Do you ever have those days when no matter how cheerful and thankful, grateful and positive you want to be the reality is you aren’t or can’t? I think it’s called depression. Not the clinical kind that brings you to your knees but, the reality kind. The kind where all the challenges, problems, shortcomings you struggle with wins for this moment in time. I’m there. Even thinking of my favorite, pumpkins, doesn’t help.
It is easier to acknowledge it, deal, fall apart, hide out…so you can move on. I had a coffee date that didn’t show, a mentor who set up a time to process some issues of mine and also didn’t show and then there are close friends who won’t return phone calls after numerous attempts, and messages. It hurts.
It is one of the biggest truths that you can’t control the behavior of others, nor do I want to. I tried it… it’s exhausting and futile.
It’s also true that the universe doesn’t revolve around me. MY truth lately is I’ve been looking at neediness. Being needy is about the worst thing I can think of and it shows up at the most inconvenient times. Maybe because I spent a lot of my youth acting, and pretending to be needless. It would now appear I am making up for lost time. There is no way out but through.
It sneaks up on me, and when I finally see it, I cringe. It brings up shame, and regret for me, even though I know intellectually it is the most normal of conditions. How one handles it is the key. I am aware of it and that is half the battle. I am still not good, or comfortable at dealing with it. It appears upside down and sideways. Having emotional needs in my family of origin was risky, and a sure guarantee of disappointment. Hence the need for needlessness, which ironically results in neediness. Sad but true.
I know it’s time for me to tackle this demon in a healthy way so I asked for professional help. I would rather feel depressed than needy. Not good options. I also know that this will change the outcomes of old friendships. I don’t want to encourage relationships that see neediness as a handicap. It is a symptom, like many other emotions that require love, understanding and compassion and healthy boundaries. I won’t be emotionally or physically abandoned for it anymore. THAT is unhealthy. It starts with me not doing it to myself, or allowing it from others.
My son spent a pleasant evening with me last night and I was reminded again of why my life has followed the path it has. He said friends of his in college ask him how he got to be so well adjusted at such a young age? We chuckled at that because it comes from experience with lots of complex issues. We have mental illness in our family tree that requires on going therapy and creative life skills.
My former husband and I were lucky to be given a healthy set of tools that we practiced with a lot and thankfully were able to pass on to our two children. Our son and daughter both use them beautifully, but not perfectly. We’ve also modeled the gift of imperfection too. Life can be messy. I don’t ever want them to feel ashamed of being needy. I want to model that addressing those needs in a healthy way is up to me and choosing people who are available to meet them.
Now I get to practice something new to add to my tool box of life. I’ll let you know how it works out. I think instead of being depressed today (and again, I AM NOT talking about clinical, chemical depression that requires professional help), I’ll clean the house, read, and re-arrange my pumpkins. No neediness required for that.