Explanations And Understanding

RubyI have stuck my feet back into the vast ocean of blogging.  All the way up to the ankles, though the waves seem to be hitting mid-calf more and more.

When I announced my blogging hiatus, I made it complete.  I had already begun a bit on a hiatus from all personal social media.  At least that’s what I intended it to be.  In fact, I’ve decided not to reactivate my fb account, not even a little.  I’m both happier and healthier without it.

But that leaves me with a massive dilemma, bigger in every way than the one I recently wrote about.

You see, it wasn’t just the social media I dropped out of, I dropped out of sight and from the lives of a number of friends I had gotten to know that way.  Actually, I dropped out of sight of pretty much all of my friends, period.  I had to, for my own mental health.  Though I think I confused the issue further by maintaining the fb page for this blog, as well as its Twitter feed — things that, contrary as they seemed, I also had to do for my own mental health.

Thing is, it isn’t really something most people understand, and I don’t especially blame them.  But it also isn’t really something I can explain well.  It definitely would involve a great many things that I don’t like to discuss, in part because I don’t like revisiting the ugly things I go through during an episode, and in part because I really don’t know how to wrap words around what happens when severe illness hits me.  Not in any kind of way that makes sense to anyone.

I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on in your head when you don’t even understand it yourself. ~ Sara Quin

Now an argument could be made, in fact it often is, that if people can’t accept things like these — me being ill, dropping out because it was the only thing I knew to do, not being able to give a reasoning or explanation as to why — then they aren’t really true friends and I’d be just as well rid of them.

Me, I happen to disagree with that philosophy, generally speaking.  Yes, there is truth that some people don’t deserve explanations, and I probably am well rid of them.  But pretty much everyone I consider a friend does deserve some accounting from me.  They are good, caring people who have shown me a great deal of love and kindness in the past.

That’s where we hit the wall with things, at least in my own experience.  The understanding thing.  Because I have lost people before because they honestly just could not understand what I was dealing with.  They loved me more than anyone ever has or will, they tried with everything in them to understand, they wanted so desperately to understand, they went so far beyond for me in trying to understand, but in the end, they honestly could not.

First of all, I really don’t want to add to the body count of those I’ve lost in my life through a lack of understanding.  As I said, it has the been people who loved me most who really got burned.  I certainly couldn’t help the situation, because I was far too ill to even attempt explanations.  But in years intervening, I have come to my own understanding of things.

What it boils down to is that they lacked the ability to understand in the same way I lacked the ability to control my moods, emotions, and behaviors.  I wanted to.  I tried to, with everything in me.  I went above and beyond and desperately used every method at my disposal to try to control myself, with some disastrous and life-altering consequences.  And before anyone says a word, it isn’t different for me simply because I have multiple mental health diagnoses as my reason.  It’s not, not when someone truly loves you — and those who loved me tried every bit as hard as I did, and so should be judged by the same metric.

I would give anything to have come to my own place of understanding sooner, because maybe I could have saved some of these relationships.  But I cannot travel back in time and heal the past, can I?  All I can do is move forward with the lessons I have learned, and try to apply them to present and future circumstances.  To try to keep the people I care about now from drifting from my life completely and forever.

The problem, of course, is that I have no tidy (nor even untidy) way to explain what went on in my head and in my life these past months.  And without those words with which to reach out, what have I?

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25 thoughts on “Explanations And Understanding

  1. Forgiveness and love can heal just about anything. More than just about anything else it may be about timing. Just this post may go a long way toward that healing process. God Bless!

  2. I reblogged this post… (although I’ve never done that before)! Your words, I can so relate to. And I agree with John – a process and timing – forgiveness – healing. Forgive yourself!
    With my post of reblogging: Been here… sorry I have no explanations or understanding either; because without words to explain, what have we? We have each other, because I’ve come to the understanding that only we that deal with such mental illnesses can understand each other! Hugs, HL

    • I am immensely flattered to be your first reblog, hl!

      Fortunately I forgave myself a long time ago. I don’t mean for this post to sound otherwise, it was born more of something akin to resignation, and maybe a little despair. I don’t like losing those I care about, and I like it even less when I know they go amid confusion and possibly hurt.

