Alone. With tears. And never giving in.

Sometimes it’s tiring, trying to be a wonder-person.

Life is tiring. Life’s trials and tribulations are tiring. Trying to be upbeat all the time. Inspiring others. Getting done the things that need to get done. Living in debt. Being hungry. Being cold. Working to get work.

Being strong.

Being independent.

Keeping up the appearance of the happy hero that I’m supposed to be.

It’s tiring. And, on nights like tonight, it keeps me awake. Self-pity takes a hold and I know that, ultimately, I’m just another of life’s losers. Inherently a broken person.

A lonely, broken person.

Why tell you this?

Not because I’m after a flood of sympathy. Heavens no. I don’t enjoy that at all. I really don’t. Please don’t do it, kind people. My fear of sympathy is why I’m increasingly inclined to keep my worries to myself. But… too many of us don’t share how we feel when we feel miserable – for all kinds of reasons. We really don’t want to court attention. We don’t want to burden people who have problems of their own. We feel weak for feeling sad – feeling sad when there’s no ‘proper’ reason to be so. We feel a failure for not managing on our own; and/or for letting others down. We feel bad because we know there are so many people in the world experiencing suffering the like of which we could never countenance.

We don’t share because no one likes a whiner.

But, it’s a horrible thing, to be alone with one’s tears; with one’s despairing thoughts.

So my main reason for deciding to get out of bed and write is to tell you, dear reader, that when you feel this way (as so many of you do, from time to time) you’re not the only one. And it doesn’t matter how whatever’s troubling you compares to the troubles of others. Even if you’re feeling low for what you consider to be no great reason, your pain is your pain, and it’s real, and it hurts.

Sure, it can help to count your blessings and remind yourself of all that is wonderful in your life, but, sometimes that feels like a trite exercise. I have heard it said that we can ‘choose to be happy’. Perhaps that’s true for some people. I can usually find moments of happiness even during the most difficult times, and I do subscribe to the practice of focusing on the good, but, I can’t bring on the happy as though flicking a neural switch. Would be nice. I guess I’d get more sleep!

There’s a quote that flies through the ether, attributed to Plato, that goes something like this; be kinder than you feel you need to be, for everyone is fighting a battle. ย I keep this in mind, because I know that however together, strong and happy a person may seem, they could be a swan – serene on the surface, feet paddling like crazy underneath. Likewise, if people are grumpy or unpleasant – who knows what’s going on for them, what dreams and hopes they may have, what they may have lost, what’s led them to feel disillusioned with the world.

Life is hard. Even when it’s not too bad, relatively speaking, it can still be a struggle to get through the day.

I have no magical advice for how to make things better (other than Talk to Someone! which is very important, and you should), but, so far, I have managed to weather the dark patches. For my ability to pick myself up, I am grateful to Churchill (who had his own Black Dog). Every time I’ve fallen, or feared I couldn’t manage those next few steps, I’ve recited his litany from his speech at Harrow:

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never.

And now I’m up, and have unburdened myself to the world wide web, I shall have tea, and spend some time nursing my sad self.

After all, she needs to be strong again tomorrow.


12 comments on “Alone. With tears. And never giving in.

  1. Thank-you for writing this, it’s exactly what I needed to hear…or read, I should say. You’re absolutely right, though, being happy isn’t as easy as some people make it out to be…personally, I have to wake up every morning and tell myself to just try and be happy.

    • Thank you. I’m glad it was helpful. I think Laura makes a good point further down. It’s about living with compassion and emapthy, and giving or receiving energy as you can, or need to. Good advice. x

  2. Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~ It is true and there are times when some of us forget this truth. Unburden yourself as much as you need too and I hope a restful sleep will renew your strength to carry on tomorrow. It will be a new day, and I hope will bring on a fresh outlook as well.

  3. Thank you for your honesty. Most people I know who are doing good in the world and being a positive presence aren’t doing it from a “happy bunny” perspective, but from compassion for people’s suffering and challenges. When I feel “up” I make the most of that energy by engaging with other people who might need some “up” energy – and when I feel down I use the energy to connect to my own sadness and other people’s – to develop compassion. Do what you need to do and know that, up or down, you occupy some very important space in the world. x

  4. As someone who often has to wrestle their own black dog to the ground, I know what you mean. And I wish I had a solution to pass on, but I’ve never found one. As the years go by, I’ve just got better at hiding it when it’s upon me, and just accept that at some point I’ll come out the other side again. And I always do. A bit stronger each time. I know that’s small comfort, but sometimes that’s all it takes to get you through the long marches of the night.

    • Thanks for sharing Phill. It’s sort of comforting to know so many other people have troubles. And you’re right, it does pass. I’ve learned also to avoid the people likely to bring the bad mojo and hang around more with the good guys. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Thank you for opening up that of yourself which most of us keep to ourselves hon. I have had a dark passenger accompany me throughout most of my life but I also know that it is not WHO I AM, nor does it define me.

    There’s a fantastic Buddhist quote that stays with me always: –

    “Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard these both as facts of life…”

    I know that in life everything is transient, so whatever is raining (or maybe sometimes even reigning) I keep in mind that this too shall pass.

    Nowadays, rather than ‘trying’ to pull myself together or wallow in whatever dark place or mood I may have I invite my proverbial enemy in for a cup of tea. I greet my mood, allow the painful feelings their chance to be heard and then allow then to pass on through, neither drowning in them not denying them passage onwards.

    I feel so much better for recognising this as a significant use of these emotions because it reminds me that I am alive. I laugh, I love, I feel sad and even though every now and then it might break a little, my heart still beats.

    Big hugs partner, please don’t feel like by talking to me you’re garnering sympathy, I’m here no matter what x

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. I also love your post about where to go to gind companies to noycot and the girl with stickers! I’m a mental health activist and meet some amazing people who inspire me. I’d like to add you to that list.
    I suffer from depression, the people who’ve met me since I moved to London see the good in me when my depression is bad and I’m grateful. Sadly my friends back home have a fixed idea of me and do indeed see me as whining or being weak so as you write I don’t tell them when I struggle anymore.
    On bad days my black dog has tangled up long hair, un-clipped nails and a ravenous hunger. On good days my black dog is walking to heal with a turquoise collar and turquoise streaks in his brushed hair ๐Ÿ˜‰. May I share this blog post on my blog? @FionaArt

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