Although I would never want to go through the struggle and trauma that I endured ever again, I also know there is a reason why things happen. For me, the reason was so I can now help others overcome the same kind of adversity and tragedy better than I did. I made many mistakes. Trust me. But, it is because of those mistakes that I can now teach you how to avoid them. God puts challenges in our lives so that we can teach other people how to get through it. Here are four mistakes I made that I hope now you can avoid...
1. Blocking people out of your life
The first mistake I made was that I stopped communicating with people. I didn’t want to deal with it. I thought no one would understand. But, that was the worst thing I could have done.
I guess I didn’t want to keep explaining it, tell people about the condition my dad was in, or talk about going to see a lawyer when no one I knew was going through that or had gone through that. Pushing people away to deal with whatever difficulties you may be going through isn’t helping you.
2. Pretending everything is fine
Pretending everything was fine was a survival strategy for me. But, it also didn’t do me any good. I felt as though no one wanted to be around someone who was sad. I felt like a burden. But, I learned that when going through something really hard, or even when having a bad day, we should never feel like a “burden.” That whole idea was something I created in my head. It wasn’t something anyone told me. So, we can’t create this idea that people don’t want to be around us, or that it would make others feel uncomfortable talking about what we’re going through.
You don’t have to pretend to be fine around everyone. Honestly, the kinds of people you want in your life, are the ones that WANT you to talk, confide in them, and be there for you in any way they can. If there is a person that makes you feel as though you’re doing something wrong for feeling sad, you don’t want that kind of person in your life anyway.
No, you can’t go around yelling at everyone and using what you’re struggling with as an excuse, but you also don’t have to pretend that everything in your life is exceptionally wonderful.
The problem I discovered is that people never think that you need help. They’ll never ask how you’re doing, because you’re always putting on this front that you’re perfectly fine. That came back to bite me. Yes, you can be a strong person, but even strong people go through hard times. It’s okay to need help and ask for help. People want to feel needed, and if they don’t feel like you need them, they will question their purpose, or feel as though they serve no purpose in your life, because you’d always “got it.” (Even though you don’t)
It’s okay to have a bad day, you don’t have to live to make everyone else’s day better by being the most upbeat person in the room if you’re not feeling it. On the flip side, it’s ok to take some alone time too. You’re not offending anyone if you don’t feel like going out to lunch with people at work. Don’t feel as though you have to do things you aren’t up to just to make others happy.
3. Getting mad when things are going well for other people
Facebook can be your worst enemy when you are depressed. There is actually a term called “Facebook Depression” because of the negative effects Facebook has on depression. Yes, you want to know what is going on in other people’s lives. But, as we’re scrolling through the news feed, it can create more sadness because all we see are photos of weddings, and family vacations, and people’s kids and all of the happy stuff when we feel like we are in hell. We get mad and upset because those things aren’t happening in our lives. Many times, that’s why people who are going through difficult times in their lives withdraw from Facebook. It’s just so mentally and emotionally draining.
I’ve been there, trust me. I felt like everyone else was so happy, and kept asking, “Why don’t I deserve this happiness?” I literally asked God - “What did I do to be so unworthy of joy?”
Here’s the thing I realized: It’s not that people are oh so happy all of the time, it’s just that why would people post pictures of their kids crying or the fight they got into with their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend? No, for the most part, we post happy things that are happy! So, if you need to take a break from Facebook, it’s ok to do that. You have to do what’s right for you. But, getting mad at other people because their lives appear to be going so “great” just makes getting through tough times even harder. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, so jumping to that conclusion means we are only hurting ourselves.
4. Staying mentally and physically stagnant
When I talk about staying mentally stagnant, I mean refusing to change your mindset, refusing to see things from a different perspective, only living in your own head, and not being able to live life. You feel "stuck," but that is often a choice.
Example: I would talk to my mom on the phone, and all I could talk about (most likely while crying), was how awful I felt, and how I was a failure and I can’t handle this, and much more. But, whenever she tried to help me change my mindset into something positive, reframe my thoughts, or told me to try and look at things from another perspective, oh, I wasn’t having it. I would get mad; even though all she was trying to do was provide comfort and relief.
I believe that the reason I became mad was because thinking about all of these awful things that happened from a different perspective seemed, in my head, such a daunting, exhaustive, hopeless task, that I didn’t even want to think about trying. It would be too hard