by Robyn Jones
I knew something was amiss in the world at an early age. I struggled to understand why people didn’t want me to be how I felt inside, which was; strong, tender, sensitive, delightful, insightful, lovely. Instead people around me gave me a lot of signals to be anything but all of that. They wanted me to comply, to not ‘rock the boat’, to not speak truth or challenge what they said, to stay quiet in the background (be invisible) and not cause trouble, and most certainly to not be ‘difficult’. So, to a big extent I did all of these things that were directly or indirectly asked of me. But I felt terrible, and I didn’t know how to go back to how I used to feel as a young child, and so I started to feel anxious. I felt lost, and this felt scary.
So, for almost thirty years I did what I could to get through life, all the while still feeling lost, with the anxiety ever increasing, and not knowing how to help myself.
I went to all kinds of practitioners – all kinds of doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, kinesiologists, reiki practitioners … and more. I even went to university and studied psychology. Nothing truly helped.
By the time I was 26 I was exhausted and desperate. I ended up initiating a nervous breakdown because I had just about given up completely on ever feeling like myself again. At age 28 I was hospitalised with a massive allergic reaction and my central nervous system on the verge of collapse (with no apparent physical reason that could be found by the doctors). I was treated for the allergic reaction with the treatments that were available at the time. These helped me get back on my feet, with an adequate amount of physical function that was enough to get me through what had become one agonising day after another. However, nothing had changed around my feeling lost and anxious in every moment of every day. I thought this was going to be the way my life was to be until I died – and honestly, quite frequently I really looked forward to that day so the agony I was feeling would stop.
Four years later I met a very wise man. He showed me how to re-connect to myself, to the part of me that I thought I had lost. He has since supported me to strengthen this connection to myself – firstly by being himself, and secondly by presenting different ways for me to heal myself (to let go of all that is not me, which I had accumulated along the way from trying to be what others around me wanted me to be).
What has been shown to me, very clearly, through my redevelopment, is that I had walked away from having a foundation of my true self, and instead walked towards building my foundation from what everyone else wanted me to be.
I was therefore living, or more accurately existing, from a foundation that was unstable, as it kept changing every time someone’s expectations of me changed. Therefore, I had to adjust to the new conditions, and this then applied to every person I came into contact with. If I was in a group I would basically be constantly adjusting how I thought I should be in order to meet everyone’s expectations. Wow! That sounds exhausting and anxiety provoking, doesn’t it? Never really knowing what you are doing or who you are meant to be.
Today I am more ‘Me’ than I have been in a very long time. The intense anxiety I used to feel has decreased significantly, and I even have moments of no anxiety – and these are increasing in their frequency. Replacing the anxiety are feelings of natural strength, fragility, insightfulness – all the feelings I remember having as a kid. I am also slowly getting my healthy body back. This will take some more time, as the many years of stress and anxiety my body has endured have taken their toll, but nothing has shown up yet that cannot be reversed by a good dose of self-care, true love, and medical assistance when necessary.
Original article published on September 2012.