A bad grade at school: sadness. The last episode of your favorite series that started when you were born: sadness. Donald Trump: sadness (and a huge fear !!!). But sometimes it happens that a cold flow comes from the stomach that reaches the lungs and makes the breath so heavy. You look around: your mother is cooking lunch, your dog sleeps as usual, there is a beautiful sunny day outside. You have already finished your homework, you have a girlfriend and there is nothing going wrong. But you feel this anxiety and you can’t manage it. And the step to feeling very sad is short.
Remember: your feelings have a source, always! If you are sad, anxious or depressed and everything looks good in your life, there is still something going wrong, most likely inside you! To make you understand this better, I want to show you my personal experience. I have a bachelor in philosophy. After graduation, I had no idea what to do for my future. But I only knew one of my biggest desires: to live abroad. The problem was that I didn’t have enough money to look for work in another country (travel, accommodation, first expenses, etc …). Thanks to a search on the web I found the European Solidarity Corp, briefly explained, a type of international mobility with which a voluntary organization offers you free accommodation, reimbursed travel and pocket money.
I was so happy when I found this kind of experience because I considered it to be the solution to all my problems. Finally I will have a life away from my family, with my money, to follow all my dreams and hobbies. “Maybe after this experience, I will find a job in the Europe”. And you can imagine my joy when Simon Comunity chose me as a European volunteer. I will live with other guys from Germany, Spain, Italy and even Seattle. For such an outgoing and curious person like me, this opportunity has appeared like a paradise. Make friends and talk about our countries, our cultural difference, go together to have fun … a dream that would become reality.
But when I got there, I felt absolutely nothing. The guys were so friendly and nice, the city was so pretty, I was able to find activities to do, things to visit etc … but nothing. My head was always lost in his thoughts and it was impossible for me to enjoy the present. I was mad at me. Try looking at the beauty around you, thinking about how beautiful the people who live with you are, your evening at the pub with them etc … Nothing! And over time, the bad things that were there begin to arise (because every kind of experience has good and bad things). And anxiety and sadness began to appear in my life, and from nowhere I start to come in a rather sad state of mind.
I have spent my first three months swinging between positive and negative moments, but I’ve never felt true happiness, I’ve never noticed how beautiful things around me were. And to make things more complicated, this stupid heart decided to try something for an unrequited love. My first crisis came during a Cork workout. I cried like a baby for hours while I was phoning my best friend who lives in Naples, the city where I come from. And in that moment I learned my first important lesson: if another person and not you, ask you why you are sad, it is easier for you to find an answer. My roommates, who were training with me, from the first moment asked me why I felt bad. And I lied to her because I didn’t have the courage to talk to them and because I didn’t have a clear idea of my sadness. But thanks to this question, thanks to their interest, I started thinking and I found a weak but very important first answer: them.
In fact, due to the question about my feelings, my brain started digging and in a short time revealed me some mental images, my memories of the past two months. My roommates were so delightful as they talked, smiled and found a collective mood with which they had fun or discussed important matters. It was so complicated for me to try to go into the discussions and often my participation was so unsuitable, sometimes rude or not easy to understand. In recent months they have acquired their own language, their own dynamics and I had to hang on for my moment and perhaps it would never have come. And the worst part is that they were (And are still now!!!) friendly and kind to me. If they had been fucking assholes, I would have accepted the situation without problems. Precisely because they were so good and nice to me when I needed their help or support, I felt out of place.They were like a desire object impossible to reach.
Hence, at that moment, I decided to do something I had never done until then. And the specific moment I did it, I noticed I had never done it. I never opened up, expressing my feelings. I have never admitted it to a friend or relative: I am grieved and for this reason. Thank goodness, I pluck up the courage to admit my feelings because they were capable to explain to me what was going on. I was just the newcomer and everything in my life was changing. I was incapable to take my time, mainly because I was used to making friends in my language, so quickly. For this reason, it seemed to me in my head that I was unable to socialize, but it was not true. They told me that nobody in the house had problems with me, and everyone had a great respect for me.
Trust me, this conversation aided me a lot. Foremost, I enjoyed the training. Even today, I still have a fond memory of this experience. I had much fun with them, thanks to the security that their speech gave me. After this training, my stay at home has improved a lot, as has my friendship with roommates. Furthermore, without knowing it, a new path of awareness has started. In fact, this is only the beginning. You can’t imagine what happened in the following months. I will tell you, on this blog, in the next few days.
Now, what can I suggest, through my personal experience?
1) If you are sad or do not feel the happiness you believe you should enjoy, ask yourself if there are problems.
2) Talk to your friends about your feelings and make an effort to explain why you are depressed. In this way, you will let your mind dig and find out.
3) Open up yourself with respect but honesty.
4) Face your fear! If it’s embarrassing for you to admit to a person that you’re sad, do it anyway!
5) If you harbour any doubts about the idea that other people have about you, talk to them and ask them to be honest!
6) When you find out why you are sad or anxious, do your best to overcome it but take your time.