After sharing my story a few times at work now, I am noticing a few trends. First, it is awesome to be a part of something that is making things better when it comes to stigma. Secondly, by starting the conversation, I am allowing other people to talk. Third, by being the person who opens up first, I am now seen as a person other people can confide it.
It's the third trend I want to write about here. I remember when Clara Hughes did her Big Ride a few years ago. She said after the first few stops she has to stop being the star of the presentation and rely more on the hosts because it was all just too much for her. Being nearer the end, I was disappointed, and also glad she was finding ways to take care.
I understand even better now what she was referring to. I am always glad to be able to listen to other people, and glad they feel like they have a place to talk. It's hard on me though. I am a Highly Sensitive Person, which means I feel other peoples' emotions with them. When talking about their hard stuff, I feel it all with them. Also, often, they are emotions and challenges I can relate to, as I have been there.
Often, these conversations, along with the talk in the first place, take me back to the hard places I am been. And, in a lot of ways, I re-live the feelings I had then. Fear, desperation, anxiety, hopelessness. These are difficult emotions for me to process, even now.
Sharing my story in this way is a new adventure for me and I am still trying to work it all out. I am glad to be doing it, and the difficult parts of it won't deter me. I do need to make sure I find a way to take care of me.
One way is to go see my counsellor. It is the one place I can go where it is all about me. I don't have to worry about what she is thinking, or letting her have much air space. Yesterday this is exactly what I needed.
Moving forward, I will find my way. Not sure what the path looks like yet though.