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  • Maeve Waite

    Maeve Waite

    24 year old work psychologist, mental health advocate and future dachshund owner. occasional writer, baker and photo taker. posts have been featured on time to change and mental movement magazine, and I sometimes like to write all lower case.
    Oxford, UK

    Feeling Something.


    I'm at the point in my life now where one thing I've realised that's so important to do, is to reassure people that whatever they feel is valid. It's ok to feel pissed off/angry/fed up/confused/happy/sad etc over whatever it is, even if someone else can't get their head around why.

    A lot of times when speaking out about my mental illness, I've been met with anger and annoyance, or even complete indifference. It's made me feel like my feelings didn't really matter, or that they only caused pain and annoyance, like a burden.

    After a while, this begins to seep into the rest of your life. I felt that if nobody really cared to listen to what I felt, why should they care about what I have to say? And so, I became known as a quiet girl, often with the word 'conscientious' written on my report cards at school. Being conscientious isn't a bad thing, but I came to resent it, because that seemed to be the only word to describe me. I knew there was more to me, but I didn't feel comfortable to be myself, or to be honest about my feelings.

    Things changed when I met my ex-boyfriend 7 years ago. While things didn't work out for us in the end, I'm still grateful that I could say at least for a short time, I had someone who paid attention to me without trying to offer advice or solutions that hadn't been asked for. I had someone who listened fully without judgement and sometimes, that's all you need. Therapy helped me for the exact same reason, and if I could afford to have a session every week, I would.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that now I realise how so many of us - those with mental illnesses and those without - probably underestimate our own feelings because we feel they'll be rejected or laughed at or brushed off like they don't matter. Any feeling you feel is valid because you felt it. It doesn't matter how much people will put you down, call you crazy, laugh at you, shut you out, or even just how quickly they'll change the subject - your feelings matter.

    This culture we have of brushing over everything - the British stiff upper lip especially - is rubbish. When we degrade feeling, we make it harder for those who can't cope with their feelings to reach out. We might even lose people for good.

    I don't ever want someone to feel as I have done because it's not true. It's easy to tell you to ignore what they say and 'you do you', but when you need help, that doesn't help. If you feel you can't talk to anyone about the most hidden of feelings - write it down. Journaling has become so helpful to me these last few months and I'm sure it's prevented so many anxiety attacks.

    One last time then: feelings matter, even yours.

    M x

    I'm at the point in my life now where one thing I've realised that's so important to do, is to reassure people that whatever they feel is valid. It's ok to feel pissed off/angry/fed up/confused/happy/sad etc over whatever it is, even if someone else can't get their head around why.

    A lot of times when speaking out about my mental illness, I've been met with anger and annoyance, or even complete indifference. It's made me feel like my feelings didn't really matter, or that they only caused pain and annoyance, like a burden.

    After a while, this begins to seep into the rest of your life. I felt that if nobody really cared to listen to what I felt, why should they care about what I have to say? And so, I became known as a quiet girl, often with the word 'conscientious' written on my report cards at school. Being conscientious isn't a bad thing, but I came to resent it, because that seemed to be the only word to describe me. I knew there was more to me, but I didn't feel comfortable to be myself, or to be honest about my feelings.

    Things changed when I met my ex-boyfriend 7 years ago. While things didn't work out for us in the end, I'm still grateful that I could say at least for a short time, I had someone who paid attention to me without trying to offer advice or solutions that hadn't been asked for. I had someone who listened fully without judgement and sometimes, that's all you need. Therapy helped me for the exact same reason, and if I could afford to have a session every week, I would.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that now I realise how so many of us - those with mental illnesses and those without - probably underestimate our own feelings because we feel they'll be rejected or laughed at or brushed off like they don't matter. Any feeling you feel is valid because you felt it. It doesn't matter how much people will put you down, call you crazy, laugh at you, shut you out, or even just how quickly they'll change the subject - your feelings matter.

    This culture we have of brushing over everything - the British stiff upper lip especially - is rubbish. When we degrade feeling, we make it harder for those who can't cope with their feelings to reach out. We might even lose people for good.

    I don't ever want someone to feel as I have done because it's not true. It's easy to tell you to ignore what they say and 'you do you', but when you need help, that doesn't help. If you feel you can't talk to anyone about the most hidden of feelings - write it down. Journaling has become so helpful to me these last few months and I'm sure it's prevented so many anxiety attacks.

    One last time then: feelings matter, even yours.

    M x
    . Thursday, 19 July 2018 .

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