Saturday, July 25, 2015

How are you?

How are you?
What's going on?
What's up?

It's funny how many times you can be asked those questions, but yet, never really give an honest answer, besides the one that happens to be the most convenient to you and your desires at that moment . Or, the one you think other people want to hear or expect to hear from you.

So much of our own image tends to be carefully constructed sequences and conversations with others that portray who we "want to be" and what we want others to think we are. Why can't our conversations be more in-depth and these interactions be about our true self?  Meaningful, important and caring interactions are one of the true pleasures in life and I really fear that we are losing those.  

Why am I writing in-depth about my feelings about human interactions on this blog?  Well, it's simple.  I've always felt that writing your thoughts down really clarifies a busy-mind and more importantly, deep-down, I want people to connect.

Here's the impetus for this blog post:  

The past few months we've been tackling the sleep deprived, weary, no fun monster in our household called Post-Partum Depression.  Exhaustion and lack of sleep are the main culprits for my wife and I, and with our youngest child finally sleeping through the night, the light at the end of the tunnel has been reached.  But man, that tunnel sucked.

Being in a career where there is an expectation for you to be funny, witty, happy and excited most of the time, you create a persona partially molded by people's expectations of you.  I reached the point where I could no longer always be true to that persona that I'd created for other peoples pleasure.  I looked around for someone to talk to about the Post-Partum Depression my wife kept reminding me I was experiencing, she wanted me to talk to someone about it.  Why the hell was it so hard for me to admit I had it and just talk to someone?  First off, everywhere I looked and every person I thought about opening up to, I would make an excuse about why they couldn't help and how they wouldn't understand. Secondly, it's tough to open up that part of your life to other people not knowing how they'll judge you.  You can really work yourself into a corner.

A lot of my delay in reaching out for help stemmed from a place of telling myself, "things will slow down", "I'll work my way through this", "I don't need help, I'm self sufficient".  Boy, was I wrong.  I finally realized I needed professional help when I felt little to no emotion around my second daughter when she was a few months old, which hurts me to even write.  Even then, I still thought I could fix it myself.  I'm stubborn.  Finally, after a few days of being in "fogs" like I've never experienced and never want to again, I realized it was time to ask for real help.  

Opening up to a non-judgmental ear and trained professional in discussing my post-partum depression experience has done wonders.  I, too, had fallen into the stigma that seeing a therapist meant that I wasn't strong enough or that I just couldn't work through my responsibilities.  Let me tell you what, having two kids under the age of three, without a family member within a 12 hour drive is the absolute hardest thing that I've ever had to do.  Talking to a professional made me understand that these are remarkably difficult, yet rewarding times and that this is nothing out of the ordinary and nothing to be ashamed about.

I guess what I really want people to take from this story is that finding a listening ear and asking for help in these types of circumstances aren't signs of weakness.  They, in-fact, are actually signs of strength.  Strength comes from recognition and knowledge and knowing how to improve your situations.

So, the next time you feel like no one is listening or that most of the questions people ask of you are empty, understand that it just takes that one person to connect with that makes things so much better.

P.S.  I'm doing much better, the kids are great, we read and play as much as possible and I love them more and more everyday and I can't believe how happy they make me.

P.P.S Sharing this is no one's idea but my own.  I feel it's important for me to open up and connect more. To be honest about what's really happening in my life.  To try and find meaningful, connected and caring conversation and relationships.