It’s been a busy week and an emotional few days. I’m tired and more than a little worn out. The house is in a minor state of chaos, nothing a couple of hours of good tidying up wouldn’t cure, but right now I’m feeling a bit lethargic. I didn’t really feel like blogging but I wanted to share something that happened to me this week.
I’ve been chatting with new people on Facebook, trying to expand my social circle and break out of my shell. I’m very open about my MHIs and the fact that I take meds. I was telling one of my local friends, who is also a neighbour, about chatting with new people and that I end the conversations earlier in the evening because I have to take my meds, which make me sleepy, groggy and not the best conversationalist. My friend was aghast.
“Holly,” she said, “You shouldn’t be telling people about your health problems or that you take medications. People won’t know how to deal with you and you might scare them off.”
Well, shut my mouth and colour me surprised.
I responded with something to the effect of “if they’re scared of my diagnoses then they’re too weak to be my friends anyway.” Not the most diplomatic answer, but it expressed exactly how I felt at the time.
I guess there are a few ways of looking at my friend’s comment. 1. She’s trying to protect me from divulging what she perceives as very personal information that should be shared with a select group of people or 2. She’s uncomfortable with my frankness about my health because she believes that health issues are very private matters or 3. She’s uncomfortable with mental illness and doesn’t think I should be talking about it openly because it should be a private matter.
Any which way I look at it, it still comes across to me as “hide who you are”. I’ve never been very good at hiding. I don’t fit very well in nooks or crannies or cubby holes. I often say “don’t put me in a box, I’m claustrophobic”. Hiding who I am evokes feelings of guilt and shame. I feel as thought I’m not good enough and I begin to feel unworthy and very negative about myself. Whenever I start feeling bad about being who I am or feeling like I should conform in order to make other people comfortable, I remember this:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles