I got an email recently from someone who said I was “stuck in my misery.” Feeling fortified by the knowledge that I hadn’t wasted my suffering, and knowing that our culture tends to blame people for their suffering, I didn’t buy it for myself. But of course that’s the adult me, and I also felt “shocked heart” which I realized was all the younger ones inside me who believed it. When I was about 17 my father told me I “wanted to be miserable.” I didn’t believe him, but when I saw that all my efforts didn’t seem to change things I started to fear that somehow I was making it happen. This is a situation guaranteed to cause depression.
From my journal for yesterday:
I did have a hard time most of the day because of the little ones who were so triggered. I did my best to reassure them. I even did what Erica suggested. Put on folk music, held Kiddo in my arms and rocked her. I told her that her misery wasn’t her fault, it came from something that happened to her that she wasn’t responsible for, and also from being expected to do things that she just wasn’t mature enough to do, especially without guidance and support. But I continue to feel a little shocked heart.
Making my second cup of tea, I saw the answer. The response to someone who is stuck in their misery has to be compassion, not anger. If I’m angry at myself, that just perpetuates the misery. What I do is go sit down next to the misery and tell it “I’m here, and I’m not leaving.” And then I stay there.
I can see that my willingness to be present to my depression, terror, and despair, could be seen as “stuck in your misery,” especially by someone who is resisting and denying their feelings of misery.
from my journal for today:
You can call it “stuck in your misery,” but what I do is go sit down next to my misery and say “There, there. I’m here now, and I’m not going to leave.” I allow my misery to relax and know it’s not going to be abandoned. Sometimes my misery softens into grief. Sometimes I learn something new and worthwhile. Sometimes a message comes from outside and shifts things completely. I never know what it will be. I’m still learning to wait with patience and trust. I can feel that all the little ones inside who were so upset are feeling comforted.