I was thinking about past events recently and pondering the effect those events would have had if I was successful in my attempt to take my own life. It’s a morbid thought for sure, but it is something that has plagued me for a very long time.
I started to think about how my untimely passing would have impacted my family, friends, and loved ones. They would still be feeling those effects to this day. My children would have grown up without a mother. I would have missed out on so many good life events that have happened to me recently. I would have missed watching my son fall in love, finding a passion for music, and growing into the man he will eventually become over time. I would have missed out on the birth of my youngest and watching her hit milestones like finishing kindergarten. I would have missed out on watching my middle child discover her passion for softball.
While these events might seem innocuous to many people, these are the events that shape our lives. I can’t believe that I put myself in a position where I might not have been able to participate and enjoy watching these events. I would have missed out on the opportunity to experience unconditional love in its purest form, and watch myself grow into the strong, independent woman I have become.
It is so easy to focus on the negative. It can very easily consume our entire being and it can be difficult to see that there is that symbolic light at the end of the tunnel, as the saying goes.
People often say that words can’t hurt you, but I have to disagree with that statement. Words are very powerful. They can be the driving force that pushes people to take action, whether good or bad, and can often make or break your whole day, week, or even month.
When we value someone in our life, we value their thoughts and opinions. We ultimately value their opinion about us. A simple, “I love who you are” can change someone’s entire outlook for the day. Conversely, a simple, “you should just kill yourself” can bring about a change that will have a ripple effect, reaching many different lives for a very long time.
This is where the issue of mental health is such a grey area. All too often, people want to box in mental illness into black or white. They don’t see the shades of grey. Mental illness can be all-consuming, and that grey walks with those afflicted like a fog. It can be difficult to see through that fog and, without help, that cloud can have a distorted effect on a person’s reality. When looking through the fog of mental illness, it can be difficult to distinguish between right and wrong, bad or good, and crazy or sane.
Mental illness is so downplayed in our society. Someone who is struggling with these demons is often labeled as “crazy”. This is a dangerous blanket to cast over such a complex issue.
Learning to understand my own illness issues, helped me refocus my own thought process. I have struggled with dealing with a person who is an outright narcissist, who always puts their own needs first, always to the detriment of everyone around. Unfortunately, that narcissism has had its own butterfly effect and those ripples are felt in every aspect of the lives of everyone affected by this behavior.
Nobody wants to hear that you are a shitty person, or be given a total breakdown of all your bad qualities. Trust me, that was the toughest pill to swallow. I mean really tough. I sat in the mirror, looked at myself, and sobbed uncontrollably for over an hour. I know what my own sins have been, and it was time to be honest with myself about who I truly am and who I want to be, for myself and the people I love the most.
It was in dealing with the narcissism of another that I came to my own realization that I have narcissistic tendencies too. Everyone does to a certain extent. If we didn’t, social media sites wouldn’t be as popular and mainstream as they are. I have been seeing a therapist to help me channel my past childhood and adult trauma, patterns, and who is helping me to gain self awareness of my own character traits.
I found my strength in my own weakest moments. Had I changed a few events from my past, I might not be the person I am today. I had to walk through hell in order to be able to truly appreciate the value of all the good things in my life.
I also learned to appreciate the value of the bad. What I mean by this is, if I didn’t have cynical people pointing out what they saw as all my flaws, I might not have been able to recognize my own faults, and the impact of those faults on others.
I had an argument with a close friend and she pointed out some aspects of my personality that I wasn’t really ready to confront. Those observations caused me to self-reflect and ultimately recognize the truth about my personality.
I was able to bring up these issues to my therapist who made an initial diagnosis that I am an empath and borderline narcissist. After that session, that was when I had my breakdown in front of the mirror. It was a very hard truth to face. I knew I was an empath, I always have felt for others and I’m the first person to drop everything when someone I care about is in need. The difficult part for me was the borderline narcissist diagnosis. Nobody wants to think of themselves as a narcissist, especially with all the negative connotations surrounding the term. I had to learn to take ownership of that aspect of my personality and figure out how to enact change in my life.
It helped to put things in perspective for me. Much of the trauma in my life started to make sense. I’ve been around narcissistic parents, and a narcissistic ex-spouse. Many important relationships have been forever tainted by the outcome of this narcissism. Those impacts have been felt across so many different aspects of my life. Feelings of abandonment and resentment has filtered throughout my life thematically.
I saw these narcissistic traits, a lack of empathy, only thinking about their own selfish wants and needs, and I started to despise seeing these qualities in myself. I realized that I needed help to change.
That’s where the whole butterfly effect comes into play. Without the fallout from these events, I wouldn’t have been able to see some of these negative qualities in myself, and I would have continued with these negative behaviors, completely oblivious to the effects on others.
I would have continued to wander through the haze of that grey area of my own issues. I would never have recognized the need to make changes, because I wouldn’t have thought that there was anything wrong.
Now I have the clarity and the desire to make some positive changes in my own life. I recognize those aspects and I am working to evolve into the person I truly want to be. Now, when I see myself displaying those characteristics, I can work to immediately make that mental shift and change my thought patterns and refocus on what’s important.
You wouldn’t think that such a negative past event could have a positive effect, but it really has. I feel fortunate that I was able to come out the other side of such a traumatic event and find the lucidity of purpose. That butterfly effect has helped to turn a negative into a positive, and I now have a better understanding of its impact.
Clarity is a very powerful thing. Once you are able to see things for how they really are, not how you perceive them or want them to be, then you will be in a good position to make some positive changes on those aspects of your life where you have control. It won’t happen overnight, but taking that all important first step will lead you down that path you were ultimately meant to take. Good luck on your journey, I’ll say “hello” if our paths should cross somewhere along the way.