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Inside Out

I’ve been going through an extended period of despondency (about a few months long). More immediately recently, I’ve had to accept a significant failure, which was difficult.

Of this period, I feel some things bear recording, if only because it would be a pity and a waste to forget them.

Something someone close to me told me that I took to heart was that I was very hard to help. I think it was true that, as I was going through things, I didn’t think anyone could help me very much. At the same time, I reasoned to myself that it seemed most of the people I might have potentially asked for help seemed busy enough dealing with their own business to try and understand mine – hell, I thought, even attempting to make sense of my own feelings to myself was making me perpetually sick, so how could I expect anyone to bother? Instances of partial understanding and misunderstanding, moreover, made me feel frustrated and, on some buried level, irrationally angry. Overall it seemed better not to try at all, mostly.

So I do think I might have given people around me too little credit. Moreover, there were a few people who were so persistently great that I felt I couldn’t not open up, at least a little. (I feel so grateful for them.)

But to some extent, I stand by my decision. I didn’t understand everything I was going through, and only understood more over time. I also think some experiences are just inherently hard to understand, and, so, tough luck if the resources and opportunity to render them understandable happen to be in short supply. Survive and do your best.

But, on reflection, I realize that feeling like I’d tried hard enough (well, thought hard enough) about reaching out, was unproductive (and emotionally corrosive). Something I realized later was that this was partly attributable to a tendency I’ve developed over many years, of responding to situations I found difficult by trying as hard as possible to contain and resolve them on my own, and of judging my own success by whether or not I would trouble other people. I still think it’s mostly not a bad approach, except for the times you will fail (if you just don’t have the space to deal with things, for instance); in those situations I guess another strategy might be superior, but I’m not as familiar with it.

So overall, I think a lot of how I dealt with things (or didn’t deal with some things) was down to my personality and values. (Some of that was under threat for a while, but, I think, less so, for now.) I don’t think those have changed very much, but I think I understand their downsides a little better – and I hope I will be able to say that I understand myself a little better.

I’m not out of the woods yet, and I’m not yet A-OK, but I feel like I’ve worked out enough to continue moving forward. I’ve learned other things about myself, too, like what I can keep doing even when I’m down, the kinds of things I care too much about to let go of, traps I fall into easily, etc. I think that will be useful. Wish me well.

Categories: Reflection
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