Kelly’s story will undoubtedly resonate with many of you; trying for years to push away what are so readily perceived as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ emotions, led Kelly further and further down a path of despair.
It was only when Kelly realised that there were gifts in her emotions; messages nudging her back onto her Soul path, that she learned to embrace them and in turn love herself.
Journeying through pain was not something that I had anticipated would be such a big part of my life. Like many people, my life has been filled with challenges, from being painfully shy and self-conscious as a child to experiencing a lot of loss from deaths in my immediate family.
I guess I just thought I could simply find an escape route, something that would take the pain away.
My first way of dealing with this pain was avoidance. I did this through overeating, drinking large amounts of alcohol, to looking for escape in the arms of men. This was how I lived for 30 years or more.
Distraction came in many forms, and even came through the spiritual journey by me hopping on the ‘positivity bandwagon’, thinking I could bright-light the darkness away with affirmations and visualisations.
I think the day it hit me that all these distractions were no longer working was the first of many times that I considered suicide. I remember lying in my bed wondering why I should continue living; I could not see a reason why.
In my mind, I simply believed I was a complete failure. Nothing worked for me and I was not fitting in with the ‘norm’ of what I perceived I should be doing in my life at the time. Sitting in bed one day I hit my head with any object I could find near me, to knock the pain away.
This felt like the only option. I never contemplated suicide deeply, but it remained an escape that I often considered.
Depression, anxiety and the failure story that I had believed for so long, really wore me down, until I started practising mindfulness. I began to see a pattern in my thoughts, repeating over and over again.
I could see that those thoughts were an illusion, not real, but I still couldn’t fully embrace what was happening with the compassion that I knew deep down I really needed.
That was until I lay in my bed during a lengthy dark period of depression and through tears and crying into my pillow I screamed out loud, ‘Why is this happening? What is the gift here?’
And what I discovered was that the answer came in the form of space. It was like a pause that took place inside of me, that the space between the pain and the next thought gave me an opening which showed me that this feeling, this pain, was not all there was.
I had found the right question.
Before, my question had been, ‘What is wrong with me?’ but ‘What is the gift here?’ – that question stopped me in my tracks.
As humans we are encouraged to rush through life, making happiness our goal or receiving momentary pleasures. We are shown that to be happy we need certain things, stuff, people, material objects to live a worthwhile life, but it’s not true.
These momentary pleasures are simply filling the void that needs entering from within. The gap, the journey, the time when we are genuinely and wholeheartedly giving ourselves space to simply be with whatever arises, regardless of how painful it is, is the key.
One major recognition came for me when I realised that the thoughts of wanting to escape from the pain were the very things causing the struggle, but that there was no struggle when I stopped and allowed the pain, the pain that needed to be felt, to be witnessed, to be held, to be owned.
We are far too keen to grab onto happiness or joy or peace, and we desperately want to rid ourselves of pain, fear, anger, rage and sadness, but life in its wisdom knows that our attachments to these emotions is perpetuating the suffering we feel.
I used to hate who I was. I envied those who seemed to love themselves, have self-confidence and felt happy with their lives. I yearned so much to love who I was and to feel enough, but in my attempt to escape the darkness, I missed the very road into the jewels that lie within the pain.
Like diamonds that are born in the darkness of the earth, it is often the sorrow, the anger, the fear, that brings us our greatest challenge but also our greatest learning.
Once I started to view each feeling as a long-lost child in an orphanage of rejected emotions, I began to have compassion for myself, for the feelings that arose and for my journey. I began to realise that the pain is not meant to be pushed aside or that sorrow or fear will be something we can get over and never feel again, was very freeing.
Suicide, leaving this planet, while it was tempting, always brought me back to here now and I knew somewhere inside of me that real peace comes from acknowledging all that we feel with the kindness we would show a hurting child and more importantly, to know that when joy or love appears at our door, it is as fleeting as sorrow or anger.
To let go of holding on or pushing away means that true transformation can happen. We emerge from our stories into a new life where the meaning of living becomes deeply rooted in allowing our humanity the sacred grace that it deserves and needs.
My life has been very unconventional and because of this it was very easy to get lost in feeling like a failure, not fitting in, not belonging in this world.
I often thought someone had dropped me onto the wrong planet many times over, but even now as I enter another time of not knowing who I am, where I am going in life, in my early forties, after ending a big mental health radio station project, for the first time at the end of what would have been perceived a tremendous failure in the past, I see only appreciation.
I feel pride in what I had accomplished and in my knowing that with each ending comes a new beginning and that all perceived failures are not failures, but successful stepping stones on the road to who we are growing into and becoming.
We can never know where this life will take us unless we choose to continue on. What may look like a painful ending, be it a relationship, a job or business, to a health challenge, could be the exact journey our souls need to take to become exactly who we are here to be in this lifetime.
So, for this reason, while thoughts of suicide may arise from the pain of depression and other mental health issues, we need to keep going and to know that life is very wise, even if our human minds may think otherwise at times.
We were never born into this world broken or as a mistake. We just need to look at the rest of the world and see that everything and everyone has its place in life from the clouds in the sky to the creatures at the bottom of the ocean. Nature is one beautiful grand design and we are part of this design.
Keep walking, one step at a time. It never ends and neither do you. Trust that what is happening in your life right now is sharing with you some wisdom that you may not be able to understand right now, but you will, at exactly the right time.
Kelly Martin is an author, blogger and mental health podcaster who lives in Gloucester in the UK. She feels it is her role to help people feel good enough exactly as they are right now.
On her journey through the darkness Kelly also published two books to support people who feel lost or like a failure in life (more coming soon!), visit her author website kellymartin.co.uk to find out more.
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