
After this time I chose not to speak to anyone about anything. I slowly became closed into my own mind and nobody was allowed in. From what I remember, my childhood lacked the warmth and comfort that I saw from other families. Being part of four siblings, I often ended up not being heard. I was the weakest of the voices, including those of my parents. I believe this is what further made me subconsciously close myself off to others. Whenever I tried to talk about how I really felt, I would get a negative response or be mocked and so the wall was built from an early age.
As I experienced opening up and discussing my feelings, I simply did not. When it came to actually doing so, I did not know how. I simply felt awkward or stupid and so I chose silence. The counter part to this was that I screamed or cried, trying to push my thoughts out into the open. To others around me, this was not normal, but at the time I was not aware. I thought it was standard behaviour. It is what I was taught.
Fast forward quite a lot of years: It was not until I was in my late twenties that I began learning to talk about what is on my mind and how I felt in an open and understandable way. I realised the ‘be silent until you explode’ method was unhealthy and not only hurt me, but others around me. I wanted to learn how to function the way “normal people” did. And so, I slowly began to open up.
I found that being honest towards other people helped them understand me and also I started to feel human. I started to learn it was okay to feel the way I felt, but if I did not talk about it constructively to those around me, it would only cause hurt and confusion.
Support systems: I have had a lot of people in my life try and be there for me, but I pushed them all away. I never wanted to rely on others. I thought, even in my more open state, that it was a mistake to fully trust anybody. I had been burned so much in the past, that I did not want to feel like a fool. With that mindset, I decided to leave the wall, but install a door so the outsiders could have a little and I would appear open.
It was not until last night, in fact,that I truly opened up about my concerns. I spoke to my wonderful support system about the issue that plagues my thoughts and keeps me awake at night. They did not interrupt, they did not offer input, they simply listened, held my hand and allowed me to find the words in my own time. They are the first person I have ever shared these fears with and being able to share it with another made me feel different. I realised I was not alone and I did not need to be. Before last night, I was still closed off. I still feared sharing my feelings because I never knew what the outcome would be, but it was a relief that I finally shared my burden.
Having a support system never seemed important to me for the longest time. I merely believed that you can only trust yourself, but it is not healthy and I realise that now. Having someone there for me to listen and offer comfort means more than I ever thought possible.
It took me an extremely long time to realise that being open was healing. I was that closed off that I did not even tell my closest friends that I got married, to avoid possible judgement and with that I lost them. I have lost a lot of friends because people can only go so far before they see that they are better off without me and this I do not blame them for. I should have trusted them, but my guard would not let me. I suspected them all.
Now, at the point of writing this, I feel different. I have pangs of regret. Maybe if I allowed the people around me to support me like they tried, then how different my life might be. I might even have friends. I will never wish away what I have now though and I will just have to chalk the past up as a learning curve.
I am irrevocably grateful for those I have in my life and I will continue to do everything I can to make them feel as supported as they make me. Without them, one person in particular, hand on my heart I would probably not be here today. They saved my life and I feel very guilty for pushing them away when all they have done is support and be there. They truly care and this is something I have not felt in a genuine way before. If you are reading this, thank you and I am sorry. I do not how many times I have had to say sorry and for that I am also sorry! I want to make you feel like sticking by me was worth it and I will do better.
Having a support system is a huge deal and it is literally the reason I am here today, writing this. I know that some of you may not feel like you have support in your life and I understand that feeling, I felt it for most of my life. Please trust me when I say that there are people out there who care and they want to help, listen and simply be there for you. You just have to slowly bring down that wall and let them in. Your life will change in ways you never knew if you learn to do so. Do not be afraid, there are good people out there.
I started by cutting out all of the things in my life that brought negativity. It may cause hurt at first, but once you start letting in more positivity, the less it will hurt, until the pain slowly becomes a distant memory.
To those reading this, thank you for allowing me to be open and for always being supportive and understanding.
If you truly feel that you have nobody, know that myself and I know a lot of people in this community are happy and willing to be there for you. Be brave, speak up. You are not alone.
Until next time, I’ve got your back