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Giving my soul a chance to heal. Tuesday March 25, 2014

There is lots of good advice out there for those of us who struggle with our mood and emotions. However, often it's of the 'go and have a cuppa with a friend' variety. This is good advice, and there is much truth in the old adage 'a trouble shared...' But what happens when it's the connection with people that's at the heart of the problem?

As a person who is both sensitive, and an introvert, people are a problem. Often, I feel a deep sense of isolation and disconnection from those around me. This would amaze those who know me; I have a job which entails constant engagement with often troubled people, and I am practiced at helping them feel at ease. I am happily married, with children and a number of friends, people tell me I am approachable, and turn to me with their problems. On the surface, all seems well.

And yet...I struggle to talk about my own feelings, and when I do try to risk vulnerability, people's responses can be problematic. Conflict and criticism often feel like nails down the blackboard of my soul. I spend much time listening to others, but rarely feel heard or understood. And so, I have had to search for alternative ways to form a connection outside myself, and for me that has come through spending time in nature and with animals. When I am upset, the soft fur and inquisitive twitch of my rabbits nose is a soothing distraction. My dog's insistence on a walk gives me a much needed chance to regain perspective through recognising the vastness of this beautiful planet on which we live. When I am distressed, my dog curls up on the sofa next to me, and the simple companionship and friendly wag of the tail offer an undemanding love.

This gentle affection and warmth gives my soul a chance to heal, and renewed, I can face the world again, a little more whole than before.

A Moodscope member.

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carnalily Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 6:26am

Todays post resonated with me, my job means I am constantly listening to others problems . As the oldest child of a large family, I was like a second mother from the age of 6 and whenever I have tried to share issues I have, they quickly get shoved aside by the fact that people see me as a strong capable person who helps others deal with problems not has any of her own.
I too have become ( or maybe always was) introverted, i have never been a party animal but do find solace with my animals :-)
Thanks for clarifying this so eloquently Vanessa- at times I have felt abnormal with it, maybe I am not so much .

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 9:04am

Thank you for this post! I'm facing similar worries and it is somehow a solace to know that I'm not the only one struggling with these feelings. That I'm not abnormal, as you could put it :-)

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 9:15am


I could have cried when I saw your post as it explained every feeling I have. I used to be an advisor and so even now I am retired everyone comes to me for help but I feel that when I have tried to explain to people close to me how I myself are feeling they seem shocked that I am not coping as well as perhaps they thought and seem unable to cope with it and I feel I get little support. I used to have a dog and felt the same way that her unconditional love helped me through bad times. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to have a dog at the moment and miss that wonderful connection. Thank you for your postx

valerie Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 9:26am

I work in animals rescue,and there is no doubt that those who are drawn to such work are much more likely to suffer from mental illness and turbulent home lives.I know of no human relationship that does not come with a price tag-the only unconditional love I have received and given is with animals.I don't even try to discuss how I feel with anyone -I will never feel better as a result,and will probably end up comforting them,leaving me even more exhausted.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 9:35am

Yes, you are definitely not on your own. I too suffer these symptoms, but although we are normal, or certainly not abnormal the feelings stem from somewhere else and need to be dealt with in a specific way. There are many, many books that cover the subject matter you mention. One being Perfect Daughters, and there are others such as Women who love too much. That might give more insight and information as to why we are the ones who put ourselves in a position of fixing others when sometimes we cannot fix ourselves. The small child within who did not get the input they should have done when small, for any number of reasons, and who hugs the animal when unhappy and scared because a parent is not available either emotionally or physically, needs to be heard. We do not have to 'struggle' with these things there are people who are trained to help. It is always worth a try for nothing tried nothing gained!

Caz Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 9:44am

Thankyou for such a touching insight Vanessa-it brought a tear to me eye.I am off work currently with low mood/stress-a job in one of the caring professions-and I completely get where you are coming from.I have spent a lot of my life supporting others but often don't seem to get the same support back when I really need it.My cat has been my main comfort whilst I have been at home and sits beside me as I write.It really helps to hear from others that I am not alone with these feelings.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 9:47am

Vanessa - thank you, thank you, thank you, for this message. I am glad you do get pleasure from your pets - I am sorry that others around you don't "get" what you try to tell them. I hope you feel some comfort from knowing that those of us who have read your message DO get you! And in turn, you have comforted us! So thanks!

Andy Clark Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 10:33am

Depression in itself is an isolating condition that if allowed, can make you become an introverted person, seeking solace in out of the way places away from everyone and everything - both physically and mentally. As it deepens all colour and light gradually drains from your world both in a physical and mental sense. You become a phantom observing everything from a distance, this distance being your defence and solace frm any emotional attachments to friends and family. You no longer have the strength to deal with other people and their wants and needs from you. You have nothing left to give and everyday interactions become overwhelming, confusing and yes terrifying in their complexity. You cannot hope to cope and deal with your own feelings, let alone be able to deal with those of others. Hence the seeking of quiet 'safe' places. If anything I have said here resonates with any of you, seek help and this organisations is as good a place as any. If nothing else, you will find that these very same things that you are experiencing are not unique to you. Moodscope and medication in themselves will not 'cure' you. Some forms of depression are not 'curable' - some forms of clinical depression are an illness that you have to learn to manage through drugs and lifestyle in exactly the same way as those with physical problems have to. But what you will find here is others who are experiencing the exact same feelings and fighting the same daily battles that you are. Sometimes just knowing that and reading about what it is that they are dealing with on a daily basis, makes you feel just a little less isolated and less like that phantom that I alluded to earlier.

