If you had have asked me 3 years ago what being vulnerable meant I would most likely have said weak, scared and at risk of abuse. Brene Brown changed all that for me. In 2013 I had what can only be described as a breakdown. I could put nicer words to it, but the reality is I lost it. Big time. I had always felt as if I walked a very fine line with depression and anxiety and had previously managed to hold myself together, for the most part anyway.
All of that changed in November 2013. As my psychologist so eloquently put it “you were always going to have to turn around and face it, it just so happens that the time is now”. And face it I did. I had to admit to being vulnerable, needing help and support and yes medication. I so didn’t want to go there, but I know there is a good chance I either wouldn’t be here today, or at the very least I would not be functioning at all without as my integrative doctor put it “a trickle of serotonin”.
At my first appointment my psychologist discussed vulnerability with me when I was adamantly declaring that “I do NOT do vulnerable”. He suggested I watch Brene’s famous TED talk The Power of Vulnerability and it changed my life forever. I bought all of her books and devoured everything I could that she had produced. I use her work extensively in the courses I deliver. She seriously rocks my world.
Fast forward to about a year back and I decided to discuss my vulnerabilities, anxiety, depression and my food addiction not only with the closest of friends and family that I had previously shared with, but other people and I took the most vulnerable step of all to write about and share it here, on the internet, with the whole world. It was part of my healing, was very cathartic and the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life – ever ever ever ever.
Being vulnerable is not easy, it takes great courage and I have huge admiration for people who live vulnerable lives, especially those who do it publicly. It isn’t without it’s challenges and it has meant being hurt more than I wanted or expected to be, but I wouldn’t change a thing. One thing that has been the most challenging and troubling in my entire life is the intrusive thoughts that anxiety drills into my brain. I had only shared them just this past year very anxiously with my sister and my best friend. I recently shared them on another occasion, but I won’t do that again. It’s just too painful. They are hard, they are unstoppable, they are relentless and they are incredibly hideously awfully painful. Oh I wish the brain had an off switch, but sadly it doesn’t, so I have to learn to manage them the best I can.
Writing about my anxiety on here makes me feel incredibly liberated and free and I will continue to do so. Interestingly I had a troll on Facebook the other night who made some really hideous comments and then added the fact that she thought I should see a psychologist as if it was an insult. Well – yeah. I’m not writing about cupcakes, lollipops and unicorns here. I’m writing about my darkest thoughts, deeply personal stuff and I write for me. If I can help even one person to know they’re not alone and they are not the only person in the world to have terrifying scary and frightening thoughts that make you wonder how your own brain could do that to you, and that you should be locked up, then every single bit of it is worth it.
One of the things I love that Brene says is that we all need a “move a body friend”. That’s the friend you can call anytime to do anything for you without question. I am blessed to have that and I told my friend the other day that she was that for me. So grateful! We all need a move a body friend. I love my friends and I would do anything for them. I hope I’m move a body friend for someone too.
As I reflect back on my life I’m reminded of relationships that have come and go and concluded as many relationships have an end date. I have been thinking of some of my darkest deepest secrets and whether they remain safe with those souls. If I choose to open up my darkest places and thoughts I need to know they will stay safe in the vault of their mind. I feel for the most part I chose well. If I didn’t then that is ok, as I am being as open and vulnerable as possible and mistakes are all a part of living a vulnerable life.
Right now I’m in hospital. Please note well that this is NOT the point of this post, and I don’t want to go there yet. The reason I mention this is that I’ve got plenty of time to ponder and I’m thinking about the people in my life who know I’m here. They are a very small handful. I am incredibly thankful for that very small handful of beautiful souls who know me well, support my choices and care deeply for me and my health. Not that I care about people knowing, but being in hospital is not something I usually share with the world. I did accidentally share something about buying a nightie for hospital on Facebook the other night, as I thought I was sharing it in a private group, but before I knew it people were commenting and I realised my mistake. The nice thing was that people were genuinely concerned and making sure I was OK. I am OK, I am great in fact, and I’m so thankful for people who showed their genuine love and concern for me. This has been a long time coming and I am absolutely fine.
I will continue to be vulnerable. I will continue to live life without regrets. I will continue to age as disgracefully as I possibly can.
I will continue to embrace my one courageous life.
Biggest love to all of you. ❤