I’m back home now and it’s great to get back into the beautiful friendships that I left behind. Some things have changed and some haven’t, but the main difference is me feeling better in myself and closer to my friends as I open up and feel confident in who I really am.
I’m glad I went away and took my own time to process everything that I went through and one of the most important things for me to do was talk things out until I had fully accepted myself and everything that happened to me. Without doing this I would probably still be spiralling around the “I’m fine” mantra while I would seclude myself into a hole of negativity and secretly cry in isolation in a cloak of shame because I didn’t want anyone to know my secret vulnerabilities. It’s easy to do this in a facebook world of ‘everyone is so happy, let’s all (pretend to) be happy too’, but what I’ve learnt is that this illusion of happiness isn’t real life. True happiness is acknowledging all feelings and situations good and bad and having the courage to sit through the discomfort as well as the comfort in life.
It’s starting to become clear to me just how many people live in this illusion of happiness while the reality is a whole load of avoidance fun fairs, cafes of coping and a whole flutter of anxiety butterflies chasing illusions of people around while the real people are nowhere to be seen (check out my sketches if you have no idea what any of that means). Where are these real people? The ones who aren’t afraid to talk about real life events and have the courage to sit in the discomfort that is sometimes real life? Do the people in the illusion know that they’re inside a false reality? I know that I didn’t until trauma pierced my illusion bubble and I realised that in order to get on with real life I had to become real myself.
I guess before I didn’t know how to be real because I’d never faced any situations that had made me investigate the darker side of my emotions. I’d had a picture perfect life, and when it came to going into those dark emotions I just didn’t have the tools to deal with them, so I had to go and find these tools from the people who did have them, and I spent the last 5 months using them and exploring them in an objective manner. The thing is that this is a pretty obscure way to deal with trauma recovery and I’ve realised that the most common route in the absence of knowledge is to go silent and step back out of life because I guess if nobody talks about dark emotions then they will go away… Right? No. Wrong! What happens is that this big white elephant in the room gets so big that it will silently crush you to death.
So, in order to get real, I figured that I needed the right set of tools, so I firstly sought about people who had them and that was a counsellor (aka psychologist/therapist). At first, I was quite sheepish about telling some of my friends – yes the attack had got to me that much that I was cracking up and needed to see a psychologist… that meant that I was crazy right? No, and as one of my friends rightly encouraged me she said:
“That’s amazing, just think, you’re free to say absolutely anything and you can’t be judged for it. Awesome”.
When I thought of it like that, it became an experience to look forward to, an opportunity to explore and an opportunity to grow as a person.
So I overcame this social taboo and when I did, I realised just how ridiculous a taboo it is, and how beneficial it is to go and see a someone who has this tool set.
Let’s see it this way… Say I’m building a bike. Not just any bike, an awesome bike. The kind of bike that isn’t out there on the market, because it’s different than anything that has ever existed. This bike is going to be the fastest downhill mountain bike that anyone has ever seen and I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to build it because I love mountain biking. Thing is, I don’t have the tools to build the bike, in fact, I know jack-sh*t about building bikes, but I want to learn because I want to build this amazing bike of my dreams to ride on. So what do I do? I find the best bike building teacher I can afford to teach me how to build the bike and show me what tools I need and how to use them. Once I have this knowledge and the tools I can go off and build my amazing creation. If I get stuck at any point or if the bike falls apart then I can always go back to my bike building teacher for some more lessons.
Why don’t we think about counselling like this? Because all it’s really about is going to a person who has the tools and the knowledge who can share them with you to help you work on something, whether that is processing emotions, trying to be happier or just generally living life the way you dream of rather than in a way you tolerate. I mean, would you try and fix your broken right arm with your broken right arm? No of course not, so why try to solve issues of the mind with the mind?
I guess that I got to a point where I didn’t want to feel negative anymore, so I went about getting the tools to change that but I think that we could all do with acquiring new tools every now and then, whether we think we’re happy or not.
But I guess deep down we’re all happy aren’t we… right? Or are we in the illusion of happiness…
I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.
Sending self care vibes,