I need to be very clear about something.
I share memes about mental and emotional health, not because I’m struggling myself at this time, but because in the past, I either have or would have found the words and information useful and I know others will find them helpful in their now. I still find them interesting, useful and helpful myself too.
At present, my mental and emotional health is the most resilient it has ever been. I have discovered what inner contentment feels like for the first time in my life. I’m also starting preparing myself to leave EMDR therapy in the coming months.
I have emotional weather like every human being. Some days I’m chatty and smiling and laughing. Other days I’m quieter and more subdued. Those days have always been there, but I wore a mask as a way of protecting myself. The mask wasn’t the authentic me. Very few people have got to see the authentic me, especially on my bad days. If you have seen me like that, then it is because I have trusted you to see me as I am at that time.
I rarely wear that mask any more. It’s exhausting to keep on. However, people who are used to interacting with me only via that mask think there’s something wrong with me, or that I’m experiencing mental ill-health.
That is not the case.
Now I rarely put that mask on. The introverted part of me, the part of me that is happy to sit and listen and observe what is going on and being said. Not the mask that talks and talks, barely pausing for breath, all to avoid questions being asked of me that could lead to me being upset. The mask I wore to try to stop people working out that I had very poor mental and emotional health.
People are making assumptions that because I’m quiet and attentive that I must be mentally ill again. There’s going to be a lot of challenges for me as I leave the mask on going forward. It’s already started to be an *interesting* time.
I am not mentally or emotionally un-well. In fact, I am the most well, mentally and emotionally, than I ever have been in my life.
That doesn’t mean I will never experience emotional weather and tough times again; the shifting sands of emotional and mental wellbeing are all part of being human.
What it does mean is that I no longer feel the need to wear that mask all the time. That I feel able to let it drop where I feel safe, secure and comfortable.
It also means that I am able to prevent my gloomy days from spiralling down into a dark pit of deepest despair.
I also am more aware of the person I really am; not the mask I wore to try to fit in, be noticed and survive around others from a very young age.
It’s not easy to let that mask fall. It confused people who have only known the mask, they think I have changed. I am the same person. I just no longer want to wear that mask now that I’ve discovered the parts of me that were buried way, way back in my life.
That I feel safe enough in this word to remove that mask, to show myself and my emotions to others is a testament to how far along my CPTSD healing journey I have come.