Alright, I’ll start this one off with a disclaimer: you may think I’m a monster here, but I took advantage of the pandemic’s self-isolation rules to benefit myself, while others are doing it for the sake of their loved ones. Now, I realize that we all need to be together more than ever in the world’s current state, but I was an opportunist to the situation for my sanity.
A lot has happened to me in my life and at a young age too, but last year was the most challenging year to date. It seemed like anything that could go wrong went wrong. Dramatically, catastrophically, and all those big fancy words to tell you that my entire world felt like it was on tilt. It was even more challenging because it wasn’t just happening to me but to my husband as well. The whole year was filled with anxiety, decision fatigue, depression, and anger for both of us. A lot of anger, but fortunately not always directed at each other.
I feel like without giving an overview and highlighting the main events of what we went through in the year, this post would lack the underlying context that it needs. So to give context to this post, here it is in a not-so-tiny nutshell.
On top of the usual daily stresses that we’ve come to anticipate, we, like everyone else, were adjusting to new safety rules. The year also brought on employment lay-offs issues along with withheld pay due to Covid-19. This issue turned into a legal matter to which we are still going through. Then there was an uncalled-for incident that caused a big rift between my husband and his family. My husband also had candidas at the beginning of the year, and that was left untreated for a long time, then mistreated, which worsen and complicated his condition. If your wondering, yes, candidas is contagious when someone is exposed to it over a long period of time. Thus, yes, for months we were both severely ill from it.
There was a heartbreaking cutting of ties incident between my father and me. That lead to issues around the need to revive my toxic relationship with my mother, whom I hadn’t spoken to in over a decade, due to my father’s recent inconsideration and lack of respect for other people’s well-being. I had to navigate these new issues with my mother and navigate my mother herself while trying to forget all the childhood trauma I had locked away but never threw out the key. There was a huge need to clean out our entire basement where my father had stayed as he left behind an enormous mess.
Oh ya, smaller issues also came up, like our 3-year-old washer and dryer set decided that New Year’s Eve was an excellent time to break down on us. How fun. However, the icing on the cake was a week before Christmas we had a strange man knock on our door ready to repossess two of our cars because my father, while living with us, fraudulently leaned both my husband’s vehicles for a loan that we didn’t know about. He defaulted on this loan and left us with a considerable amount of debt to pay to prevent the cars from being taken away. This also resulted in my husband’s credit score taking a huge plummet to a quick death, which led to alerting the banks and credit card companies to contact us and changed our financial situation even further. Already, the latter situation raises a lot of emotional pain and mental stress. What kind of father in their right mind would do that to their daughter and her husband that lovingly took him in when he had nowhere else to go? The emotional conflicts in this situation alone were unbearable.
We knew we had to file a police report to help clear up the mess we were in. However, because we know the person that committed the fraud, the police required us to press charges as it was no longer a simple investigation. This was a hard decision for us both to make. He would be easily found, trialled, and incarcerated. He definitely wouldn’t make it inside the big house, and I can’t deny that my anger, ego and sense of retaliation wanted to let it happen. But could I live the rest of my life with this responsibility on my shoulders? Am I that person? I digress and will write more about this soon.
Now that you’re caught up, back to this post.
I felt like life, on repeat, was b*tch slapping us and then backhanding us right afterwards. It became difficult to see any light within the darkness that we were in, and it affected everyone else that we were around. It was tough getting out of bed on certain mornings and keeping my patience in check so that I didn’t take out my inner struggles on my loved ones. I couldn’t work, didn’t work, and I definitely didn’t want to socialize. There were continuous months of sleepless nights, panic attacks, and a lot of spiralling thoughts. We were, and still are, battling with PTSD from all of this too. It was further tough trying to be strong for my husband and him for me when we were barely keeping it together inside for ourselves. The worse part was having my husband, who is my best friend and my support system, be just as dispirited as I was. It felt like rock bottom being so emotionally, physically, and mentally tired. So, naturally, I used self-isolation as the perfect excuse not to exert any energy in socializing but rather to go into hiding like a hermit crab. I needed to be alone. I needed to use whatever energy I had left to breathe and recover. And this why my friend thought I was ghosting her.
My friend actually never confronted me for thinking that I had ghosted her. She sent a text to my husband to call me out. What I don’t understand was, we had gone for over two months without contact, and that fault was on both of us as she never checked in with me, just as I never checked in with her. Perhaps she saw that I was slightly doing some work and thought that life was normal for me.
To be fair to her, she has always lent me an ear and has given me sound advice on some of my personal issues. She was there for my family and me when we needed her. To be fair to me, I got to a point where I didn’t want to bombard her with my issues anymore. I didn’t want to be the negative friend with the negative vibes every time we connected. I was very mindful about that. I’m also still learning about this whole friendship thing as it’s very new to me, I’m a late bloomer in this category and I’m not very good at it. Maybe she’s indirectly projecting her stress on me as Covid made life rough for everyone. But whatever the reason might be, I believe that for a healthy non-toxic friendship to exist, both parties are required to maintain it.
