Mary Holtrop Mental Health

Finding My Answer

by Mary Holtrop

One of the favorite things I enjoy doing is walking. One of my second favorite things to do is
reading. Almost daily, sometimes twice per day, I walk and I listen to books. It was during an
early morning walk a few weeks ago when a character in my book opened my eyes to
something I did 10 years ago. I could not understand back then how my situation went south,
quickly. And for 10 years I kept feeling like I had been blindsided and treated badly. But in this
book, the reader is describing how this character is turning off this man from being a part of her
life. This man had liked this character for years and suddenly he can’t find a quick way to get rid
of her. What the man shares in his reflections is the character is needy, negative, clingy and she
believes others should fix her life for her. It was instantaneous that I thought back to 10 years
ago and my situation. I turned off my book and walked awhile thinking about this. But then I
started to wonder why I had to waste 10 years thinking one way and a paragraph in a book
brought me the insight I needed to understand.

A few days later, a different book, a different character, it happened again. The character helped
me learn a little something about myself. The story was about a teen who didn’t belong, and
who was an outsider at his school. Another character in this book suggested the teen start a
blog and reach out to the net to find his group; the people which he believes fits into his life. In
the book the character did start this blog and the people who read it and responded brought him
a lot of positive relationships. He blogs that his family have faced a lot of hardships. The mother
who works two jobs and does her best to raise a family on a very meager salary, is always ever
optimistic saying “we will find a way”, “we will get through this” and yet just managing to keep
everyone in her family happy and stable. But bad things continue to happen. In the blog the teen
ask why his family are losers and they can never get a break in life?

I shut off my book and spent half of my walk reflecting on this asking myself the same question. I made a choice 18
years ago to protect my children and myself. After many years, when it finally came time, the
choice was not hard. All the pieces and implementation was hard but the choice was not. Yet I
feel ever since that day, when I finally said enough, life has whipped lemons at me. Trees and
trees of lemons. All along the way I have believed myself to be strong and brave and made
decisions that ultimately guided my children to good places in their life. But there are more trees
and more lemons. When I turned off this book to think on my walk, I totally get what this teen
was feeling.

I asked myself can I do this. Can I blog and find people who would accept me? Will
all these lemons go away? Will it ever get better?

This morning I am listening to a book. In this book the character talks about years of feeling
shamed, isolated, unlike, and bullied due to her being overweight. This book addresses social
media and how quickly your life can turn around either bad or good with one hashtag. This
character is, in my opinion, way too connected and dependent to social media. And I believe
she went from one dependency of confirming to others thinking, to another of being dependent
on social media, positive comments and likes to build up her self-esteem. I don’t know what part
of all this affected me, but I know it did. I am not on social media and honestly I really don’t like
it. I realized it was this characters reflection of herself that made me understand exactly how she
was feeling; that she felt lonely, isolated, unliked, and how desperate she felt to believe she is a
strong person but others did not see her the same way.

open book and fairy lights on wooden surface
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on

This was another light bulb for me. Isee myself a certain way and mostly it’s good stuff.

But people’s response to me, or what I believe as their response to me, makes me feel differently about myself.

My thinking becomes immediately negative. Then I wonder what is wrong with me? I spent the remainder of my walk
this morning wondering why I am suddenly coming up with these enlighten thoughts. Why is my
head, my brain and my heart hearing these messages now? I decided to blog about it because I
don’t have the answers. It’s a lot to take in and reflect on and wonder, why now? What is the
message here? Then this morning I found this, “No matter who we are or what we do, we each
have an opportunity, even a responsibility, to lift others up.”

“No matter who we are or what we do, we each

have an opportunity, even a responsibility, to lift others up.”

I decided no matter what. To help myself and help others, I need to find a way to do this.