I must have started this post a million times. First I wanted to write about it being the season of giving, but because of the stressful situation with my son, I am not really feeling the spirit of Christmas. That made my thoughts travel on different roads, such as my own personality, and the things currently happening. As thoughts do, they jumped from one thing to the other, until I came to the conclusion: I am a giver, not a taker.
Uncomfortable with receiving
Throughout my life, I have had difficulty with receiving from others. I still do. Whether it’s that someone wants to help me, or when they give me a physical gift, I just don’t know how to react. I feel embarrassed. Uncomfortable. I don’t know how to react. I say thank you, and then double guess myself. Did my thank you sound sincere? Should I have used different words? Maybe I should’ve thanked them twice?
That’s how I feel with receiving physical gifts, but I also feel uncomfortable with receiving kindness from others. I can’t just let go, and accept the kindness and support, even when it’s much needed. No, I go on and play down my own circumstances, making it sound less bad, or just tell everyone ‘it will be okay’ even though my heart is breaking inside, and all I want to do is curl up under a blanket and cry. I do cry, but I hide those tears from everyone, even from Master T. I don’t want to cry in front of others, because I don’t want to ‘force them’ into giving me their kindness and support.
Being a giver is easier
The other way around, where I give someone a physical gift, or when I treat them with the kindness, support and understanding I see they need, is so much different. I feel no discomfort. In fact, I love giving small gifts and seeing the joy someone else feels in receiving.
On Christmas Eve I went to visit my best friend in the afternoon. Remember the beanie and scarf I had made for her? I still needed to get it to her, and this was the day I had it with me. I had wrapped it separately, and first gave her the beanie, keeping the other package out of sight. She left the room to show her husband the beanie, and when she came back, discovered the other package on her chair. Oh the joy in her eyes, the happiness… that’s what makes me happy!
But, it’s not only giving physical gifts that make me feel good. In supporting others, I always try to put myself in their shoes, and give them the kindness and support they need. I want them to feel they can lean on me in their difficult times, that I am there to support them. And, I don’t help and support them because it makes me feel good. I just do. It’s just part of me. Giving to others is imprinted in my DNA, receiving is not.
Always thinking of others
Being a giver, and having difficult with taking, is not always a good thing. You see, I don’t only downplay my own problems, my own mental health with friends and family and turn it around to focus on them. I also do it when I go to the psychologist. It takes a really good one to break through the barrier, to understand that I am hurting more than I am letting on.
This year, 2020, I developed panic attacks because of bullying. I never fought it. I just stepped away. Panic filled my head. There was no room to think. No room to analyze what was happening. I still don’t have things clear in my head. Still suffer from panic attacks, and even more so now with all the stress surrounding the mental health situation of my son (short version: he’s on the brink of being admitted to a psychiatric ward as he’s becoming more and more a danger to himself).
It must’ve been somewhere in June that I started thinking: maybe I should contact the psychologist. I mentioned this to a friend, and she urged me to do so. I still haven’t. I still feel it’s not serious enough. That I can handle this myself. Deep down I have my doubts, but outwardly I am putting up a brave smile and telling others I am okay; I can handle it. I find excuses why I don’t have to seek for help. And believe me, the (semi) lock-downs have been a welcome excuse! Or ‘others need it more than I do’, and lately: ‘I can’t go now, can’t be weak, because my son needs me’.
And yes, I know the analogy that I have to put on my own oxygen mask first, and I used it with my son many times, that he needs to take care of himself first and forget about others. It’s always easier to give advice than take your own, right? See, give and take again. I will much rather give than take, and it seems I do so, even ‘at the cost of’ my own mental health.
There comes a time…
But, don’t worry — and yes, I do recognize I am downplaying it again — there comes a time when I do seek help, when I make the call to the psychologist and make the appointment. I know I have to take care of myself too, and not only for myself, but also for those who lean on me.
Until I get to that point, I will keep on listening to Master T when he tells me to go take a nap, or to sit on the couch so we can watch a movie. I see the concern in his eyes, and because I don’t want him to worry about me, I listen when he tells me to do something so I can take care of myself. And when that doesn’t work anymore, I will get professional help, and try to take something for myself.
Until then, I will keep on giving, as that is my default mode.
© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay