I had a dream last night that affected me emotionally, and lingered throughout the day. Even while I worked through my morning routine, I was still thinking about this very vivid dream.
Though I had many distractions and other things that pulled my attention in varying directions, the message of this dream is still stirring in my thoughts. It’s not the easiest of topics to cover. What I dreamt about was, in a way, very personal. Even as I write this, I’m not sure how I feel about sharing it.
The beginning of the dream was vague and difficult to remember. Now, writing this at 1 a.m., during a break at work, a full day between the dream and now, I’ve lost a great many details of what happened.
In the dream, I was shopping in the city where I lived through my twenties. I don’t remember the exact place, but I knew the city and the fact that I was out in public. I came across a young woman having an emotional break down. She was overwhelmed, and was acting out. Help had been called, but I was the only one willing to reach out and talk to and help this woman while others stood aside, watching, talking and judging.
I remember sympathizing, talking to her and trying to calm her down. To convince her to not escalate further because she didn’t want to have to go to the mental health facility in Fresno. I had been sent there once, and it was not a pleasant experience. The cold and unsympathetic treatment I got from medical professionals and the condescending and patronizing attitude of the mental health staff had been unpleasant to say the least.
I also didn’t want her to go through what I did, the shame of it. The fact that my family had reassured me that they hadn’t told anyone what had happened had been difficult for me. I appreciated that they gave me the choice to share what I wanted to, at the time, it felt like another degree of control being placed on my life by other people. I felt that because they hadn’t told anyone, I shouldn’t either. This would be our dirty little secret.
I felt I had no control of my life, and I had been pushed to a point where I ended up in an extreme situation. Acting out on frustration only resulted in more pressure and attempts to control my life. Conflicting parties fought for the right to decide how to ‘handle’ me, and I didn’t feel rescued or saved. I just felt out of control and helpless.
I didn’t want this young woman to go through what I had. I wanted her to know someone related to her pain and frustration. I woke from the dream before there was any sort of conclusion, it left me thinking and wondering.
I came to the realization that while I was letting her know I sympathized, I was also doing what was done to me. I forced myself to consider that I was also trying to shame her into behaving. She had gotten to where she was, as I had, due to a number of factors. Those issues needed to be addressed.
While the mental health facility I was put in was not at all a desirable situation for me, nor was the responses of people in my life, what happened did initiate a change. I’ve become more decisive in my choices. I’m less likely to bend or submit myself as easily to those in my life that wish to control me, no matter how well intended.
A cry for help should always be heeded with sympathy and respect. There is a reason so many suicidal people don’t ask for help. We are treated as if we are defective, irrational or ‘crazy’.
What may seem like a drastic or overly dramatic reaction to a situation may be the final result of being pushed, prodded, hurt, over and over again.
Those who are hurting do not need to be shamed or controlled into ‘behaving’. Especially those of us who resort to hurting ourselves. Kindness without judgment is important, as is patience, and a listening ear. We need to hold space for others. There should be no agenda, no attempt to fix them. What people need most, is someone who is willing to listen and care.
I can tell you from experience, most people are judgmental as hell, as well as manipulative and untrustworthy. Those of us who get to this point, we’re not stupid. We don’t trust for a reason. We’ve given up on humanity because the vast majority of this species is cruel and selfish, and we’ve been hurt by those we’ve reached out to time and time again.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few friends who have proven to me that they actually care, that they like who I am and don’t mind that I’m a bit odd. I’ve come a long way from that time in my life. I’ve made the changes I needed to.
I backslide from time to time, but I am still here and plan to be for a long time. I just need to remember to listen to my gut and stay out of situations that provoke my anxiety and not place trust in those who haven’t earned it. Some people like to talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.
I am still somewhat ashamed of that part of myself that I saw as weak all those years ago. I still feel I should hide the darkest, most painful times in my life. I want to bury them deep and pretend that they didn’t happen. I still feel out of control from time to time, and I fiercely resent those who attempt to control, manipulate, or shame me.
I know I am worthy of this world, of this life, and am willing to fight and stand up for myself. I am not ashamed of who I was or who I am now.
I am a work in progress. I might not ever be a masterpiece, but I’m willing to keep working.
Every day, every night, is another chance to better myself.
I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.