I am NOT “strong and brave” (mild TRI... - Anxiety and Depre...

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I am NOT “strong and brave” (mild TRIGGERS)

Kat63
Kat63

Every time people tell me that, I want to scream.

Maybe I used to be strong and brave and adventurous. But life has knocked that right out of me. Especially the past four years or so. In that time, I had relationship problems, moved three times, was laid off from a job, was outright fired from a job, and lost my mother to cancer. I’ve used up all the “strong and brave” that I ever had. I’m tapped out. I’m now “weak and scared.”

I try to remind myself that life is a lot better now than it was just six months ago. My bf and I are back together trying to work things out. I found another job that is a lot better for me. My relationship with my father has improved. I’m physically healthy.

I just wish the fear in my heart would go away. Although things are good now, I’m afraid they could go bad again. And sometimes, it isn’t really fear - it’s leftover pain and grief from all the losses of the past few years. So many things went wrong. It really took a toll on me. I’m trying to recover from these bad things. I’m trying to see a good future for myself. But sometimes that leftover pain comes back.

And then, I’m as un-strong and un-brave as it’s possible to get. I cry and meltdown, and try to hide that from other people IRL - and I come here and go to other mental health/recovery websites.

Some days, the fact that I have suicidal thoughts but refuse to act on them, is about the best I can do.

And I’m not always like this. A lot of the time, I’m doing pretty well, get through the day without crying, etc. I haven’t had a panic attack in a couple of months now. If I was *always* upset, I’d go to the hospital (or at least call my psychiatrist.) But I have enough good days that I don’t feel like this is warranted.

14 Replies
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Maybe it's OK to not be "strong and brave". You are *human* and thus flawed but worthy of love and compassion.

Your using the word "adventurous" hit me hard, because it reminds me of thoughts I've had about the old me: setting out into the world, intrepid, feeling everything would work out. I don't think I can ever be that girl again. Maybe that's OK. Life experiences do change us (as it sounds like you are well aware too, probably more than me). Maybe in exchange for "strong and brave" or "confident and adventurous" we have (or will have) something different in exchange (empathy? experience? gratitude?) that will serve us in the next chapters of our lives.

Hi Kat63. Oh my...I can so relate to all of this...in various details, and as an overall cycle of pain...

However, you got one part wrong...YOU are strong and brave. No question about it! That never goes away, it is just masked by the waves of pain sometimes. No reason to scream when people remind you of it. It is true, even if you don’t feel it at the moment..

Here are just a few specifics of YOU being strong and brave, in your own words. Try reading these back like I wrote them about me, instead of them being your feelings...they may seem even stronger & braver to you!

1. “I’m trying to see a good future for myself. But sometimes that leftover pain comes back.”

= strong & brave to keep fighting thru it all

—This grief pain is a real part of the new me...just switches from the foreground, to the background, and then back again.

2. “And then, I’m as un-strong and un-brave as it’s possible to get. I cry and meltdown, and try to hide that from other people”

...admitting weakness = very strong & brave

—I share this part with others in my life, bc I think that shows my authentic and broken self.

3. “...and I come here and go to other mental health/recovery websites”

...seeking better for yourself = extremely strong & brave

—Me too. And this does seem to help tremendously.

4. “Some days, the fact that I have suicidal thoughts but refuse to act on them, is about the best I can do”

= Hello? Super STRONG & BRAVE!

—Even though this particular detail doesn’t apply to me (much)...When refusing to act is the best you can do? That is plenty enough, and all you need!

Lastly, the ability to strive to FEEL Strong & Brave thru all of the pain, while admitting the struggle... I believe that makes you Ninja-Warrior Strong & Brave too. And truth-be-known, we will be stronger having been pulled by our hair thru all of our struggles.

Can you hear me?

Can you hear yourself?

I’m sorry for your loss, and struggles, and pain....but please do consider what I’ve said here. For real!

**full disclosure...I feel strong at the moment bc my pain / grief waves are at low-tide for now , and I am not in one of those “puny / meltdown pits” right now. Ask me during one of those, and I likely will say YOU are strong & brave....and I am un-strong & puny & un-brave. I can relate, but our moments of weakness are what make us Ninja strong to our core. 🍄 🌸 🌞

I relate to this so much because I also get really frustrated when people tell me that I "used to be this" or "used to be that". I'm definitely not the same person that I was before my mental illnesses took a toll on me, I know that for sure. I also certainly don't feel as strong or brave as I once was either, but I try to find smaller moments throughout the day that may not seem like strength, bravery, or a big deal at all to people who don't live with mental illness, but to me they are huge. Getting up, showering, getting dressed, a short exercise session, (in my case doing grad school work online in intervals throughout the day), etc. They are small moments, and most people wouldn't think twice about them, but for me doing all those things while trying to cope with GAD and depression everyday is a small victory, especially if I'm really struggling. I fail at those small moments sometimes, and that's okay because I know that I'm doing the best I can, even if other people don't get it.

I know it's hard when people remind you of things that you don't feel anymore, but each moment that you face the day, even when it's difficult is a small win. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone in feeling this way.

Kat63
Kat63 in reply to bluestars725

Thank you. You get it!

bluestars725
bluestars725 in reply to Kat63

❤️

Thank you for reminding me of the “small victories.” I understand the delight in being able to do those basic activities, AND the acceptance when I cannot do anything other than breathe. I was in a depressive black hole for a year and a half, and couldn’t get out of bed, hardly. Morning anxiety was the worst and the depression was debilitating. I’m so grateful today that I’m feeling better. Sounds like you’ve got the attitude I want to emulate. ❤️. Lynne

I'm so sorry you went through that, but I'm glad you're feeling better today. Even when people tell me I'm "not trying" or "not doing anything", I know it's because they have no idea what living with mental illness is like. My GAD and depression is frequent. I have worry and anxiety every day, and even when I'm not in a full-on depressive episode, I still have depression symptoms. I'm still really hard on myself sometimes when I feel like I'm just really broken, but you're absolutely right, even when we can't do those basic activities, acceptance is so important. Every small moment counts.

And if I have to hug myself in a fetal position, that’s what I do. People who haven’t experienced it cannot understand. Hey, I can barely understand it. I was always too hard on myself-before the breakdown. That’s how I learned to be gentle with myself. And to heck with those who think I should be doing anything different! I can’t “fix myself,” but if I can make myself feel better it’s up to me to do so. ❤️

Same here. ❤️ It's been a journey to figure out how to just get through each day, and some days I barely get through it. Even though I was diagnosed with GAD and depression years ago, I'm still learning how these illnesses affect me.

Me, too. It's a difficult struggle.

I don't think we were created to be strong alone. I think we need to need others, and to be needed.

You may still have some un-resolved issues with grief and loss that need more work. Professional help, whether in a group for grief and loss, or one on one helped me a lot when I was in a very dark place. And when you find yourself slipping into that scary place of doubt and sadness.....remember like you said....where you are today, in the moment, that's what you hold onto while resolving this past stuff.

There are 2 additional phrases that I hate hearing. One is when people say that "I just need to come out of my shell", like there is some better version of me that's easily accessible and I'm purposely holding it back.

Another is when someone mentions that "I know you're quiet, not that there's anything wrong with that ..." because that either comes across condescendingly or is immediately followed by some sort of desire from the other person that I should be more outgoing.

It's difficult to feel comfortable with who I am as a person when I hear these comments it breaks down any self-confidence that I work hard to attain. I can't expect that to change though.

Kat63
Kat63 in reply to bawoleta

Thank you! You get it.

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