Downward Spiral? Turn it around!

E-MAIL TO CHUCK & GARLAND: I am an overweight, dark-skinned woman with major personal issues. I am painfully shy, deathly afraid of rejection, and insecure. To many, I exude confidence. Yet, on the inside I feel so broken-hearted and my spirit is very weak. In my life, I have not experienced many intimate relationships and this makes me so very sad. The ones that I have "experienced" have left me broken-hearted, confused, and feeling even worse about myself. As much as I want to believe that GOD has a special person set aside for me, I honestly do not believe that I will end up in a happy, healthy, and loving relationship (or even an unhappy, unhealthy, and unloving relationship for that matter). I have achieved many social goals in my life (I am highly educated) and I am steadily improving career-oriented goals. It's just painful to have no one to share my hopes, dreams, fears, successes, and failures. Holidays, milestones, and my birthday have become so insignificant because I have absolutely no one to share such joyous and happy moments with. I hate "celebrations" with a passion because they remind me of how alone I really am. I am an only child, my mother is deceased, I never knew my father, and I have a very distant relationship with my remaining family. I do have an intimate circle of friends but they have their own busy professional lives, families, and we are not all living in the same place. Plus, I feel that I am more supportive of them yet when I need them, it is too much of a burden to simply listen and understand. I never ask for anything except a sympathetic/empathetic ear from time to time. Sometimes I can maintain and pull myself out of an emotional rut. At other times I feel helpless and hopeless and feel that I have no one to turn to. I'm just tired and sometimes it is very hard to go on. I have lived so long with loneliness, desperation, and isolation to the point that it has taken its toll on me mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually, and financially. At one point, I just shrugged it off. However, now I want to be happy, festive, and loving. Yet, I can't get my insides aligned with the facade I put on. I hate lying to myself and this hypocrisy makes me sick, sad, and angry. I just want to be honest at all time and I hate lying to myself and others because I feel that they deserve so much better.

GARLAND: I want to thank you so much for sharing yourself with us like that. After a few months of dead-beat dads, undercover brothers, and stupid ex's your E-Mail is really making me pause. I see that your E-mail really isn't a question, but I want to share my thoughts with you.

First, I absolutely understand that you want to be happy and you want to make NOW your time. You need to try hard to not lie to yourself by putting on the happy facade while you are sad inside. When it's all said and done, you're the only person that really knows you, and if you try to fake it when you look in the mirror, eventually you won't know up from down. Always be honest with yourself, even when that honesty might not be exactly what you want.

You took the time to send this E-Mail to us... to me that's the sign of a person that knows what she wants and is trying to find ways to make it happen. I hope me and Chuck can give you some positive reinforcement.

I'm glad that you believe God has a special plan for you and your heart, I'm sure that whatever it is, it will come to you when it is supposed to. Unfortunately, such things don't seem to come at the exact moment we want them to - make sure you pray that God lets you know when your blessings arrive. You don't want to be looking down and tying your shoes when your blessing walks into the room.

I know that sometimes when happiness, or love, or companionship and things like that don't seem to be when and where we want them, it's up to us to put events in place that change our alignment with the universe. Basically, sometimes we have to step out of our norm to cross paths with new faces and new places that create a new dynamic in our lives. I think you should give that a try - shop at new stores and markets, drive a different way to work, check out that new jazz spot across town, visit a different church, eat lunch at a new restaurant, buy gas from the BP instead of the Exxon... see what I mean? Change your dynamic a little, see what's around a new corner.

All of what I just said is my opinion, my "professionally-untrained" opinion I'd like to remind you. I'd really like for you to talk to a professional about your feelings though. Please don't take offense to me saying that, and don't think I'm taking what you said lightly. I hope my comments above give you some positive vibes, but a trained professional will give you exactly the support and the emotional vehicles that I think will make you feel better. I don't want you to slip into a deeper depression. Your medical doctor will be able to recommend someone, and if you don't have a physician you're comfortable with, your local health department should be able to recommend someone. The key is not holding your emotions in check. I'm glad you started by sending us an E-Mail, now I ask that you continue by speaking to a professional. Please drop us another E-Mail soon and let us know how you're doing. Okay?

CHUCK: I'm glad that you took the time to send us an email. There are a lot of people out there living lives of quiet desperation, feeling alone and unloved, and it is painful to think about. There is so much in life to do, see, and experience, but some of us can only focus on the things that we don't have, the things that make us feel like less of a whole person. And I can honestly say that I know some of what you're feeling because I have felt that way a few times in life myself.

What kept me going when I was feeling that way was the thought that these feelings, this situation couldn't last forever. And my attitude towards life is that I always want to see what happens next. It's difficult to be optimistic sometimes, but the same way nothing good lasts forever, nothing bad does either.

Everything that Garland suggests (developing a different mental outlook, look to new places for different experiences) is great, but I really don't know if you're at a point where that advice will do you any good. You didn't use the word, but I will. I think what you're suffering from is depression. Your combined feelings of sadness and hopelessness seal it for me.

I think that the best thing that we untrained individuals can do in this instance is refer you to some professionals. Please, PLEASE search the internet, check the phone book in your area for help with depression. We as Black people too seldom seek out the help we may need psychologically, before it is too late. Seek assistance to pull yourself out of this situation you are in. There are people who want to help you.


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