The Unexpected Birthday Blues

Yesterday, on my birthday, I felt sad and depleted, yet I knew deep down that somehow God would be at work. I trusted that the day would bring a silver lining to my cloud.

A few "Happy Birthday" texts rolled in. I held onto no attachments to having to feel "happy". Disappointment is always the result of an attachment to an outcome.

Confronting Past Trauma

These past couple of weeks, I've written two articles on narcissistic family scapegoat abuse, and it's brought up a lot of painful memories as I delved into some of the mob-like, bullish behaviours I had to endure. Through the writing and putting my energy towards the painful past experiences it brought about a wave of sadness.

My birthday came as a painful reminder of having no contact with my family of origin.

The Reality of Narcissistic Family Scapegoat Abuse

I'm well aware that most families are dysfunctional, but narcissistic family abuse is on another level entirely; most don't even recognise it exists. To leave one's family of origin and all known connections is a decision nobody would or does ever take lightly. Staying means complete death to the self, and so leaving is the only option, but not without a deluge of painful mental challenges that follow. As our human nature is to survive, we are left with no option other than to leave.

Honesty and Emotional Acceptance

Back to my birthday, I allowed the waves of tears to ebb and flow throughout the day, and I showed up with complete honesty to close people and friends. There's the thing about 'mental health' and what it means. It is allowing and accepting there are always periods or days when we can and do feel lower.

The Misconception of Emotional Expression

From a young age, many of us are mistakenly led to believe that expressing our true emotions is a sign of weakness, leading to a sense of shame about being emotional. This perception of vulnerability, or the misjudgment of being unstable, is often the result of early conditioning by parents and teachers. It's no surprise that people feel the need to conceal their genuine emotions to avoid being stigmatized.

The Power of Emotional Release

Allowing ourselves to feel and experience our emotions, brings us clarity of the mind, with the profound ability to often resolve our inward problems. Attempting to control, prevent, and stop what needs to shift and move never resolves the inner conflict or the inevitable clarity that comes naturally after allowing the storm to pass through us.

Mental Health as a Workout

Just as you exercise your body at the gym, it's important to exercise your mind. Some workouts are challenging and painful, while others are easy and enjoyable, this is pretty much how life works. We readily accept gym workouts bring levels of discomfort, yet try to escape rather than embrace the mental challenges.

The Myth of Constant Happiness

The constant pursuit of happiness is a myth and may contribute to the struggle many face with mental health, leading to thoughts like, "I shouldn't feel this way, what's wrong with me?"

Genuine mental health is accepting that the lows are inevitable and there to propel us upwards again, they show us clearly what's out of integrity in our lives. I've grown to walk towards the lows and fully embrace them, even if I am sobbing my heart out. God really does make me drink my own medicine that I dish out, and it works, even if it is a harsh experience at the time.

Authenticity in Mental Health

Mental health is accepting and allowing for the low points, not avoiding them, they're absolutely necessary. The problem is most people don't want to show the low facets of their personality for fear of being judged. For me, it tells me you're beautifully human, and something is out of alignment in your life.

The Importance of Genuine Connections

We’re not creating a pity party, we are allowing ourselves to show up whole, taking the mask off, to be yourself. And, if you're judged for that, it really is time you seek better friends and people to be around.

Faith in The Journey

We are human beings, not machines. Know that storms are inevitable, they always pass, and trust God, your higher power is always going to bring you exactly the right people and circumstances at any one time when you let go and get out of the way of yourself.

Bittersweet Conclusion

My birthday miraculously turned out to be bittersweet with an amazing silver lining and lesson of growth just as I trusted it would. Thank you, God, I love how you work in the most mysterious and wonderful ways.

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Footsteps of Hope: 500 Miles to Unite Through Grief
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