An important letter to a special someone called 'Me'. With love, Me.
The day I got fired. It hurt.
Dear Self, she fired you.
That's not new. You've been fired before – remember? Of course you do, much as you don't want to.
You've been told, it's not your fault. It's her, she's – Weird. Ambiguous. Hostile. Rude. Confusing. Arrogant.
All these adjectives, thrown around by different circles of friends who don't know each other, much less what each has said. Their only commonality is knowing the truth of your experience as you've told to them.
It comes to a point where eventually, weeks later – a friend drops all filters and calls your boss bipolar as f –.
It makes you giggle – at the candidness of it all, the boldness to drop all pretenses. But you also realize – perhaps that's the word that best sums up all this confusion. You hate it when labels of mental health are thrown around casually – but you also see the parallels quite nicely.
Because for one day you’re told to do things specific, another day you’re told to do the same thing broad. It’s confusing, with no real logic especially when you're told improvement is arbitrary, what.
One day, you were even told, "Naomi, your boss is gaslighting you!"
But at the time, all you thought to yourself was,
No way. How can that be? I feel like, it's me. Like I've successfully convinced various different circles of friends that it's her fault, although it's me. It's me, and my inadequate, inexperienced self.
No doubt you had reason to take what you heard with a healthy pinch of discretion (good job!), but – in time you will realise that perhaps, maybe – the stranger was right. That it would take weeks before you saw it yourself, which would be of its own value. But it doesn't change the fact that before you saw the gaslighting, others caught on to it for what it was – and tried to point it out to you.
Remember these things –
Your sister, calling the hospital to make a therapy appointment for you (and your utmost apologies to the extremely-confused patient associate!)
The night you slept 3.5 hours, for no other reason than fear, & extreme anxiety. & then you subsequently texted the GP & took a mental health day, instead of going for co-working. But even without catching up on sleep, on the possibly unwise decision of caffeinating the day away – in your sleep-deprived, caffeinated state, you still readily concluded,
“Still easier to get through the day with breathing space away, feels a lot emotionally safer now. Even if I get through this slowly, or have to hide myself away from the Google Drive radar”
You don't realize it yet, but this internal instinct is showing you something Very Important.
Your unrelated circles of friends, all echoing the same, gentle, (and fundamental) refrain – go eat lunch. Have you eaten? [It's past lunch, already].Don't get gastric, please.
Reminders to SLEEP.
It makes you feel... so broken. What have you become, that fundamental things like food and sleep need Reminders? You'll end up feeling like ... your brain and body spoil already...
Was that really ... you?
Through tears, you’ll see yourself solely in broken frailties – and it annoys you to no end because you’ll feel the need to be more than this.
After all, to your own horror and shame – in the moment, you're reduced to being that annoying potato who only knows how to cry, and skip church. Who can't even hold down a job, & is triggered towards self-injury for it – but yet comes so close to rejecting therapy. In your own words, you're being very gross, especially since you're struggling to even eat properly – which should be a basic survival instinct!
By your own admission, you can't even process information, which is gonna be terrible because you know you will just glaze over, giving room for your boss to nitpick how cui you are.
Amidst this confusion, I hope you'll eventually see your friends for what they are in this season – small glimpses of light amidst your darkness, people who care enough for you in the moments you can't (or don't want) to care for yourself.
After all, your friends – who don't even know each other, but share the commonality of the lived experience of a mental health condition – will gently, but firmly echo a common sentiment – therapy is necessity right now. It’s a sentiment you’ll try to fight against, because therapy is expensive, after all.
Perhaps – Disney at heart that you are – with the growing clarity that allows you to slowly see this experience for what it is, these lyrics from Tangled sum things up nicely:
All those days watching from the windows
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I've been
Now I'm here blinking in the starlight
Now I'm here suddenly I see
Standing here it's all so clear
I'm where I'm meant to be
And at last I see the light
And it's like the fog has lifted
And at last I see the light
And it's like the sky is new
And it's warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted
To end, hold on to these words of everyone's favourite bear at the Hundred Acre Wood:
"Promise me you'll always remember –
You're braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think"
... and if there's one more thing I would add – a tumbler of coffee with a doughnut is not a lunch.
You'll find Naomi lurking on our Discord. Join our safe mental health community okay?