Being a Listening Ear

My counsellor is the first to tell me that I have a tendency to want to help people and put their problems above my own – and she usually says so when I’ve spent a long time talking about my concerns about a friend, or someone I work with. So this extended period of lockdown and general stress has been an exercise in closely managing my own mental reserves so that I stay boundaried in the sense of maintaining my own safety while still being present for people.

Its not easy. It can be quite seductive a call to throw grand dramatic gestures. Everyone wants to be a hero after all, but keeping the slow and steady drip of checking in on people – listening when they do or do not respond, or sending the odd off-colour joke without expecting a reply – seems to be a middle ground that is allowing me to not over extend myself or to feel that I’m abandoning people.

Its hard when there’s that little voice wanting to leap down the phone and hug someone who is clearly in distress, but that little voice doesn’t take into account other people’s wants, needs, or support networks – that’s where it becomes unhealthy in trying to impose itself.

That’s the point where it becomes about me, not about them.

I am glad to bale to report that I amvery lucky with the support networks that I do have, and with the friends that can and do ping in and out of sight on various platforms. I’m doing my best to be a reliable generally positive part of their networks, rather than a burden on their time or the cause of a heavy sigh.

So, silly memes and reimaginings of scenes with disney characters, songs and daft videos – all of these and more will continue to flow as distractions. I might even get some work done in between them all too.

I’m Happy

It’s surprisingly hard to say that out loud, let alone in public. I think it’s in part due to my own battles that have led to a distinct appreciation that happiness is temporary, and has to be worked at to be retained or recovered.

As such I almost become suspicious of myself whenever I recognise happiness, because I half expected it to evaporate immediately either through the vagaries of the way the world throws curve balls or from my own brain having a meltdown.

This latter, fortunately, is happening less and less, at least on any level that is appreciable by most, and to a significant degree that’s down to hard work and bloody mindedness to not let depression derail my coping mechanisms, checks and balances.

Another significant element is the support and love I receive from my partners – particularly relevant as we approach Valentine’s Day – who continue to inspire and uplift as we bumble through life. I have no hesitation in saying that the parts they play in my life both contribute to my state of happiness and give me a gentle kick in the pants when that happiness is a little more elusive.

I just wanted to acknowledge that really. I’ll let you get back to things now