I’m an expert bottler.
You know the sci-fi channel movie of Alice in Wonderland? Where they’re taking human emotions and distilling them into ‘teas’?
It’s like that.
Only my bottles would look something a great deal more like, “Stress”, “Heartache” and “Depression”.
I grew up in a culture that believed in sweeping problems under a rug and not talking about them. There are matters to this day that my family–my extended family–will not talk about or pretend doesn’t exist.
Of course back then I was young enough to go along with it without knowing what exactly was happening. And despite some truly horrible things/experiences–I was an exceptionally happy child. I was perhaps a bit lonely at times–but I had my family and my imagination and while neither were perfect, I was relatively content with both.
And then puberty hit.
Both of my siblings suffered from bi-polar, manic depression which struck, as it tends to, around high school.
So when I also rolled around to that age, all eyes were on me. Waiting. And then proceeded a 4-year long lesson in tough love. And I learned about emotional manipulation, I learned about what people will say or do to get what they want, I learned what it meant to have someone you love not respect you and vice versa. I learned there was a great difference between my beliefs, my friends beliefs and definitely my parents beliefs. I felt different and alone. When I brought up this concern to a church official–oh back when I still went to church every Sunday with my parents–I was quietly accused of “trying to not fit in”. And so I grew depressed and sunk inward.
And my parents started asking questions. But not the questions I had answers for. They started asking if I was tired all the time, they started prodding about all the usual symptoms, it was never a “Did something happen at school?” or “Is something going on you need to talk about?”. And at some point during my routine denial, I decided something incredibly stupid. Instead of sitting down with them, having a heart-to-heart about what was troubling me–the many things that they were–I bottled it.
My parents were (rightly so) concerned that I had depression like my other siblings–they wanted to make sure I got the help I needed, if that was the case since I had always been such a happy person. My mother especially would have always been open to hear me talk, so to this day I’m a little bewildered why I chose to clam up. Maybe I just didn’t want to add weight to her shoulders.
My mother’s a damn rock. I don’t think we’d have much of anything if she wasn’t the foundation. But she also doesn’t get a lot of time for her as a result and I guess… I don’t know.
The point is, bottling is stupid. Pretending to be okay when you aren’t, is stupid and extremely damaging. My brother bottled–he didn’t want to talk to a therapist, he didn’t want to get help and he’s gone because of that.
So I’m attempting to get a little better. I’m attempting to reach out and open up and be a bit more honest about when I’m having trouble. And as a result I occasionally post something vague on my social media. Usually facebook.
So really I think the weird tie-up of this odd ramble is to simply say, before you make fun of someone for that trend of behavior–give it a little thought first. You’ll know them better than I do, so I’ll leave the final judgement of how to respond up to you–but from my own experience… it’s an attempt to reach out… without really knowing how to go about it. Or it’s something I actually can’t talk about–but need to vent out the emotion so it doesn’t linger and percolate.
Yes, there are people who may just be looking for attention. But I think most of the time someone just needs to talk and isn’t sure how to start the conversation.