Mary Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:19pm

Thank you for a lovely post, Vanessa. I think it is telling that when, fairly recently, I heard of the death of a very dear relative, my husband just sat me down on the sofa and put the cat on my lap before making me a cup of tea. He realised that I needed the cat more than him at that moment. He (the cat) is just behind me at the moment, sleeping on the swivel office chair that I should be using - but he got there first. The comfort of his presence, the soft sound of his snoring, the knowledge that, if I stroke him, he'll purr; is a solace indescribable. Your thoughts have resonated with a lot of people today Vanessa, thank you again.

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:29pm

Hello carnalilly, thank you for your message, your listening skills are clearly valued by many, but its really tough to not feel heard. I'm so glad you have some solace thorugh your animals - they are great listeners too!

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:33pm

Thank you for your reply - you are most definitely not abnormal, it seems there are many of us out there! take care of you!

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:37pm

Thank you, I'm glad there are others of us who can relate to these feelings, and I'm sorry you are not able to have a dog at the moment - I do hope you can find another way of making that connection with animals. Take care. x

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:40pm

Thank you Valerie, it's really hard to not feel able to discuss our thoughts, but I'm so glad you can find that unconditional love, and that you are able to help to provide rescued animals a second chance, thats such important work. x

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:42pm

Thank you! I will look out for those books!

Nancy Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:43pm

In our house when our children were teenagers, you could tell which one had a bad day because then both cats had found their way onto their laps. One could have a good day, a one cat day or a two cat day!

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:43pm

I'm so glad to have brought some comfort! Thank you for your reply!

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:46pm

Hello Caz. Caring professions can be really tough, I do hope things ease for your soon. Its seems you are definitely not alone in this, take care of you, x

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:49pm

Thanks Andy, that quiet safe space you mention is so important, whether physically, or simply inside ourselves. Thank you.

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:50pm

Hello Vanessa, your post for today I feel has somewhat spoken to me. So many times, I feel this way. To my family and friends, I'm friendly, warm, considerate, and easily approachable with a nice smile and big heart. But alot of times, I wonder if those things are simply coverups of what I really feel inside? I often feel like no one really understands much so that I struggle to wonder if I even understand myself. I can listen to others and even offer a tidbit of advice. But I walk still not feeling like anyone truly understands me. When given the chance, to express my thoughts, it usually turns into a catastrophe such as romantic breakup or a rocky friendship. So I choose once more not to voice my emotions for fear of losing someone once again. I look to writing, jewelry-making, and nature for understanding of myself since it seems that no one will ever really understand me.

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:53pm

Thank you Mary, thats kind. I'm sorry for your loss - cats can bring such warmth, and I'm glad you had comfort in a difficult moment. I have been very touched by people's responses. x

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:55pm

How lovely! Thank you Nancy!

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 1:59pm

Hello, thank you for your response, that sounds really tough and isolating, but it seems like there are lots of us out there though? I hope that brings you some comfort, and a sense that you are not alone in this. Take care x

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 3:33pm

Thank you for having the courage to share your experience, it sounds very painful but possibly one I too can relate to. It's heartening to hear you can find solace in your animals; they can be such a comfort to us.

Julia Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 3:58pm

Hi Vanessa. What a lovely blog! I identify so much with your thoughts. The word "disconnected" sums up so well how I feel in relation to even good friends when I feel down and introspective. If this is your first blog on Moodscope, bravo and let's hope it's the first of many more to come (when you feel like writing)

Anonymous Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 4:30pm

Thank you for your blog Vanessa. Just to say that I can identify with the "disconnect" element completely. It is a comfort to me that I am not alone in feeling like this.

Vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 6:56pm

Thank you, it helps to know that others can relate to it!

vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 6:58pm

Thank you, thats very kind. I hope inspiration strikes again soon!

vanessa Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 7:00pm

It is horrible to feel disconnected, and I do hope you find ways of remaking some connections soon. Take care x

Caroline Ashcroft Tue, Mar 25th 2014 @ 8:49pm

Andy, a very thoughtful and helpful response. Have you ever considered writing a blog for Moodscope?

amrose Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 12:28am

Your courage to share ENcouraged many moodscopers today. You shared your true feelings without knowing for sure what would happen next (although I suspect this supportive blog community had something to do with you having the courage to write).
So what I'm wondering is, how was your day? Did it tire or invigorate you to respond to all these responses? Was this an experience of connection or...?
Take good care,

Charles Thompson Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 4:27pm

Hi, I liked the title. ' a chance to heal' In today's fast paced life it's so easy to neglect our inner life especially if we work in one of the caring professions.. As I grow older I realize how I neglected my inner spiritual self for years resulting in poor mental and physical health. I bought into the fact that there was a 'quick and easy solution' to one's problems. A few social drinks to relax, Prescribed medication to fend off feelings of anxiety and depression etc etc . A quick remedy but the root of more problems. I've discovered via moodscope, mindfulness and the bible reading/prayer that deep healing is a daily process. One that is ongoing. There is no 'instant fix' in life. I've learned to be patient, .to allow the body and minds natural processes to work. How to nurture the inner self on a daily basis. The wisdom of the ages teach we need to spend time tending to our own inner being.. I too find tremendous connection with nature working in my garden and just being with my hounds. The simple timeless progression of the seasons. The annual renewal of life.. The unconditional love of my hounds. It's not easy though as society keeps pressing that message 'quick fix easy fix'

Anonymous Wed, Mar 26th 2014 @ 10:08pm

I've always felt alone and disconnected from the world. It's like looking through a grimy window made of armoured glass.

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