By Jasmine Roebuck
My journey has taken me in all sorts of directions. However, I’ve only embraced learning about myself in the last 12 months. I’ve been a big supporter of mental health awareness for years. Sadly, I’ve even sacrificed my own in my desire to support others.
I am very guilty of pushing my emotions to the side and putting a smile on my face to be seen as a strong, independent woman.
I find it easier to lock these emotions away and help other people instead, rather than be seen as ‘vulnerable’, which I felt was being seen as weak.
I have learnt over the last few months that it is NOT weak to have emotions or express vulnerability. There is strength in this and I’m flipping that mind-set on its head slowly but surely.
I spent so many years thinking I couldn’t be seen crying or be open about experiences, so I just got on with my life suppressing them and being seen as the ‘logical one’ in my network.
Supporting my friends and family is a huge part of who I am. I felt that if I wasn’t holding my s**t together then why would they trust me to support them? ‘How can someone who is emotional and struggling with her own experiences be able to help anyone else?’ I would think.
I chose helping others over asking for help myself. I dislike the word regret; however, this is one thing I wish I had started changing sooner.
I spoke to a close friend about these ruminations. After I had time to analyse why I felt this way, part of me did not know what to expect when I approached her about it but I know this particular friend is extremely supportive and her response was exactly what I needed to hear.
She told me that no matter what she would be there for me. She reassured me that everyone has things going on in their lives so I should not be ashamed to speak up if I was having a bad day or needed a chat.
I did not doubt any part of her response but just to hear those words reassured me no end. The way my mind rationalises this is strange. It’s almost as if I must have permission before ‘venting’ or discussing negative emotions with a friend. I end up invalidating my own experiences and overthink before I open up.
On the one hand, for me to feel comfortable sharing my negative emotions then I must make sure I am not overstepping someone else’s boundaries and that is the right thing to do. I am learning that on a daily basis as I don’t want to make anyone’s situation worse.
Conversely, I must also make sure I don’t compare my experiences to others. I need to feel comfortable in opening up without thinking someone else’s trauma is ‘worse’ than mine.
I found that for me to feel comfortable sharing then I had to have a full understanding as to what or why I was feeling those things to ensure I have all the answers, if questions were asked.
My mind is slowly learning that it is ok to talk and that I can choose who I share things with – it isn’t an overnight fix and I know I won’t be able to just discuss negativity with anyone! I also do not have to have all the answers.
I find it laughable (now) that I am the first person to advise my friends, family and small social media followers that talking and sharing your problems will help – it is not weak to speak. How hypocritical of me?
Now I have finally taken that advice I can back this up and say that talking does work wonders, even just to lighten the load a little.
I am working through my own experiences and I know that soon I’ll be able to share the lessons learnt from my ‘story’ in a deeper way but I know for a fact I would not be in the position I am right now without talking. Hopefully this is a great start.
If anyone is struggling to talk or doesn’t know who to talk to or how to reach out, I am always happy to have a chat – as cliché as it is, my DM’s are always open.
Jasmine is an experienced Event Manager; currently studying for a BA(hons) in Business Management.
Read more articles like this in our Experiences section.