How I Stopped Absorbing Other Peoples Emotions and Concentrated on Me

by Sharon Carter-Wray

Being depressed, it’s hard to even know quite where to start, but I do know that a transitional wind has been breezing through my mind, since I gave myself a good talking to at the end of last year. Admittedly, it wasn’t an easy conversation to have, but it was very much a necessary one.  

I now have such clarity on what had been going on in my life and why I’d felt so miserable and alone for most of last year. But more importantly, I can ‘feel’ the good that came out of that conversation, which has put me on a much better path to finding out exactly what really makes me happy.

In spite of all my troubles last year (and there were many), I realised that I was still placing myself way too low on my own agenda, whilst giving others more attention than I should have. I had continued the cycle of always putting other people in my life first, instead of focussing on my own.  

It felt like I was constantly presented with new battles or issues that demanded my full and immediate attention, and it was wearing me down. I’d become caught up in everyone else’s bullshit and personal politics, to the point I was questioning my own integrity. Which thankfully, I can report is still well and truly intact.

My head had become overcrowded, with other people’s nonsense, it had soaked up all my thoughts and all my energy. I had become desperately unhappy again, but I was too afraid to expose this fact, because of the reactions (or lack of) I might have received.

‘There is nothing worse than feeling forgotten about, by the people closest to you.

But it was the thought of seeing myself sliding down that once familiar shoot, which would have sent me perilously over an ‘edge’ I didn’t want to go over; or worse still back down the rabbit hole, that made me take myself to task.

Many years ago, one of my doctors said to me “You need to allow yourself to be ill”, sounds simple, but try it? As naturally we all want to be showing at our best, even though we might not be feeling it, and I guess I had fallen into that pattern of always putting on a good show.

After all, I was (am) a strong minded, independent and determined woman, and that is what everyone chose to see in me, and that is the face I chose to show. So I never let on if someone or something was slowly killing me, I’d never show my vulnerability like that; because somewhere inside of me already knew the pain I would feel if I did. In the past when my moods have slumped, being a typical ‘Cancer crab’ I’d keep myself to myself, get lost in my creativity, and re-emerge some time later when I have sorted things out. And yes, it is still something I do, because when I am trying to figure something out, the last thing I need is other peoples’ interference interrupting the process.

This time, it was all too familiar, but it had gone too far. What I needed was some serious ‘head space’. I needed to do some drastic housekeeping, to clear out all the junk that was still weighting down of my life. I was burning with anger and sadness at the same time. Anger, because I had allowed history to repeat itself & because of my reaction to it, and sadness for exactly the same reasons. It had all gotten too much, I was beginning to feel broken all over again, and I knew I couldn’t be like that anymore or again.  

It was time for me to write. So a couple of days before New Year I finally sat myself down to begin the process. I had no idea how long it would take, all I knew is that I needed to write.

I started by compiling a list of all the things that were bothering me, be it personal, professional, medical or physical, and if they were still current or from my previous life. I didn’t think about each thing, I just wrote it down as it came to mind so that it was committed to paper. I had three questions in mind

  1. Was it something I was in control of?
  2. Could I change it? and
  3. What value if any did it hold for me?  

I’d thought I’d already dealt with a lot of the issues that came up, but it seemed that some had previously just been temporarily swept away, only to crop up, every time I have cause to do this exercise.

But, I went through my random list point by point, asking myself these questions, with this simple strategy to discard them from my life:

If it held no value, or if I could not control it or change it, then quite simply: IT WASN’T MY PROBLEM, IT WAS SOMEONE ELSE’S!  

Yet again, by letting things swallow up so much of my time, energy and peace of mind, I had almost beaten myself to a pulp, when in fact I could nothing about them.

After a couple of days writing down my thoughts, I finally published probably the most painful and longest piece I had ever written on my personal blog (Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind).  

As usual, writing is my way of understanding and ridding myself of ‘outside factors’ or ‘Demons’ that are so damaging and detrimental to my everyday mental & physical wellbeing. I am so glad that I can to do this, because it enables me to make a solid promise to myself, to take care of ‘me’ first and foremost.

One of my favourite quotes comes to mind:

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet” Ghandi.

And I am so trying to stick to that!  Sx

If you enjoyed this piece, you can find more of Sharon’s writing over on her own blog here.

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