Friday, 25 January 2019

Becoming vulnerable

My recent bereavement counselling session highlighted that I have a tendency to talk about events in a way that doesn't reveal the true depth of the emotions that I was experiencing. I've built up walls, or surrounded myself with a suit of armour as a way to avoid being vulnerable.

Although that can be a good thing, it can also mean that when things get really bad, I don't have ways, and don't allow myself, to reach out; to allow myself to be vulernable; to get the help I need. Instead I let things get progressively worse until I reach the point where all I can see is suicide as a way out and then reach out to get help.

Not a good situation to be in because one of these days I won't reach out and, well you can guess the end result...

So why can't I allow myself to be vulnerable, why can't I take off the armour? How do I change that?

For me being vulnerable, opening myself up to people is an incredibly scary thing to do. It means opening myself up to the possibility of hurt and pain, and that is something I find difficult.

In the past I've allowed myself to let people get close to me. I've let my barriers down and they've let me down. The loss of trust is bad enough but the fact that I've opened myself up, let myself be vulnerable, shared parts of me with people; only to find those parts rejected or to find that people were dealing with those parts by treating things as a game. That leaves scars and makes you build up the walls more securely.

Rhys broke through those walls the moment I first set eyes on him. He was my life, he filled my world with love, fun and laughter. Watching what he went through during his life, seeing him in pain, sick, unable to eat, everything that the Leukaemia and tumours inflicted on him, that hurt so much.

It also strengthened the walls I'd built up because I needed to hide that hurt away. I needed to block it off so that I could focus all my strength on Rhys and Tracey. I needed to make sure that they were able to get through everything, and the only way I could do that was to become the rock that anchored us all no matter what. To be the calm in the storm.

From the first moment I knew that there was a chance of Rhys dying I had to hide that knowledge away. I kept that possibility from Tracey and Rhys until we eventually found out for definite that there was nothing further the doctors could do for him and he was given the terminal diagnosis.

Finding out that he was going to die broke through the barriers I had put up and I found myself crying on so many occasions, but the barriers were still there. I kept my tears to myself as much as I could, crying in the car or the shower, or when I was with the hospice nurses and Tracey and Rhys weren't with me.

Today, one of the journals I fill in each day asked the question, "What makes 'me' me"?

In the past I could have reeled off a list of thing. I'm a parent, I'm a triathlete, I'm a burlesque dancer, a photographer, spouse, aunty, so many different things. I'm still most of those but they are things I do, people I'm related to, and they all go towards to describing me, but they aren't necessarily 'me'.

Photoshoot at Clifton Photographic

Crossing the line with Rhys at Outlaw Half: Nottingham

Chilling the day before the Bala Middle Distance

Photoshoot at Khandie Photography

Photoshoot at Khandie Photography

I could take up different hobbies and people would describe me by those, but the core of who I, what makes me 'me', that wouldn't change.With the loss of Rhys I'm faced with figuring out who I actually am, and that is scary because I don't know if I'll like the answer, but I have to work it out.

Finding out who I am means opening myself up, taking down the walls, or as my counsellor suggested "at least making a door in them". It means becoming vulnerable and that is something that I don't know how to do.

For some time I've been following Brene Brown on Facebook. Last week I bought two of her books. I'm reading the first, "Daring Greatly". As I read it I hope I'll find ideas for how to be more open, more vulnerable, and to take the first steps on that journey to discover who I really am, now that Rhys has died.

No comments:

Post a Comment