I Thought I Was the Only One

One wonderful part of being vulnerable for me is that it allows me to release emotions that help me become, for lack of a better way of saying it, more me. Every time I tell people about my mental health, or struggles with queerness, or body image, or parenting, or anything at all, I feel I retake a little bit of what makes me me. I do not feel worse when I talk about things that are hard for me, I feel better.

It is amazing what being vulnerable allows you to do for others too. Sharing small pieces of yourself helps others see those small pieces of themselves reflected back at them. I have seen this done for me by others and I really enjoy getting to give this small bit of work to others as well.

Something about having fears makes us think we are alone in having them. No matter how common we later find out they are, at the time, we cannot ever imagine anyone else having so much trouble doing Thing X. We can feel shame for feeling this way or silly for feeling this way or like we cannot talk to anyone else for feeling this way because feeling this way is an indication of brokenness.

This is why we are so often burdened with thoughts like, "everyone else is able to do Thing X, why is it so hard for me to do it!"

I do this all the time. I do this for phone calls. I do this for going to parties. I do this for standing in lineups at the store. I do this pumping gas. I do this waiting in line to pick up my meds. I am not exaggerating when I say that super simple daily tasks take a lot out of me. It can be really hard to do some very small things. It really amazes me that many people just "do things." 

I think about these things at really weird times too. I will think about them when I am on elevators or laying in bed watching The Witcher. I'll be driving down a highway at night and suddenly think about how people are able to order a hamburger without getting nervous about whether or not the person taking their order is going to ask a question that throws everything off. 

When I share my stories online, almost without fail I get messages both publicly and privately saying "I thought I was the only one, thank you for sharing this."

I love having these conversations with people and try to have them with anyone who reaches out to me because they are always the most heartfelt and authentic conversations. Most of the time I have them they are with people I have never talked to before. This is the kind of thing that happens with vulnerability. You can build a deep relationship really quickly simply by sharing something that someone else has never had someone else than can relate to with.

These conversations are the least stressful conversations I can have with someone. They are energizing to have. They are fulfilling for both of us because they remove isolation for everyone.

It feels really, really awful to spend time in your own head feeling isolated.

It feels really, really wonderful to spends time with someone else.

We are very rarely the only one. It is okay to not want to share your story with others, you are not obligated to share your story with others. But I want you to know that yours is not the only one like yours. It is unique to you for sure but there are other people experiencing what you are.

I will happily keep sharing my struggles and my stories of progress so other people can see that I have a hard time doing what 95 per cent of the world sees as easy. I will answer any messages people send not just because I want you to know that I see you but because I appreciate that you see me.

It is really nice to know we are not the only ones who are going through something and I am really appreciative of everyone out there who has taken the time to be the second one in my story.