Navigating Emotions & Relationships

Navigating Emotions & Relationships

Hey there,

I woke up from a bizarre dream the other night where I was observing a woman eating at a restaurant across the road. She was sitting on what seemed to be a communal table with her headphones on, yet was talking non-stop to everyone around her. 

She was incredibly rude to wait staff. In fact, I'm pretty sure I muttered, "What a dickhead." in my sleep. Haha! 

She then drew her focus to the woman sitting across from her, and said, "Are you okay? You look stressed." The woman then went on to opening up about what was going on in her life, as though she's been holding it all in for so long and finally someone has actually asked her if she's doing okay!

While the woman was talking, the "rude" woman began to slowly get out of her chair and walk off. I felt so sad for the woman who was opening up, and in that moment, is when I woke up.

I was up thinking and analysing this dream for an hour or so, to the point where I had to start writing notes in my phone, otherwise I would never end up going back to sleep.

It was a good example of how society is running at the moment; very individualistic

There were a few points I had written down...

  • The woman who appeared obnoxious could've been an anxious and lonely person herself, and while she was talking non-stop to everyone, she wasn't willing, nor had the capacity to be there for someone else.
  • Capacity to be there for other people has decreased due to a lot of factors; such as busy lives, compartmentalisation and self-awareness. Obviously these are just some examples.
  • People post a lot on "R U Okay day", but won't necessarily check in on their loved ones. I can be guilty of not checking in on certain people myself, which is why I don't really engage in 'R U Okay day', because I'd feel like a hypocrite. I do however believe it's a wonderful initiative with a great message behind it! I check in on friends and family as much as I can though, but whether it's enough... I can't say for sure.
  • Not holding space for someone to feel heard doesn't necessarily attribute to depression and suicide rates, because that can be quite complex and involve an accumulation of things. However, it wouldn't be helping either.
  • We live in a society where people want to mind their own damn business, and that's understandable because everyone is going through their own struggles. However, because of this, and because we're so closed off and it's not accepted to talk openly, we're quite individualistic and potentially a bit self-absorbed at times.
  • I've heard from many people coming from different cultural backgrounds, that when they move to Australia, they end up feeling quite lonely because there isn't really much of a community feel, because everyone is focused on their own issues and live busy lives where you need to schedule in advance to catch up with friends (generally speaking). 
  • We're becoming more aware of how we're feeling and knowing what our capacity is, and learning to set boundaries. In turn, are we also blocking each other out when people need us the most?
  • Everyone has different needs and different ways in coping, whether it's needing space or needing people.
  • There are positives and negatives around awareness of what we're feeling and what our needs are. This can possibly trigger loneliness in others.

As you can see, there are a lot of back 'n' forth over different perspectives here. Self-awareness is a fantastic thing to have to be able to understand how to navigate your own feelings and emotions, and knowing the best way for YOU to deal with them and release them. This can also mean that at the same time, a loved one maybe going through something themselves who NEEDS to be around people that they can talk to. THIS is when it can get tricky. 

How can we help fill someone else's cup when ours is running on empty? Sometimes it helps people to HELP someone else, HOWEVER, on the flip side, it can drain them even more.

There just doesn't seem to be a right or wrong here, because everyone's struggles are different, and everyone's coping mechanisms & needs are different.

I think the important thing here is COMMUNICATION.

While some people may struggle with this one, communicating your needs to one another is super important, and so is having a PLAN.

I know the plan part sounds a bit silly, but writing down questions (in no particular order), such as;

  • What is the best way I can bring myself back to baseline?
  • What do I need in this moment?
  • Who is in my support network?
  • What professionals can I utilise in this moment?
  • What can I do if no one is currently emotionally or physically available?
  • What emotions am I feeling right now?
  • Are these emotions directed to anyone in particular or a situation?

These are just a few examples of questions that you can ask yourself in that moment. It's not realistic that someone who is in a very dark space mentally has the capacity to be able to stop and question themselves straight away. It does truly take time, patience and practice to get into the habit of it.

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Extra context: I actually wrote most of this post back in early October 2023, and never ended up continuing it. The reason being is because while I had saved it in my drafts, I had a communication breakdown with a friend. I realised while this was happening, that the dream was in a way a bit of a warning to me. You see, whenever I confided in this friend I felt dismissed quite often but brushed it to the side because I didn't want to face the fact that I didn't feel supported by her as she was a close friend. However, I felt I was putting a lot of energy towards supporting her whenever she wanted it. I didn't realise until this particular issue arose that the dream was in fact about our friendship and how I felt like I wasn't being supported, heard or even considered. It felt very one-way.

During our disagreement, she showed a lack of gratitude towards my friendship with her, and in fact ended up throwing it back in my face. I was incredibly affected and hurt by her words as I felt TIRED. I felt so energetically and emotionally exhausted from putting a lot of energy into supporting her that I had neglected to realise that it was okay for me to need that support from a friend too. I felt if I had posted this in that moment, then it would've definitely escalated the issue more than it already was unnecessarily escalated. Instead, I was thankfully able to separate from the toxicity of the friendship. I wished her all the best and hope she is doing well. However, I had to realise that her happiness was not my responsibility, and that the effort you put into someone or something IS a choice, and it was in fact my responsibility that I had allowed her to take advantage of my friendship. Sometimes you may be thrown so many signs your way, but you just want to give people the benefit of the doubt. 

I was speaking to a friend the other day, and said while we are aware of abusive and toxic intimate relationships, people don't put enough emphasis on manipulation and emotional abuse in FRIENDships too. The reason this is important is because it can very easily lead you into abusive relationships as well. Just like your parents/carers being role models to you from a young age, what you're willing to put up with in a friendship can often reflect what you may end up perceiving as "normal" in the way an abusive partner treats you. 

As I've previously been in abusive relationships (a long time ago now), it can take me a while sometimes to understand what's actually going on. My intuition will kick in, however, because for so long I was told that things were "in my head", it was very easy for me to brush things aside and in fact convince myself that things were actually "in my head." I do feel this is very common with survivors of abuse.

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I would like to end this post by sharing some mental health resources with you all.

Australia

Immediate Danger (Police - Emergency): 000

Lifeline (24/7 Crisis Support): 13 11 14

Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)

More Resources through: https://mhaustralia.org/need-help 

*For those overseas, I'd love for you all to share the appropriate resources and helplines specifically for your country as well please :)

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It's tough in a society where not everyone has the capacity to be there for one another the way each individual needs, but please know that while everyone is going through something in the world, that you'll never be alone no matter how lonely you may feel in the moment. Someone loves you and would miss you dearly if you were no longer around <3

Sending love to you all.

Love Nush x

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