I felt angry inside — why are there fewer words welling up inside of me? Why can’t I feel the intensity of sadness, of the beauty of the rising sun, the happiness rising in me over the sweet simple things in life?
Why is everything quieter?
Why do I not stay up nights with tears rolling down my face, or me wishing in my heart of my dreams, my heart full with hope?
I felt so much irony inside of me. I questioned who I was. I still do. What is my purpose? When my heart seeks for me to create — why is it that I battle social anxiety? When my heart seeks for me to get up and laugh and dance, why am I afraid? Why is it that I feel the science I pursue stifles me, chokes my energy, and is against the energy I believe I have been granted inside of me?
I realize now healing comes with a form of silence. overcoming trauma may mean my I subconsciously miss the chaos. This is confusing, but I am now aware.
I also realize I miss the time I had to write, to read, to dance, and the space I had. I know I must in the next stepping stone of my life, choose one that is far from the bustle…the treaded path I have run in circles. The streaks of mud, the mini pitter patter of my footsteps from long ago. My feet have grown, and yet my path hasn’t. I have taken circles after circles, tricking myself into the belief, that this must mean growth for my inner heart.
In the light of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, I am re-posting this piece, which is from a text conversation that I had with a Ukrainian woman that I met on a penpal website between 2019 – 2021. She spoke about her life, including anxiety issues and job-seeking.I last received a message from her some two months ago and I believe she is still living in the capital, Kyiv, which is undergoing attack as I write.
Please, if you can, urge your political representatives, in whatever way you can, from email to a public protest, that de-escalation and negotiation is needed now to stop any more bloodshed. There is no military solution to defeat Russia, due to their nuclear capability and their insistence that Ukraine is part of their sphere of strategic influence. The world has to negotiate and offer Ukrainian neutrality to Russia in exchange for troop withdrawal and return to speaking between foes. Ukrainian political alignment with Russia may not be ideal but it is far better than being destroyed and occupied.
Between December 2019 and April 2021, a Ukrainian woman in her 30s, currently living in the Kyiv area, shared with me some of her experiences of challenging her anxiety symptoms, searching for work and her efforts at painting. She told me she prefers to listen to stories than tell them but gave me permission to share some of her experiences anonymously, saying: “You can embellish the story with different romantic stories, whatever you want, but only my photo is scary to upload) it is better not).” At the start of the conversation, from which I have deleted my responses and most of her questions for me, to focus on her experience, she is living with her parents, near Kyiv, helping at her father’s small local electrical goods store and selling religious books by mail.
Dec 18, 2019
Today is a sunny day. I argued with my father that I would find work after the new year, and he would stop drinking)). Maybe at least it will drive me out of the house.
…we bet that if I go to work my father will not drink). This is not a quarrel, but a game. Once I argued with my brother that if I go to work in Poland, he will quit smoking. I went to Poland, but he did not quit smoking 🙂
Dec 20, 2019
I have not had time to buy gifts, instead, I got drunk yesterday, could not stand it)). Because of this, the state of health is not very good. But she swore to herself that this is the last time)
no, I can drink alone). I feel good only the first half hour, and then it becomes very bad.
I also drank 2 beers). I have not bought gifts yet, I have a big family, I need a lot of gifts.
Dec 22, 2019
Yes, I’m better, I swore to myself not to drink anymore, although often I really feel like it. I choose which country I should go to work. But it will be in six months, it will take a lot of time to draw up documents) Maybe Sweden)
I will go through a paid agency. But this is not soon, a lot needs to be done for this)…this is work somewhere in the factories. It’s very difficult there, but i can earn more than in Ukraine. Since I haven’t been working for a year, I need to pay for it).
No, I’m very cowardly, but in extreme conditions it’s easier for me. When everyone is busy, all Ukrainians who go to work are in the same conditions). Although in Poland it was difficult for me, and I even had to change the city and work, right in Poland. But the second time I will behave differently, calmer.
Dec 25, 2019
Thanks! Merry Christmas to you too !!
Today I sent parcels to my customers)….We celebrate Christmas on January 7th, so it’s too early to give gifts. We have Orthodox Christmas)…. And I will celebrate 2 times)
A few things happened this week that have me doing some self-reflection. The first was a patient who was discovered to have cancer. Massive, metastasized tumors that had spread everywhere. The brain was being shifted to one side due to the tumors. Inoperable. The patient was told there were weeks to a month left. It’s hard to grasp being told that sort of news. Seeing that numb, vacant look in a patient’s eyes as they try to process what they’ve been told… affects you.
And then we had a family member pass away a few days ago. It wasn’t completely unexpected, but it’s still not the phone call you expect as you go about the day-to-day minutia of life. During the memorial service a video montage of photos was played, showing the spectrum of his life. From a young vibrant man to elderly and frail. Many of the pictures I’d never seen before. Hilarious plaid and burgundy pants. Massive Elvis-like shirt collars. Vacation and travel photos. Images of holding his infant daughters and final pictures of him with his new grandchildren.
Seeing those images made me happy because it was clear he’d lived a full life. He saw the world, worked hard, and had a loving family to the end. He fully participated in life. He was a happy guy who never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He far exceeded the average life expectancy in this country. You can’t ask for much more. The patient who received the bad news won’t have that opportunity. It’s a stark contrast.
Fear, hopelessness and sorrow can cause us to try and separate ourselves from society, not just out of self-protection but, also, self-detachment or disassociation. It can be difficult to take any action because we lose touch with our self. Without the guidance of interests, passions and hopes, inertia can result.
I don’t know much about myself at the moment, but, I know that I sometimes am interested in reading and, also, history. I question myself whether these interests are just another means to avoid action and enable disassociation.
Moreover, they’re not consistent guides, as, for example, my choice of reading is irregular and depends a lot on chance. Lately, I have been mostly moved to leave my home for either walks in nature or to attend places of historical memory, especially, museums or cemeteries. In one case, this was triggered by reading a biography of a famous writer. I still don’t have a sense of taking necessary and important actions and have doubts about why I am doing things but, I do feel that these interests are worth holding onto for me.