This has been a rough week for me emotionally. Nothing in particular has happened with the exception that I’ve spent a little too much time on Facebook. That is my downfall. When I see what old friends are up to, what they’ve accomplished, the accolades they’ve earned, I feel small and insignificant. Comparing myself to others is so dangerous. I rarely feel better; I rarely wish them well and feel genuinely proud of them. No, I tend to see how I don’t measure up, how I am not good enough, how everybody else has done so much more with their lives. Not me. I’ve remained stagnant. I am not who I was supposed to be. I missed opportunities; I drank away my chances and ambitions.
For someone with diagnosed and treated depression, I know better than to engage in this type of behavior. So what draws me to the negative? What makes me want to slink into nothingness and disregard the joy I know I have in my heart tucked away? Why do I continue to condemn myself for the path I have taken? I am not ninety years old. I have so many good years in front of me.
I believe it is the familiar that keeps me coming back to the mental beat downs. It’s what I’ve done and it’s what I’ve known for so long that it feels familiar. Notice, I didn’t say good, rewarding, fulfilling, or pleasant. Familiar. What’s so funny about this word is that family is in this word. To me, my family is a source of comfort, love, understanding and absolute unconditional love. This applies to both my immediate and extended families.
But the familiar feelings that social media brings about do not have this comforting connotation. I can, however, make these two worlds collide. For as I have grown in my recovery, I have seen sides of my sisters and brothers that weren’t apparent to me previously. They shown me love and understanding and a support beyond my wildest dreams. If I could change my perception about my family of origin (who were messed up beyond belief as I was growing up), I can change my perception of what familiar means to me.
I have to work to figure out what that will mean to me. I am certain of what it is not: comparison, belittling, feeling less than. No, those are feelings that don’t bring out the peace I seek. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed how social media has been an outlet for me to see who is doing what. But, I did not moderate which is not unusual for me.The small part of me that wants to close my laptop, stare off in space, and think about the “could have’s” and “should have’s” is enough of an indicator that this too is an unhealthy part of my life. I know that people tend to put their best out there and don’t discuss the mishaps or feelings of depression so what I am seeing is not necessarily the whole picture. However, I take it to a new level when I insert myself there and belittle me.
My new familiar will not include daily scrolling on Facebook. It will include messages throughout the day that remind me that I am not too old, too inexperienced, or too late to redefine myself. In fact, I am doing so every day. Little by little. God has a plan for me and He is lining up what needs to fall into place so it is blessed and perfect for me. I need not look to other’s accomplishments and feel envy. That was their plan and not mine.
Spring is a great reminder that after death comes new life. And like the flowers buried deep beneath the surface of the soil just waiting to burst out into a new life, so too is my inner identity.