Friday, October 17, 2014
Lately I've been thinking a lot about how we each have our own journey to make. Often our paths parallel or intersection people around us but we're never truly sharing the same experience, the same path. To each our own.
That sounds simple enough but it gets complicated when those closest to you find themselves on rocky sections of their path. If you're like me the urge to help and to fix the situation is overwhelming. Almost like a sneeze I'm overcome with the impulse to plot a detour or give them tools to ease their journey but it's not really my place.
I've tried to help others along their journeys before and it rarely helps anyone, only causes stress for all involved. Pressure, grief, invalidation, disappointment, frustration for all involved. Very rarely have I been able to truly help someone and I think the reason is that very rarely people actually ask for help-it's thrust upon them.
Recently I gave my sister advice about supplements and lifestyle changes for mental health and I found myself swamped with feelings of frustration and disappointment. She wasn't asking me for advice because she was ready to change or truly wants to help herself feel better, she was asking because my mother had pressured her to do so. I knew that it didn't matter what I said, without my sister making the decision to improve her life no advice could help her, and it made me sad.
There is unfortunate pattern in my family that seems to enable mood disorders. Not only do we overall lack the skills to live a healthy lifestyle conducive to our mental health, those lifestyles prompt cyclical breakdowns. Instead of coping with the root of the issue my family seems to bury the issue until these breakdowns crop up and then respond with a characteristic "rescue response" instead of addressing the harmful patterns.
This happened once again with my sister this week. She didn't take care of herself, was driven to a breakdown and my mother drove across the state to perform her classic rescue. It seems to have gotten my sister in with a college counselor and addressing her overloaded schedule but it strikes me as a bandage and not a turning point. This crushes me.
I hate to see my sister struggle over and over. I hate to see my mother struggle over and over. My brother and father seem to have established routines to maintain their health and it makes me wonder about the differences in the sexes as well as the female heritage of my family and patterns of self-punishing behavior.
On a similar note, my best friend's journey remains rocky and a sister-in-law seems to be wayward. Seeing these people struggling to find their happiness haunts me with sadness. I fight the urge to help and fix but ultimately realize that their journeys are their own and solely their responsibility.
Having been lost on my own rough trail before I recognize the self-defeating patterns but maintain hope for the ultimate turning point when they decide to take care of themselves. Sadly some will go their entire lives without committing to this self guardianship and will maintain their patterns of sadness and breakdowns for the rest of their lives. I hope that this won't be true for those I love, but I recognize that it's not my burden to carry. I have my own journey to manage, my own commitment to honor and my own changes to make.
Some people's journeys are more winding than others, so while it breaks my heart to see those around me in pain I am at least grateful that I have found the light in my own life and am walking in brighter days. I still have a ways to go but I finally feel like I'm on the right path and with a heart light with anticipation any terrain can be traversed.
In other news I've been listening to a birth webinar conference all week and it's been giving me a lots of ideas and "ah-ha!" moments about pregnancy and birth. I hope to have another full post about those ponderings soon.
The cats and dog are getting another round of wormer right before we take off for the babymoon (time flies!) and we've got a busy few weeks ahead of us. I've started doing ornaments again and thankfully my pace has picked up and I'm feeling comfortable again. I do have to be careful about sitting for too long or my pelvic pain flares up and I have to be mindful about bringing good snacks and drinking lots of water while I work so it'll be an interesting year.