Finding Your Own Strength

girl looking out into the distance in Bali, Indonesia

Us bloggers have a lot to say about oversharing – we are constantly talking about the way that we bare our inner most thoughts online for strangers and plaster our social media platforms with photos of ourselves. And yet, how much of that translates into ‘real life’? How much do we actually share with those around us? I know that, if I’m really honest with myself then, my answer is not all that much.

I know that because I’ve been through a lot this year. I’ve lost two family members, watched my mum’s house flood, experienced family drama for the first time in my life, lost the family dog and all while battling with a bout of mental health problems, none of which look likely to budge anytime soon. But if you ask the people around me. Even those closest. They wouldn’t have a clue about half of that. And that’s because, even though I bare my heart online, I struggle to voice the same thoughts verbally to those around me.

I slap a smile onto my face, practice my “I’m good, thanks” response to anyone who may ask me how I am and go about my day-to-day as if there aren’t a million and one things pressing down on my brain. And I know that it’s unhealthy. But finding the words, or the time, to say “guys, I’m struggling” always seems impossible. Because, after-all, in between the conversations of nights out, the plans for the future, the discussions of boyfriends, the moments spent rejoicing over the fact that another one of my friends is in the process of buying a house – it seems silly to bring the mood down.

And while I know I should share these things with those around me, if one good thing has come out of the past year, it is that I have learned to stand on my own two feet. I’ve overcome so much in the past twelve months. I’ve dealt with loss, I’ve dealt with pain like I’ve never felt before, I’ve learned who I can and cannot trust, I’ve learned that not every friend can be there for you when you need them to be. And it has been hard. So unbelievably hard.

In fact, there have been days when I’ve wanted to do nothing more than lie in bed. There have been days when I’ve been so angry it has scared me. Days when I’ve been so overwhelmed that something as silly as dropping my pen at work has brought on a torrent of tears. And I’ve had days when I’ve been scared. Scared that I won’t be able to cope with the next horrendous thing that life chooses to throw at me. Scared that if I do tell someone about one thing, I won’t be able to stop and I’ll end up burdening them with a years worth of pent up pain.

But for every moment I’ve tackled alone, I’ve found a layer of strength that I didn’t know I had. I am stronger now than I have every been. And in a strange way, I’m happier with myself too. For everyday that I’ve felt like staying in bed, I’ve dragged myself up and gone to work. For every money problem, I’ve found freelance work to fill the gaping hole in my bank. For every down, I have pulled myself back up. And that’s taught me a lot about myself, about what I am capable of, about just how much I can achieve by myself.

I know now that no matter what does happen, while I know that I don’t always need to, I know that I can stand alone. And that’s an empowering thought to have.

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