Sometimes it’s okay to cry it out you know…

All my life I’ve felt a sense of shame in being emotional or crying about things or being sensitive as if it’s a socially unacceptable thing to do. My mum never cried in front of me or my sister apart from when her mother passed away. And my father never did either. So I grew up learning the best thing to do was to keep all my emotions inside of me because ‘that’s what we all do in the family’. Sooo many times I’ve been called “dramatic” or “over emotional” or “being stupid” but truth is, I feel things so much more than most. I’m highly sensitive, and I’m also a natural idealist and optimist, so my world comes crashing down several times a day. I sometimes had wished I had a medical condition so that people (by people I mean family) could believe me. Yeah I know it sounds sad. But when you put a professional label, all of sudden, you’re a good person but with some defects? As oppose to a ‘cry baby’?

Granted, my emotional resilience wasn’t as strong as it is now (not that I’m massively resilient now) so things could seem more chaotic looking outside in. But sometimes I just wish I knew what I know now (hind sight….what can I say) that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to let it out, to feel so damn frustrated and worried and sad and to just cry those tears without feeling guilty for it. To embrace it and to own it, and then do something with it and move on.

All my life, this has been one of my ‘Achilles heels’, and now after 32 years, starting to really own it. It’s okay to cry. It’s OKAY. In fact it’s healthy to let it out, as long as you can move on with it. It’s like sneezing – all that climax and buildup to a little sneeze then you feel a whole lot better. You might have many sneezes in a row and have a sneezing fit but eventually you’ll stop, rub/wipe your nose and continue your day. It’s part of life. Getting rid of the mucus. The gunk. And making way for a happier breath inwards.

I’m writing this after just crying over my living situation, feeling displaced, feeling sorry for myself. But writing this now actually makes me feel 100 times better. I ACTUALLY don’t feel guilty and self-absorbed about crying. I’m not a ‘cry baby’, I’m a highly sensitive, intuitive, emotional human being going through the motions of life situations. And if (or should I say when) I wan to cry, then it’s okay. As long as I take in some perspective and move on. Thank you, next!

Talk about it! (mental and spirtual health – Part 2)

It seems to me, living in London, being brought up in an African/British household and community, and having reserved, conservative parents have definitely made accessing counselling or psychotherapy really off-putting. Team that up with a society where the previously expected formula for a successful is ‘go to uni + do a masters + do an internship = job’, and it increases more symptoms of decreasing mental health!

‘Sick, twisted people go the mental hospital’, ‘Are you mental? Are you sick in the head?’ – It’s this kind of statements and utterings that are often conveyed within a lot of households. The image of the distressed, rough looking person with a straight jacket and a constant twitch that eludes danger and insanity is commonly in the minds of a lot of people where mental health is involve. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. 

Many people are suffering the same things but are afraid that it will make them seem weak. A negative label hanging over their heads like their an outcast to society. It’s simply not true. There are many ways to deal with our stresses and issues in life. Meditation is common place. Going tot he gym. Having sex. (Okay maybe not so much as a long term solution, but it gives some endorphines to us). Praying. Art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, etc. Talking to someone about it….like…a friend, stranger, or going to a qualified counsellor at a local health clinic. Even creating online groups to discuss about certain topics like anxiety. It helps.

I’ve tried counselling and told one or two people about it that aren’t family, because again of the social stigma. But I’m putting it out there now. And it helps. It’s one of many ways to work on issues that we all suffer from. Having an objective point of view within a completely confident environment and a professional experienced approach makes a difference. I had about six sessions – it was a free service available at uni – but even then it made me see a little ‘out of myself’. It gave me some distance and perspective that I appreciated because I didn’t think about it that way before. Luckily it was free as well. I have to admit, many private health services cost an arm and a leg, which makes it even more inaccessible.

It’s funny that in the States it’s not a big of a deal to have a psychotherapist on hand. Or have a marriage counsellor (or at least its more accepted in society). But in the UK, it seems like a very big deal. Why? Hmm.

It seems that discussing mental health publicly or at least having a person to talk to about is a real demand – even in a world where everyone is ‘talking’ (communicating ) on social media.

Happy #WorldMentalHealthday ! Keep sharing.

On my next post in this series I will be talking about Art therapy as it is a new found appreciation of mine, and more.

Please share your experiences, stories or opinions whatever it may be. I would love to do podcasts or interviews with anyone who would like to share and contribute towards future posts in the series. You can always contact me directly on my email mm.dubale@gmail.com.

🙂

Stay blessed,

Meron x

 

Progress: Flip IT! (mental and spiritual health – part 1)

I woke up this morning with slight anxiety. Anxiety that makes itself know to me from time to time, especially when I over analyse and dwell on situations (predictably, the situation was regarding finances) – even with positive quotes filled on my social media feeds! It’s easy to take that trip from time to time. But the important thing is not to let those feelings conquer your life, your emotions and your actions.

One train of thought that has been popping up more recently is identifying You as your best friend. ‘The Casual Artist‘ made this aware to me when we had a Skype consultation. During my childhood, I have always felt that I was my own worst enemy. I even have a distinct memory of receiving a report card when I was in year 6, with the teacher stating that ‘Meron can be her own worst enemy’. Once I told the Casual Artist this, he flipped it up and asked me this question: ‘Can you say to me the total opposite of that statement?’

I first stumbled. It was really hard, and I didn’t get why. But he broke it down to me and eventually I stated that ‘Meron is her own best friend’.

I was truly amazed by this. I had never thought of seeing my self in this way at all! Bizarre.

I am my own best friend….Meron is her own best friend. Meron..is…her own…best friend. That makes total sense! It’s the complete OPPOSITE of what I’ve been making myself accustomed to. And so I say to you: FLIP IT. Any negative or niggling statements that have prevailed in your life, ask yourself what is the total opposite of that statement. Then say it back to yourself. 

As an artist, as a human being carving a fulfilling career for myself, there’s still days like this morning where I stumble. However, I’ve been really progressing with being more resilient. Showing appreciation for what I do have. I have time and some means to do what I love. To do develop my work. To create alliances as well as art and change my way of life for the better. Some ladies my age, have been forced into marriage, enslaved, don’t have access to clean water. So hey, how can I complain right? I have some privileges in some sorts and I need to exercise those, if not for myself, than for the people who can’t.

Gratitude is a great attitude.

I will be making another post on mental health and spirituality concentrating on why this is so important to discuss in our community. Especially the ‘black’ communities, where it’s still such a stigma to receive counselling or psychotherapy. So stay tuned!

Stay blessed,

Meron x