Before you raise your eyebrows, hear me out.
I cannot take full credit for the recovery I’ve had thus far. I have God, friends, a therapist, my parents etc. who have helped me along. However, there are journeys you have to walk alone.
The first few years of life significantly shape your life. Sigmund Freud on his theory of psychoanalysis talks extensively about this, but there are some places he appeared to have missed the point entirely. He was convinced that everyone, like him, fights with feelings of attraction for their parents. In his case, he was sexually attracted to his mother. He had plenty of demons, including battling illnesses, brought about mental health.
It is the likes of Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung, Freud’s students, and Eric Ericson who took the theory a step further. Eric broke it down to the stages of life; it is more of the experiences we refer to now, including the phases of finding one’s identity and self-actualization. There are other theories that I am yet to read that counseling psychologists use, but I found this one in particular helpful.
My mom worked for the first six+ months of my life. That meant house helps, and if the horrors we’ve heard are to go by, my dad once rushed me to the hospital suffering from dehydration. I was a fantastic sleeper, and somewhere along the way, I learned to suck my finger to soothe myself. In those early months and years, I learned to be my support system. Imagine waking up, crying for attention for hours, and yet no one comes. I seem to have resulted to silence. Cry, if no one comes, suck my finger and move on.
This is the story of many people who didn’t have the best of caretakers when their parents were out hustling. I think it was soon after the incident with me that my mother opted to quit her job and stay at home for a while. My elder brother had my mother’s sisters present, so he was alright. My younger brother had a stay-home mother; she quit her job a few months before he was born.
I learned to figure my things out, and while that worked as a child to save me tears, it is not the best approach now. There are pros and cons to it though. In the past year, I have learned to ask for help. Before I would act out and hope someone would take notice and do something. Now I know to speak and ask for what I need. Asking my dad to find me a therapist for me was a milestone.
No one around me extensively understands depression and suicide; just one person and because they have their fight to fight, I cannot burden them. Others have a general idea, but nothing about a deep hole, a cloud and the loss of hope. If you are in a similar situation, I am sure you are very aware of how lonely that makes you feel. I’ve had to rely on those self-soothing methods I learned as a kid, only they haven’t always been healthy- sucking my finger earned me braces 10 years in.
If you are in this dark space, you might not want to hear this, but you are your best friend and hope of getting through. You have to give yourself what you need actively. How easy is that? It is not; it is still something I struggle with. Taking myself for a pedicure two days ago was an internal struggle. Am I wasting money? Should your broke self not be saving? Finally, I realized that I was in a low space; staying in my room would have made me feel worse. However, pretty feet would cheer me up. What is better?
You too have to give yourself what you need. Buy that candle, go by street food, stay in bed all day watching comedy. Do small actions that lift your mood. Your family, friends, partner and pretty much everyone will not be there for you round the clock. Learn to be there for yourself when they are not present.
You are a better ally to yourself than the voices are telling you.
We are wired for love; send some your way beloved.