It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything on here. Many things have happened in the beginning 1/3 of 2016, and not all of them have been “good” in my perspective. However, with every “bad” thing that happens in life, a “good” lesson can be taken from the experience.
The semester has been going pretty well for James, and we’ve actually got a pretty good system going for us now – just in time for it all to change for clinics:) I’m very excited for him to start his 4th year! He is kind of burnt out from all of the studying and coursework he has been doing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that passion towards his field light up again. We have been taking some nice bike rides together, and spending a lot of our spare time talking about the future, which is mostly fun to do, but can be a little stressful at times. All in all, we have no idea where we are going, what we are going to do, or how we are going to do it, but we’re ready for 2017!
We didn’t end up taking our trip to Vermont, as my Grandma Shurboff passed away a few days beforehand. She was 91 years old, and peacefully left the world in her sleep. Obviously, I didn’t know Grandma well (or at all for that matter) in her younger years, but it is a comfort to know how close she was with God in her later years. Throughout the house my mom has been finding scraps of paper (or napkins, or wrappers-she had some slight hoarding tendencies:) that she had written thoughts or Bible verses on, and I idolize the way she turned to God for her problems, rather than trying to solve them all on her own.
Also, we decided to try to bring a dog into our world again, and after weeks of hype and excitement, it didn’t end up working out. For lack of a better way to put it, it was a real bummer.
So, recent events have been pretty challenging for us. James is naturally gifted when it comes to handling the downs in life, whereas I am not. In these times, he is my rock. In fact, I feel as though I handle the downs in life the worst ways possible. I become the anti-person of who I want to be. Bitterness, apathy, and frustration are my go-to emotions, and I have little to no grace or poise when around other people. I kind of turn into a grade-A grump…
I have been holding a lot of thoughts and feelings inside, and since I don’t have this really published anywhere, I think it’s a good place for me to get them out.
When I’m feeling these emotions, I can’t handle being around anybody (except James sometimes). Animals are always welcome, but people-not so much. This is because it is difficult for me to listen to other people’s sympathy or advice on how to handle my feelings (there is a HUGE lack of understanding of how to be empathetic vs. sympathetic). It is difficult for me to muster up any genuine happiness for other people, and it is difficult for me to even focus on what another person is saying to me, and this unfortunately even includes James at times.
So. You now know who I can become when I have a rough patch. Not good. Not pleasant. Kinda whiny. Okay, pretty whiny. But, the cold hard truth is that I can’t just avoid people all willy-nilly when I’m depressed. Therefore, this depression hightails towards anxiety. Once I’m anxious about being around people, all I can think about is how I don’t want to be. I start thinking “I wish so and so wouldn’t bother me” or “All I want to do is be at home alone” and basically wanting everything to be a way it can’t.
Let me just get to the point of what I’m trying to say here. As you can see, negative thinking and energy is basically the downfall of who I strive to be. If you’ve seen the movie Inside Out, you’ll understand the reference that the blue gal (Sadness) and the red guy (Anger) are who take over, when who I really want to be manning my brain is the green girl (Happiness). Everyone has their own tactics on how to keep Happiness in control, but they vary greatly from one person to another. We all handle it differently, and that just needs to be accepted. Truthfully, I still don’t have Happiness at the front of my mind, but she’s working her way back up there.
That was a bit of rambling, but what I’m trying to say is, don’t put the effort into consoling a person unless you truly care to. Otherwise, if you can’t be sincere, empathetic, or just someone to listen, you are probably making the situation worse for them. Also, telling a person how you handle “the same” situation is just as hard to hear. The video below is a fantastic example of the differences between empathy and sympathy, and puts it into terms anybody should be able to comprehend:
I guess I decided to go in the direction this post is going because I am amazed and saddened by the way people interact with people who are struggling. This has also brought a lot of attention towards myself and my own actions. Am I easing pain or am I making it worse? Am I being empathetic or sympathetic? Am I just bothering a person who wants to be alone? I can’t stand the thought of me adding more grief to someone, but the truth is, I’ve probably done it before… and so have you. Anyways, I hope this widened your mind (or not, because again, I think I’m the only one reading this), and maybe it will help you to understand how to help someone who needs some support:)