Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that most problems were easily dealt with on my own.
And that when issues would arise, I would deal with them solo, progressing forward through my day and allowing life to absorb the hurt and pain.
For many years—and this has been the most prominent one in my life during nursing school—each day I was challenged with anxiety and pressure, insomnia and sadness. I was lonely and felt lost in this smoky cloud of fear. I couldn’t see where I was going, I couldn’t understand how I got there, and I absolutely didn’t see a way to the end. And despite the fact that I drew on my closest family members for comfort and relief, for the most part I dealt with the heart of the matter on my own.
Now this isn’t to say that my support systems weren’t there; I am sure that they would have come to my side in a moment’s notice. But I found myself straddling the fence between wanting to let people in and see that I was vulnerable and exposed, and not wanting to inconvenience people with “my problems.”
And therefore, I stayed on that fence for many years and it resulted in me longing to just have people at my side, to comfort and hold me, yet not wanting to feel like I was burdening them, expending their energy, or taking away from their own lives.
I feel as though this mindset has migrated into more of a comfortable medium, but there are definitely moments when I still struggle. Sometimes when I am in the midst of hurt and sadness, and am right back in that maze of smoke, I will lose sight of my support systems. I have matured and grown and know that they are there, but still there are times when I have a difficult time immediately going to them.
I have pride and stoicism that runs through my veins that unfortunately win over acceptance and surrender, and the ease and comfort of reaching out. I have changed though. I think of it as circumstantial—meaning, at certain times, I will immediately go to those networks of love around me.
But again, those moments plague me when I am sad and decide to go it alone. I want to never lose sight of my support systems, and never lose the knowledge that they are there for me and stand near me with outstretched arms.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel