It happens every year around the anniversary of my father's death. I start feeling a bit apathetic, a little depressed, and a little anxious. It didn't help that I felt like people were dumping all of their problems on me and then disappearing once they "deposited" their problems into the human vault that is me. It's an unfortunate pattern with me; many friends only touch base when they need to unload and then I don't hear from them again until they need another round of venting.
After being physically drained from the dehydration, infection, and the consequent side effects of the medication, I wanted a little break. I wasn't going to get it with July 11th (anniversary of my father's death) coming up but I wasn't expecting to get overwhelmed with everything else that happened. Between the dumping of problems, various other comments about me and others (read: gossip), and feeling, well, almost bullied into doing things I had no desire to do, it's amazing I didn't have a full blown panic attack.
The dam burst around Thursday/Friday. I sobbed. I vented my own frustrations to my poor mother who had to deal with a daughter who was fed up. "I'm tired of people judging me," I cried. "I'm tired of being pushed into doing what I don't want to do. I'm tired of people make snide comments. I'm tired of..." the list went on. She let me cry because she knows I occasionally need to emotional release when I'm overwhelmed by others' problems. Does this happen often? No, but it happens more often than I'd care for.
After I let all that pent up frustration out I did something I had been working up the courage to do: I was honest when someone upset me. I started doing it even before I read this article on Introvert, Dear. Instead of just bottling it up or pretending I was okay, I told whoever upset me that I wasn't happy. "I'm upset right now... let's take a break from this conversation," was my mantra this weekend. The reactions were varied. Some chose a very passive-aggressive route. (Thanks for helping me identify it, all those psychology courses I took as an undergrad!) Thankfully, I have incredibly understanding people in my life. It became quite clear who I could count and whom I couldn't. I only talked to two friends this entire weekend -- both incredibly patient and supportive guy friends whom I trust implicitly. I took a break from most things until I got my thoughts and emotions sorted out.
A beautiful thing happened during this time: my spiritual dryness lessened considerably and my eyes were opened. As I immersed myself in prayer after feeling somewhat apathetic for weeks, I began seeing that certain situations had been pulling me away from God and my prayer life. A number of things I have to go to confession for came as a result of these situations. The worst in me was being pulled out by certain friendships. When I took a breather and really saw what was my fault and what I couldn't take "credit" for, a peace settled in me. Furthermore, I saw which friendships brought out the best in me; which challenged me to become a holier and more humble version of myself, one who was more aligned with the kind of woman I'd like to be. With perfect timing, the chaplet of St. Michael Archangel I'd custom ordered from Allison arrived when I had this breakthrough. Well played, God. Well played.
Even though most of us are out of college (and then some), there are a couple of things that don't ever go away as we get older; things we think will die in college. Recognizing that we occasionally need to look at our friendships and be honest with ourselves is something I periodically do but it's never easy. You develop a camaraderie with people who may lead you down the wrong path or whom may be all wrong for you. I'm still learning that it's okay to say "I appreciate what they've done for me but it isn't a healthy friendship for either of us" (because I DO take into consideration what I bring into the friendship for the other person). I'm learning to not feel guilty for realizing that it's actually an act of charity (to myself) to do something for myself; something that will help keep me on the right path towards holiness.
I have a massive mountain to climb in the next couple of weeks, but I'll keep my beloved Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati's words in mind: "Verso l'alto." I must remember that I'm striving towards something that will be hard to obtain yet eternally rewarding: Heaven and sainthood. I can't do that on the path I've been on lately and it's going to take a lot of emotional suffering (on my side) to make things right. Well, the path to Heaven is not easy one but one I'll gladly suffer through to reach the destination.
That's it from me for now. I hope the temperatures go down a bit so I can make the last Mass of the day. I hate missing Mass so fingers crossed. In the meantime, I'll go read a book. :)
I hope y'all had a lovely weekend. :)
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D