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Brooks wrote a post about how people don’t realise the depths of another person’s pain, and Melinda’s latest post is about the process of writing her book, and how it’s taking a toll on her. She also mentioned how hard it must be for her mother (as the book’s editor!) to read the details of what she went through. No kidding!

And last week I was the recipient of an apology from one of my lovely friends  – C – in Sydney. I had no idea why she was telling me she was sorry, and what was upsetting her so much.

The cause? As it turns out, my desire to let her in on my recent triumph. I wanted to share it with her because I knew how awesome she’d think it was!

During the worst of my depression, PTSD and residing in the hell that my life had become… along with another really good friend, she was one of the best and most willing listeners among my friends and family. With the love they both offered, they gave me room to breathe. They made it okay for me to feel like a complete and utter mess and they didn’t ever make me feel like they wished the process of hurting and healing would just hurry up!

But what I didn’t realise is that when I sent C to read that post, she also read a whole bunch more! When I first started this blog, I gave some of my friends the URL (including C) but I guess most of them didn’t keep reading. Which is cool with me, but now she has read a LOT about what happened and she was horrified.

I didn’t know how bad it was for you. I didn’t get it. I should have done more!

She was pretty distressed. She thought she’d been a bad friend, but when I explained to her that actually, she was one of the few people who’d really been willing to listen, she was shocked.

It’s not easy to share exceedingly painful things. I told C that at the time I couldn’t talk about it properly with anyone, and that was one of the main reasons I started this blog. Saying it out loud was too scary, too extreme and too real. Don’t get me wrong – writing about it was hard, too. But in a much more manageable way.

So I think it goes both ways. We want people to understand us and support us through our pain. But how could I really express the terror of PTSD when I didn’t know what was happening to me? I could barely cope with thinking about the events of that night, so how could I tell someone else about the details that haunted both my dreams and waking state?

In short – if I can’t properly express what’s going on for me, how can my friends know how to respond?

If I’ve learned anything from the last five years, it’s that no one else is responsible for taking care of me. Even when I’m falling apart, even when I can barely function, even then… it’s my job to get the help I need. It’s my job to tell people if I need their support. And I’ve learned not to blame anyone for not responding in the way I think they should. Because we are all human, with our own frailties and weaknesses. And like the song says, everybody hurts sometimes.

~Svasti