First published Aug 7, 2016
Even as a child, I could not bear the weight of my own emotions. I bore the brunt of everything with maximum intensity. It was both a gift and a curse. My attachments were obsessive. My pain, unbearable. But my soul went deep.
I’d be angry then sad then joyful then angry and sad again, sometimes in the course of an hour. I had no control, and nobody ever taught me how just be.
Over time, I developed my own coping skills. Not all of them proved successful in the long term.
For example, I discovered that if I hurt myself physically, I could temporarily relocate the pain outside my head to a place where I could attend to it. To me, that felt like control.
My feelings clanged against the bars of my internal prison. When I immersed myself in loud noise, when I filled my head with sound (sometimes it was my own screaming), it drowned the sound of my own noisy emotions.
By the time I became an adult, there were treatments. While they helped dull the clatter, they offered their own problems. My choice was: anguish and fear (which were feelings at least), or numbness.
Initially, the numbness was welcome. Imagine being pulled from a crazy, loud, verbally abusive family and dropped solo on a deserted island. Oh, to have peace and quiet in my own head for the first time! But it became quickly clear that this was a bargain with the devil. I missed my own mind, as damaged as it was. I felt isolated, even from myself. All my life, because of how I was, I’d interacted with the world in a certain way, and from that experience I’d learned all my lessons. And then I wasn’t that person anymore and none of my lessons applied. I had no idea how to be in the world, how to exist inside my own body.
And so I ran away from the treatments and the doctors and good-intentioned family members who wanted the best for me, but also for themselves. As myself, I disrupted all their lives. As not myself, I had no life.
I suffered, not because of the voices or the feelings, but because I didn’t know how to co-exist with them. I never learned to make peace with them. It took enormous energy, which I didn’t often have, not to let them dictate my mood. I would command them to stop, and sometimes, for a while, they would. Eventually however, I lost the strength and will to fight them.
I could have continued the treatments and lived what would have seemed, from the outside, a normal life but I believed that was the cowardly way. These were my demons to tame, and if I lost the fight, at least I stood up to them.
In the end, the demons did me in, but I fought nobly and remained in possession of my soul to the end.
If you are enjoying this blog, please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days). When you think of others who might enjoy it too, it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media. Email a particularly apt link to a friend. Even better, talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also, I have just started a discussion group on Facebook, for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts. Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself. I would love get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!