Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bottled

I'm an expert bottler.

You know the sci-fi channel movie of Alice in Wonderland? Where they're taking human emotions and distilling them into 'teas'?

It's like that.

Only my bottles would look something a great deal more like, "Stress", "Heartache" and "Depression".
I grew up in a culture that believed in sweeping problems under a rug and not talking about them. There are matters to this day that my family--my extended family--will not talk about or pretend doesn't exist.

Of course back then I was young enough to go along with it without knowing what exactly was happening. And despite some truly horrible things/experiences--I was an exceptionally happy child. I was perhaps a bit lonely at times--but I had my family and my imagination and while neither were perfect, I was relatively content with both.

And then puberty hit.

Both of my siblings suffered from bi-polar, manic depression which struck, as it tends to, around high school.

So when I also rolled around to that age, all eyes were on me. Waiting. And then proceeded a 4-year long lesson in tough love. And I learned about emotional manipulation, I learned about what people will say or do to get what they want, I learned what it meant to have someone you love not respect you and vice versa. I learned there was a great difference between my beliefs, my friends beliefs and definitely my parents beliefs. I felt different and alone. When I brought up this concern to a church official--oh back when I still went to church every Sunday with my parents--I was quietly accused of "trying to not fit in". And so I grew depressed and sunk inward.

And my parents started asking questions. But not the questions I had answers for. They started asking if I was tired all the time, they started prodding about all the usual symptoms, it was never a "Did something happen at school?" or "Is something going on you need to talk about?". And at some point during my routine denial, I decided something incredibly stupid. Instead of sitting down with them, having a heart-to-heart about what was troubling me--the many things that they were--I bottled it.


My parents were (rightly so) concerned that I had depression like my other siblings--they wanted to make sure I got the help I needed, if that was the case since I had always been such a happy person. My mother especially would have always been open to hear me talk, so to this day I'm a little bewildered why I chose to clam up. Maybe I just didn't want to add weight to her shoulders.

My mother's a damn rock. I don't think we'd have much of anything if she wasn't the foundation. But she also doesn't get a lot of time for her as a result and I guess... I don't know.

The point is, bottling is stupid. Pretending to be okay when you aren't, is stupid and extremely damaging. My brother bottled--he didn't want to talk to a therapist, he didn't want to get help and he's gone because of that.

So I'm attempting to get a little better. I'm attempting to reach out and open up and be a bit more honest about when I'm having trouble. And as a result I occasionally post something vague on my social media. Usually facebook.

So really I think the weird tie-up of this odd ramble is to simply say, before you make fun of someone for that trend of behavior--give it a little thought first. You'll know them better than I do, so I'll leave the final judgement of how to respond up to you--but from my own experience... it's an attempt to reach out... without really knowing how to go about it. Or it's something I actually can't talk about--but need to vent out the emotion so it doesn't linger and percolate.

Yes, there are people who may just be looking for attention. But I think most of the time someone just needs to talk and isn't sure how to start the conversation.

10 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear of your brother's passing. It took a lot for me to seek therapy, maybe too much. I'm glad I did though. I think it's good to find a relaxation point. For me, looking at a star, or clouds helps me, or singing. Wish you the best.

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  2. I feel your pain Kiri. My parents are religious too. And it's been tough for my siblings and I to grow up in a conservative household, in a liberal country. Ever since I was a kid I questioned things and never actually believed my parents' religion. I grew up sheltered from friends, had a hard time developing my own identity and social interaction. After finishing highschool and a couple of jobs later, I slipped into a serious depression. The hardest part is coping with the outside hate, guilt and violence. Fortunately it's less now than it was in my childhood. So I can focus time and effort into my own person.

    SJ.

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  3. As someone else that wrestles with depression and bottles it up, I understand the need to vent all too well. If you ever want to rant to someone who won't judge let me know. Phone email chat whatever you need

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  4. As a person who rarely lets people see what's going on inside, I really appreciate this. I know lots of people describe themselves that way, and oftentimes if you're willing to say that much about yourself, it makes the statement seem untrue just by the contradictoriness of the confession with the sentiment expressed but... I don't know. It's good to see people you admire being honest, I guess. It sucks to feel alone.

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  5. I can relate. There are things I can't talk about with my family, mostly out of fear of being judged or worse rejected. I feel at times I'm the only one who feels this way. Usually results in insomnia for myself, I know for others its different. Maybe things will get better for both of us. Much love Kiri.

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  6. I had started to write something here, but it eventually got so long that I did not want to post. Suffice it to say that years ago I got locked in my head. Normally I am a very quiet individual, and even when something is bothering I don't like to talk about it. I don't like drawing attention to myself, but even for me I need to find help sometimes and it is the scariest step. I'l confide in a friend before I go to my family, as I am closer to them. I used to bottle things up and I think it contributed to what eventually happened, and now I bottle up the smaller stuff and talk about the scary stuff. I like to think it makes a difference. I wish I could trust therapists. I'm sorry for rambling.

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  7. It's laudable that you should post on this subject it takes incredible strength to talk about these things in such an open forum. Far too many suffer silently under the mistaken idea that they are alone in the midst of these detrimental thought processes and that bottling it up is the best answer. Depression has made foul the last 5 years of my life personally and were it not for the support I got from family and friends when the floodgates finally opened about 12 months ago I don't know what shape I'd be in today. I still get bouts of it now and then but it is offset tenfold by the moments of catharsis I feel when I come across people brave enough to open up about it when it would be easier not to. I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you for being brave enough to share.

    P.s Sorry about the punctuation commas and I never really did get along :)

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  8. oh man being depressed is a bitch but it becomes less of a bitch if you talk about & the fact is many people find it easy to bottle up there emotions like myself when my dad passed away me & my brother as usual just bottled it up because we had to be strong for our mother oh by the way kiri i know it was about 3 weeks ago i forgot to say thanks for letting me rant about my dads death to you on twitter my twitter handle is @jt_shadow35

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  9. This is a beautiful entry. A wise person once told me "it's okay to me sad." I'm sorry that you hurt, but you're right, it's far better to show it.

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