Yes, I have been holding a lot of my friends & family at arms length. There has been a withdrawal, a boundary, that I have let few people past. It’s still there, I just need time.
I don’t often post about my mental health, because, to be honest, whilst I want to share, be open and honest, about where I am at, because sometimes writing about it helps, and I have been told that my writing helps other people, I don’t want this blog to become a mental health blog.
I was recently told, by someone, who would like to be closer, to me, and know what is going on in my head, and have more input in my life, that I am keeping everyone at arms length, that I have become distant, slightly cold, and have been not “myself” in relationships. I mentioned this to my therapist, and she said it was a normal reaction. She says it’s common, during a mental health breakdown (which sounds dramatic, but it’s not really, it’s just an expression) and also during recovery. It’s almost like I have put up a protective barrier, and I am keeping people out.
There are reasons. I know it feels personal, to some, and hurtful. It’s not personal, and it’s not just one person.
I am healing. I am learning how to love myself, to understand myself, and how to be more at peace with myself and also how to be at peace with the world around me. I am learning how to put down boundaries, how to handle other people’s expectations of me, and how to deal with tricky or difficult relationships or people and not allow them to break or damage me. It’s almost been instinctive. I have wanted to protect myself. I know that sounds weird, and it is hard to explain. I haven’t wanted to talk about how I am, what’s been going on inside my head, how my therapy has been going (well, actually) or have to explain to people why I have maybe not been myself.
I have also not wanted to have to explain to people that there isn’t anything they can do, to help, or make things better. This has been my own journey to walk and concerned friends and family have wanted to be “there” and I haven’t been able to or wanted to let them. Part of my therapy is learning that other people can’t fix me, not even those I love, and hold close, who would like to, if they could. I would love to be “fixed” and not have to walk this road, a lot of the time, but I have to.
I am doing well, I am making progress. What was initially 10 sessions of one on one CBT therapy, has now continued, and I will carry on with my sessions, for the next few months. Sometimes they hurt, sometimes I am amazed at how just talking about things that are furiously rampaging round my head, can help. I have also been able to go to some of my therapy sessions with little triumphs to share, about how I am handling things, that normally would reduce me to an anxious, angry wreck. They are only small, but they are victories. I don’t wake up every morning filled with dread at how I am going to handle the day, or how I will manage to keep it all together, with people relying on me. I am learning that being me, is ok, and that if someone doesn’t like me, because I am me, or feels that who I am, is not who they want me to be, that that’s my problem, not theirs. I think that is one of the hardest things, that I am still working on. I have to remind myself daily that I am good enough. I really liked this blog post, a friend shared recently. The words “you can’t hate yourself into loving yourself” ring very true for me.
So, if you are a friend, or a family member, or someone who knows me well and feels like you are being held at arms length, please don’t take it personally. I know, I am sorry. It won’t be forever. I am not broken, I am getting well, I will be my old self, in fact, I will be better, please just hold on, wait, be patient and let me walk this road, and when it ends, it will be worth it. I won’t always be holding people at arms length.