|Photo courtesy of Elle Italia April 2010|
I am almost 200% certain that I am far from being alone when I share that sometimes I find myself offering advice or words of wisdom that as soon as they leap from my tongue to the other person’ s
ear my thought is “And you should do that too honey bunny.” I am way confident hat we have all had those moments where we realize that we too are living lives less than we know we were meant to live. We too are staying at e job we loathe because we don’t loathe the bills that it pays. We stay in the relationship because Lord knows apparently no one dates and gets married after 32, so stick we who you got an hope they propose. We hate hate HATE conflict so we avoid housemates and give ourselves stomach ulcers instead. I bet you’re nodding as you read this. Thank you for confirming what I knew… I am not alone.
My most recent life lesson was one that I was taught before. While I thought my transcript read 3.9 for the lesson, I am thinking it was more like a 2.39. The lesson- You can’t want something for someone more than they want it for themselves.
|Photo courtesy of Vogue Daily|
Here’s the deal, I come from a family that has a mean history of mental health challenges, including anxiety, PTSD, and depression- I’m gonna to take some time to specifically talk about the depression. I come from a family where some of the depressed members don’t believe in depression, counseling, or medication. I come from a family where some of the depressed folks have checked themselves into hospitals for suicidal ideation, some have been so manic their significant others have asked them to leave the home and stay away from their child until they pulled it together, and more recently a depressed sibling who loathes their birthday and the thought of me wanting to celebrate it has sent them into avoiding and not speaking to me, and an increase in other depression symptoms such as binge eating and sleeping 12-14 hours ad day, or working and heading straight to bed. I think the reality is, he hates himself because he hates the family that he’s come from (when i say growing up King wasn’t easy, don’t underestimate what I mean when I say “wasn’t easy”) and has a lot of things to come to terms with. My sibling has been treated in the past and although I have urged them to go back to treatment, they haven’t.
I wanted their wellness more than they have and do. In fact I would say for every family member whose depression or other mental illness I am aware of, I have wanted their treatment and wellness more than they have. I have wanted them to feel empowered to take back their joy and hope more than they have. I have done so many things to prove that life is worth LIVE-ing abundantly. Nothing has worked. And so, I had to be honest with myself. Then I had to stop myself.
|Photo courtesy of Inez&Vinoodh for Valentino, featured in Vogue|
I had to step back and focus on wanting wellness for myself and what that was going to look like since I couldn’t just pluck off depressed family members. I had to sit back and figure out what was going to work for me and for various depressed family members it’ meant different things. For some it truly has meant birthday and holiday cards and calls only. No visits. It’s too toxic. For others it’s meant that and phone calls here and there, an occasional outing to lunch or dinner usually depending on the holiday. For some it has meant the occasional random card or email of encouragement and being at peace at not hearing back whether they received it or not.
The other part of me wanting wellness for myself despite the unwellness of those around me was not allowing their depression to be an excuse for treating me any old kind of way. At a minimum their needed to be respect. With my sibling I have communicated that while they may accept their behavior as normal there are things as it pertains to the space we share that need to be clearly communicated. Furthermore if they were not going to communicate those things then I shared what I was going to do. I wasn’t going to compromise the healthy type of living environment I wanted to cultivate for myself for someone who doesn’t seem to know how to or desire to do that for themselves. Furthermore confusion is a keeper of depression. I wasn’t going to make room for confusion either.
|Photo courtesy of Sharid Hamza for Dazed and Confused|
I don’t think this lesson is over, but I think my GPA is at least a 3.0. If I am honest, it’s hard to not want wonderful for people you care about. And I’m not talking about my version of wonderful, I mean a version of wonderful they envision. But, I can’t have vision for people any more than I can want something for them more than they want it for themselves.
This is by far one of my least favorite lessons, but it is one I am committed to LIVE-ing. I am committed to honoring and respecting people who don’t want to change, who don’t want to acknowledge they are sick and can access help. That was hard to even write but it’s true. I am also committed to honoring my own need to be healthy and not allow the unhealthy I have been exposed to in my family to be one that I accept as normal and recreate in my friendships and relationships.
I don’t know what you are learning, but this week whatever it is I hope you LIVE it. If it’s learning not everyone wants to talk through a disagreement, learn that and give space. If it’s learning not everyone is a planner, then fall back and stop micromanaging. If it’s you need to adjust your work schedule because you need more time to ease into your day in the morning, talk to your supervisor and see what the two of you can make happen (you have not because you ask not). Learn it, and LIVE it. Oh, and you know…you can always share what you’re learning and LIVE-ing in the comments or sending me an email.