After two therapy sessions, I am sure of only one thing. I need lots more therapy sessions. Why my life, my path, has decided that at this moment in time it’s imperative for me to address all my fears, pains, mistakes and heartbreaks is beyond me. I feel absolutely sure that I made the right decision to seek out help for myself. It’s hard and painful but, like yoga, I believe it works and I trust the process.
“How’s your anxiety?” my therapist asks.
“How is my anxiety?” I laugh. “My anxiety is awesome. It’s having the time of its life. It’s thriving. Literally on top of the world.” I say all this as I wring my hands together, a fun habit I’ve picked up, part nervous tick, part response to the calming essential oil blend I’m constantly rubbing on the backs of my hands. “I, however, am shitty. I feel crippled. I am unable to live my life right now.” And the tears start. I am so, so tired of crying. And I cry more. I rock back and forth. I haven’t done that shit in years. I reach for the tissues. “Aaagh! This sucks!
“I know,” he says, “and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.”
“Well thank you so much for that ray of light,” I say, because clearly, my sarcasm knows no bounds.
I know that this would probably have had to happen eventually, that something would have triggered me to deal with all my past traumas, fears, neuroses – whatever you want to call it. Or, I suppose, I don’t have to deal with anything. I guess I could just carry on, constantly torn between rage and tears, feeling listless and continuing to withdraw from people, from life. Suffering mood swings and an unbelievably short temper, lashing out at my children, yelling at them for the slightest little infraction. Unable to generate the interest and patience to let them know that they are loved and treasured and valued, until they become convinced that they are not. This is really not what I want. Simply typing that sentence and considering that possibility has, yet again, brought me to tears. Or maybe, if left unaddressed, my “issues” would simply sink into the shadows again, my anxiety would recede and my moods would gradually improve, so I could yet again reach some sort of functioning homeostasis. Or maybe I would just explode. Self-destruct. Take up drugs. Start drinking myself into a stupor daily. But I don’t want any of this stuff to happen. So I commit to doing this hard work.
It’s the old band-aid analogy. Like an infected wound. You tear the band-aid off (or cut open the infected wound, which feels much more accurate). Then you cleanse it with boiling water, peroxide, whatever. But it’s going to hurt. A lot. This is the “getting worse” part. Then, supposedly, the wound can begin to heal properly.
How? How does this happen? I don’t know. That’s why I went searching for help. That’s why I’m writing all of my shit and posting it for the world to see. Ok, not really all. I have an actual notebook for the stuff I’m not yet ready to share with everybody. Maybe one day I’ll be that brave. As it is, it confuses me when people come up to me and hug me. I’m like, “Why are you being weird and asking me if I’m ok?” Then I remember that I share my issues with the world and it all makes sense again and I feel weird and awkward. But for some reason it helps me. It makes me feel less alone. And, I hope, it makes somebody else out there feel less alone. Also, it kind of explains why I don’t talk to anybody, and why I run and hide, and avoid social interactions, so maybe I look like less of an asshole.
Right now, I’m deep in the “getting worse” part. I’m barely hanging on to my daily duties. I’m doing as much self-care as I have the energy for. I am spending a lot of time in my pajamas. I am in pain. I literally feel the constant need to cry in my clavicles. My chest is tight, compressing my breathing. I’m afraid to talk out loud for the fear that the tears will start again, just as a result of using my voice. I don’t like anybody. People who I usually find charming and engaging, I currently find grating and annoying. I know it’s not their fault. It’s me.
And I feel selfish. I feel like I’m taking too much time thinking, writing, talking about myself. I considered taking a break from teaching, wondering if I have anything to offer right now. However, remarkably, teaching is a balm for me. I feel refreshed after teaching, and the ever-present tears recede for a little while. Focusing on others, offering healing, nurturing energy to other precious people seems to rebound back on me. So I will keep on, as long as I feel like I have something to give, and as long as it keeps giving back to me.
I think I have to be a little selfish right now. I think I have to do this work to return to the bright, thriving life I crave. And I have to withdraw and rest, and try and heal – on my own terms and in my own time.
But I have faith. I believe, with everything I have, that after the “getting worse” part is over,
it will get better.