I never intended to hurt her or to be inconsiderate to her feelings. But, I admit that I was numb at the time that this happened, and although I didn’t intentionally ghost her, I made a choice to ghost her afterward as not dealing with the entire issue seemed healthier on my mental health. The truth is it’s just as the saying goes, sometimes you gotta ghost everyone to heal.
Too often, we ask, “What’s wrong with them?” instead of asking, “What happened to them?” Why is that? We should never assume we know someone’s reality based on how things appear. Hence what I wish she would have done was given me the benefit of the doubt and checked-in. And it is precisely this point that makes me so passionate to write this blog. Sometimes, we humans are so good at putting on a strong face to the world, but the world doesn’t know that we’re dying inside. In contrast, we also tend to assume that the strong facade we see is the reality of other people’s lives when it really isn’t.
I don’t recommend staying in a relationship that drains your energy, as no one should drain your energy and cause you to lose sight of your well-being. However, I do advise that if you feel as though you’ve been ghosted by a friend that you have a healthy relationship with, not to take things personally at first and check-in on them. Everyone you meet is walking around in their own internal and external struggles. Although being ghosted is a hurtful thing to do to someone, if that person means anything to you and you know they’re acting out of character, then a moment of vulnerability to genuinely check-in is owed to the relationship. You never know if the person on the other side is trying to protect you from all the negative energy they are dealing with. Or they may be numb and can’t catch their breath and don’t know where to begin to tell you what is currently happening. Be kind to yourself and your friend.
Know that communicating becomes super hard for someone who is at a low point in their lives. Below is a genuine thought pattern of me trying to text someone while in my depressed mindset. Although it may seem doable, it is extremely difficult. What I texted was not even close to an honest depiction of what I was feeling. I felt so insincere to myself and yet I wasn’t ready to be brave and vulnerable because I was still bracing against my circumstances. The self-conflict was very real, awkward and so overwhelming.
Hey, sorry I haven’t texted.
I’ve been anxious, depressed, and really angry. I feel like I’m on an emotional roller and the train keeps plunging down. I haven’t had time to catch my breath and am just barely keeping it together for my kids, you know how life gets. I’m so drained I cannot even collect energy for the most basic tasks like washing the dishes or getting the mail. How was your weekend? Yesterday I didn’t sleep again, I was up all night with Mike trying to calm him down from another panic attack. I’m worried for him, and I’m so exhausted. I really wish I could sleep all day but I don’t what my boys to see me like this. How are you? I hope well. Let’s grab a drink soon.
If you’re going through a tough time, remember that it shall pass. Nothing is stagnant, nothing is permanent, and everything gradually changes. My theory is, humans are emotional beings, and we are all driven by emotions. Negative emotions, by nature, are loud and can be erratic. When coupled with a chatty mind and in the right situations, it’s a perfect formula for self-sabotage. On top of that, we are easily affected by others’ ill-advised perceptions and concerns about who they think we should be and how our situation is, and it’s usually never over a good grasp on who we are. We also tend to react and force our inclinations along with these ideologies from others to the situation that we’re in, this causes reactive-energy-draining exhaustion and leaves us crippled and lost.
Your mind is a powerful place to live in. We often get so clouded by negative thoughts and feelings that it’s hard to recognize the actual depth of anything positive to help bring us out of that rut. If we are not aware of this, it’s easy to spiral completely out of control. Luckily for us, our hearts won’t settle with the irrational thoughts from our minds and will find ways to bring forth self-reflecting questions. It’s up to us to listen intently. I encourage you to do just that. To quiet your mind and listen. I encourage you to reset, reframe and re-tell the story. I encourage you to ask yourself hard questions, not negatively, but curiously, to find yourself again. And if you can’t be curious with yourself, I encourage you to seek out help, or a good soundboard, so that you can compassionately talk out your thoughts and begin to heal. Above all, I encourage you to be merciful to yourself.
For me, my mind was becoming my worst enemy. Fortunately, my empathic heart is my protector, and I was finally listening to it. My shift in mindset came when I acknowledged how much I hated being stuck, but more importantly, I bravely asked why I hated that feeling so much. This was a significant realization for me because I’ve always been a survivor, a go-getter, a problem solver, and over-all, a very optimistic person. This is who I am. I’ve always persevered. With this reminder from my heart came the slow, quiet acceptance of my circumstances. I regained my poise, gained a clearer view of things, and it was from this place that I acted. Accepting my feelings and the situations I was presented with didn’t mean that I was submissive. It meant that I’m allowing everything to be as they are without imposing my preferences on it and bracing against it. Doing so dissipated my overlapping layers of reactivity and disarmed my problems by deciding that they aren’t problems at all. It’s how things happen to be right now. This gave me space to recalibrate my energy to deal with my life challenges rather than wasting my energy and reacting to them or getting lost in them. Here, I was no longer suffering, but I was able to shift into survival mode.
I find it so bittersweet that it’s easy for us to be compassionate to others and often have no compassion for ourselves. I mean, if you don’t love yourself, who will? And if don’t you love yourself first, how can you know what love is to give others? Be brave and find your whys, grow, adjust, to move forward. If you’re not awkward, you’re not growing.
As Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati has once stated beautifully, “Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”
Your heart knows what your mind can’t explain. You’ve got this, friend.