  3. I can so relate to this post. You have expressed so much of what I’ve been going through. My relationships, both in the past and in the present, have suffered from my inability to articulate what I’m dealing with, especially managing my mental illness. Right now, I feel so terribly misunderstood by a family member. I’ve reached out, but they just don’t seem want to take a little time to address our problem, which isn’t just between us. It hurts in ways that are unexplainable. It’s permeating our whole family. I deactivated my personal FB page four days ago because it doesn’t seem relevant anymore. Then I activated it again yesterday! What is a person to do? I guess, in our world, we just do the best we can. And life goes on. Glad you’re back and doing very important work here! At least, in our community, it’s not really necessary to explain or even understand to be accepted unconditionally. Welcome back!! All the Best, Nana

    • Whatever you are dealing with in your own life, if I could tell you anything it would be to try to be as patient and understanding toward your family member as you can be. I know how difficult that is, but sometimes the problem is much deeper than them not wanting to understand. In the immortal and wise words of my pediatrician, “A tincture of time and an ounce of judicious neglect.” Above all, don’t blame them or yourself, and we can hope it will work out for you two.

      You’re right that “we just do the best we can”; that’s all can be asked of anyone, mental illness or none. And I thank you most kindly for your enthusiastic welcome. 🙂

      • Thank you for your reply. Your post ignited in me a desire to get to the heart of a problem with my daughter, which was creating a disturbing distance between us. I wrote her a detailed email letter, with no holds barred; with love and non- judgement, and she responded in kind. In a matter of hours, we worked through what turned out to be just a miscommunication. It’s amazing how much good comes out of sharing our most personal feelings about our relationships. Again, sincere thanks and blessing to you!

        • You couldn’t have told me anything in the world to make me happier! Writing it out is often the very best thing. It allows you to express clearly things that may be otherwise lost in an emotional conversation. Also, the other party has time to think and hopefully be more understanding and less prone to knee-jerk defensive reactions.

          It sounds like you and your daughter have a good, solid bond between you, and that makes me so happy, too. Knowing how important my own mother is to me — and I to her — feeling the strength of what you have truly warms mt heart.

          • You are a very real inspiration to me! I am so grateful to you for your help in a situation that was breaking my heart and literally ruining my health.

            Yes, there is nothing quite like the bond between a mother and daughter. I’m happy to hear you have a strong one with your mother, as well. Mine passed on twenty one years ago but her spirit is still here with me.

            The healing has begun, and I thank you so much for being part of it!

            Warmest wishes and Blessings to You!
            Love, Nana

  4. Just say hello, here I am again. That’s the only words you have to say for now. Perhaps when you feel stronger or in a better frame of mind, you can explain as much or as little as you can.

    But for me (and I know it is the same for most), hello, I’m back is more than enough

    • derb, thank you for your kind words and your welcome. Fortunately for me, I don’t feel a need to forgive myself — nor anyone else — I made the peace that could be made with things some time ago. But it’s still saddening to lose ties with people once so important in my life.

  5. Great quote from Sarah Quin. 🙂
    My opinion on friends … those who require or need explanation in exchange for their ongoing support and friendship are worth walking away from.

    It is tiring to explain something that is already exhausting enough to try and understand ourselves. When I am drowning, I don’t need friends giving me heavy things to carry … I just need to know that they are there (even if I cannot see or hear them) and willing to throw me a bouy if I cry out for it.

    As always … take care Ruby … you have you, with or without the words of explanation (if that makes sense).

    • I think I stole that quote from one of Cate’s posts, but I’m not certain. It is a good one.

      You make things sound so clear-cut and simple, I could almost believe they are! And while I don’t dispute that your point has merit. . . It’s very rarely as straightforward in every individual relationship, you know? It would all make a great deal more sense if you knew what I’ve lost, but those kind of things I don’t disclose publicly. They involve people I love, and aren’t just my stories to share.

      In any case, I do thank you. And yes, it makes sense. 🙂

        • Some wisdom I would happily do without, because the price of acquiring it was very dear. But of course you know that. And thank you, because there is wisdom in what you say as well.

  6. A clean slate?

    (in the same vein as what Summer Solstice Girl said)

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