Outer reality vs the internal reality

Maybe the outer reality vs the internal reality can line up every now and again? Remember, our time on earth is short – so do check in with those you care about.

For all my life I have grown up understanding the importance of family. Or at least it was all I ever wanted. I can remember this being a desire of mine since before the age of six. To this day, I can’t explain why it has been such a mighty force inside me, it just has. Despite my uncertainty, I do however, have my suspicions.

Firstly, my mom grew up in a large family, and with that came huge gatherings, especially on special occasions. I suppose when one is under the age of six, these gatherings seem magical, almost fairytale-like. Aw, the age of innocence. A stage of life that I would give anything to have back. All I was capable of in those days was wearing happiness blinders.

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When you are at an age of imagination, it’s all wonder, it’s a captivating force and everything is perfect. However, the reality is more of a sad tale. As I aged, I would come to learn that there were constant family feuds and clashes that were very toxic to, well, everyone involved… Some stopped talking while others pressed their thumbs into the already-gaping injuries left from years of infighting. This revelation laid a blanket of depression and disappointment over me and poisoned my view of a loving family.

Second, reason has a lot to do with the way I am wired. I tend to be a highly sensitive person. Therefore, its most well-known trait – empathy – plays a role, or at least I think so. This caring little boy was always seeking out affection from the people that mattered most. Sadly, all I ever got was “Not right now” “I’m not a hugger” or “I’m too busy.”

Now, it must be said, that there’s nothing wrong with not being a hugger, and parents are often really busy folk. However, these realities were of little help to me. I guess the outer reality, vs. the internal reality being at odds is the best way to sum it up. As a result, I have always felt lonely and isolated.

Fast-forward to my own family.

Today I have my own family -also splintered and full of its own challenges. See, my family is a family of divorce. Despite this, though, I have done my best to nurture the importance of family within my children, at least in the way I understand it to be. Life is short and precarious, therefore I only want to make every moment count.

This, as you might expect, has been met with the external reality – a truth that says everyone is different and that despite what one may want, others have their own preferences. Still, I have never found solace with this fact.

Coming down with PTSD was like a tornado tearing a neighbourhood apart. It just destroyed everything. Today the family dynamics have a wedge driven through them as I live with my folks and now the kids are living with their mom. A fact that kills me… F#$K PTSD.

While I accept this to be fact, the little boy in my wants nothing but to be close, loving, and involved in each other’s lives. Sad to say, the above-mentioned circumstances have made this exceedingly difficult. Now, from sunup to sundown, I feel heartbroken, isolated, and alone.

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Friendships in the modern world.

Right off the bat here I must say that I have an exceptionally good support system of friends. They are all amazing. Thank you all! My value of wanting to be close to family extends, not surprisingly, into my friendships. Why? Again, probably because of the way I am wired. Anyways, while I consider myself extremely fortunate, there is a sad reality about the social dynamics of friendships. Once again, it’s the external vs internal reality.

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I feel like over the last ten years there has been a real preference for people to become isolated from others. We can blame the regular culprits, internet, social media, gaming etc. “Just plain busy” is one reason that has a lot of validity to it too. But for me, the question should be “What is this isolation doing to the health and well-being of us, our friendships and society as a whole?

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While I can’t speak for anyone else who has a mental illness, I can say that for myself, I find modern times sad and lonely. Perhaps what’s most perplexing, is the lack of engagement with friends. “Everyone’s so busy” is true. However, with modern tech, those who think of you as a friend can reach out easily. Yet despite this, I have only two friends who reach out on a regular basis.

The rest, I must initiate contact with every time. Some respond, many don’t. Sadly, this includes my own children. When PTSD comes with feelings of mistrust and an apologetic disposition, this wreaks havoc on my mental health. Honestly, I have never felt more alone in my entire life, and trust me, I have spent a lot of it feeling alone.

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Furthermore, if left alone to stir in my mental mess, I conjure up some wonderful thoughts – thoughts like “What have I done to make people upset with me?” One sentence that convinces me I’m somehow only worth avoiding. Similarly, it’s common for me to feel isolated simply because of the value I place on friendship and family. Also, it’s just plain sad that we deprioritize those who mean so much.

What we as humans need most to thrive, we have moved away from – connection with others.

Jonathan Arenburg.

With all that said, is it really that difficult to say hello to someone you care about? Don’t your faithful friends ever cross your mind? If so, given the frailty of life, is really being too busy a good excuse? Plus, you never know – simply taking the time to say, “Hi, how are you doing?’ may be a lifesaver for someone you care for. In conclusion, maybe the outer reality vs the internal reality can line up every now and again…? That would be wonderful.

Categories: Behaviour and Personality, Depression, Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness Month, PTSD, The Road To Mental Wellness- the book, Wellness Store

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