Why Reaching Out to Others Online is SO Important

 

It might well seem as though I have my shit together. That I’m always relentlessly bouncy and uplifted with the positive mantra I try to express. I certainly believe that the only way to live a happy life with true inner peace, is to live with gratitude and always with the glass half full. But as my post “Why Loneliness is my Biggest Motivation” shows, it’s not always the case.

I actually never intended to write that post. But sometimes, you have to go with your heart. Writing for me, is as much a cathartic process as it is to inform or to create. I want to help others; those with anxiety in particular but also anyone who is at rock-bottom or in a rut.¬† But I now realise that I have a lot of stuff I need to get off my chest. Things that I’ve never opened up to anyone else about. Being lonely is one of them. It wasn’t easy for me to write that post because, more than anything, it’s embarrassing to admit you have no close friends. I think part of me also, if I’m honest, felt a little anger and jealousy.

I see so many people complaining, often with good justification I should add, about their problems online. But then I notice that they almost always mention that there is someone in their life who either makes them feel better, or who is just there. A husband, a wife, a child, a friend, a “rock”. And I’ll be honest, it pisses me off! Because I would give ANYTHING to have that person to confide in. So I wrote that post as much in frustration as anything else.

But I’m so glad I did. The emotions were raw and I think it came over more powerfully than the other posts, where really, my only intention was to try and be positive, hopefully inspire but also kick some ass into action! I’ve tried to portray myself as someone who is strong and has overcome adversity and is positive and go-getting. Partly because I want people with anxiety to see that they can become the same. But also I guess because there is a lot of baggage in my life that I didn’t really want to delve into. Not through fear but just because I didn’t see the point in opening up about it.

MESSAGE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

If I had kept my emotions under-wraps, I would never have received the most wonderful message of encouragement at just the time when I needed it. I have had lots of lovely messages actually; emails from readers mostly in search of help. But this particular person didn’t want or need anything from me. She could’ve easily just read my post, clicked off the blog and not thought about it any more. But she didn’t. Instead, she took the time to personally message and tell me how she was moved by my post. And that was all I needed to hear. All I needed to think;

“Keep going Tim, it’s worth it”.

All I needed to lift my spirits and feel that I wasn’t totally alone.

It was more than a flippant gesture, more than a random act of kindness. She deliberately took the time to show me, with her actions as well as her uplifting words, how my own words had made her feel. As a writer, I cannot tell you how much this means. It’s why we put pen to paper (OK, finger to keyboard, but that’s not very romantic, right?!). More than anything, I want to elicit emotion from my readers. If I haven’t done that, I feel that I’ve not done my job. This kind-spirited individual shone¬† a light on that realisation. And so much more.

This beautiful person made me remember that THAT is how you make connections. By opening up and showing the soft, vulnerable nature that exists inside. That’s a strength in itself.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m still gonna kick the ass of everyone who has anxiety (in the nicest possible way!) to get them to realise that the power already lies within them to defeat it and that it CAN be crushed and very quickly. But I understand also that I need to give more of myself. It’s not easy for me to do that because I’m used to fighting my battles alone.

 

VULNERABILITY

I’m exceedingly lucky and grateful to have parents who are both around and love me and support me. But I never truly 100% confided in them about my struggles because I didn’t want to be a burden. Also because I didn’t really know how to explain how fucked up I was inside! So, with no friends to confide in, I just went through the trauma alone. So I’m used to doing everything alone. Unfortunately, that makes it difficult for me to let people in.

So when you don’t even have to let someone in, they just force the door open and stride emphatically through, not with a blunt edge but with a delightful, effusive, open manner, it makes it so much easier.

I couldn’t possibly remain restrained or tight-lipped in the presence of this soulful human.

She made me want to open up more and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

  • I will talk about my assault and what it was like to go through that.
  • I have never really spoken about my best friend, who committed suicide. But if I can tell that story and it helps someone else? Then I have to.
  • I have never spoken at all about my race and how that affected my anxiety growing up. I think it’s time to open up about what it’s actually like to be mixed race.

So this post is partly for me to encourage you to reach out to others every now and then. Also, if someone reaches out to you, don’t ignore them. Because you don’t ever want to be in a position where no-one wants to help you. And who knows, you might make an amazing connection. But mostly, this post is to say thank you to the young lady who made my day and has changed the course of this blog – and who knows, maybe even my life.


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