I’m trying to be kind to myself, but this grieving process is so frustrating sometimes. I want to heal faster. I want to be someone different from who I am, someone who can handle emotion rationally, someone who sees what’s not working and lets it go. I am not that person and I never have been. I went through so much emotional trauma and chaos at a young age that I’ve not had any chance to learn to process pain constructively.
I attempt to distance myself and let it all go, but I end up in a free fall of terror and dread. I don’t see a future. I don’t see a point to anything. I spiral quickly and silently. Usually no one around me truly sees the depth of my pain, the nearness to oblivion, how many times I have to drag myself back from the edge with every tiny iota of strength I have left. Perhaps they would be shocked if they knew how close I’ve come to nothingness and how often.
I don’t want to be told I’m strong anymore. It’s not a compliment. It’s yet another way for people to deflect, to minimize the desperation I feel. My brand of strength is nothing more than a coping mechanism, a way to survive. I rise above the sadness by smothering it with shame, but it’s always there, growing with every disappointment and heartbreak. The truth is that I feel like a terrified, lonely, unloved child who has nothing and no one in the world. I see no inherent value or worth in myself, only another body taking up space in a society where no one cares that much about anything other than themselves.
If that sounds cynical, it’s because I feel cynical. About everything.
I’m treading water, doing my best just to stay afloat here. I’m becoming tired. There is so much weariness in this fight of mine, this battle I’ve been waging for what feels like forever now.
Lest I be misunderstood – as seems to happen frequently when I’m honest and open – I’m not looking for pity, or sympathy, or even for anyone to reach out and express to me that I am, in fact, cared for and appreciated. My loneliness comes from within myself. I understand that no one else can heal what’s happened to me and within me over the years, what’s built up and accumulated, layers of scar tissue so thick that I despair of getting underneath.
All I’m trying to express is that while I am doing my best to finally allow my emotions the space they need to flower, I’m also realizing that I’m lost when it comes to taking care of my own soul the way I’ve always tended to those of others. I’m incredibly reliable when someone else goes through an emotional crisis – I’ve had to be a support for other people my entire life. It’s a role that I slip into easily, but if I must do the same for myself, I have no idea how to begin. If I am not needed by an external element, when I am faced with only my own needs, my purpose feels muddled or even nonexistent.
How do I express the shame of not knowing how to hold space for myself in the world? I don’t. I stagger on and hope that one of my sloppy attempts to achieve self-love actually holds true for once.
Honestly, I’m terrified that after all these years, with so many layers of grief and sadness kept locked in to my core, I am incapable of unlearning these entrenched habits and defense mechanisms. This fear keeps me apart from others, prevents me from letting myself admit my insecurities. I don’t believe that I can handle further rejections. Knowing that I only continue to make the same mistakes, it seems my only recourse at the moment is to block off my heart entirely.
Unless I can develop another manner of being, I’m unwilling to continue to jeopardize my soul, my health, and my happiness.
(Originally published on Medium.com)