I broke about three weeks ago (this time) long before my public facade broke online. It happens, and it happens superficially because of burnout, exhaustion, being over stretched and needing only a small and careless poke from someone to drop me off an edge and into dysfunction. I have never managed to break this cycle before, for the simple reason that I am actually using my utility and acceptability to other people to ward off things that are a lot more dangerous to deal with. If I can be useful, and accepted, I don’t have to deal with what lies beneath that thin layer of near-viability. I can’t be flat out useful all the time, my body cannot sustain it, and I make mistakes, and so every now and then the thin surface cracks and I get a run-in with what lies beneath.
In the days that follow breaking, normally I do all the right things around resting and moving gently and I patch myself up, tidy away all the many parts of me that do not work, and get back into my well worn rut. It has always seemed like the less scary option and up until the last few weeks it has been my belief that I could not do anything positive with the 90% or so of me that exists beneath the surface. It’s been a survival issue, because what I carry, if it gets out, has left me fighting suicidal inclinations on more occasions than I can count.
We are all shaped and informed by our environments. For the last four and a half years, I have been living with someone who accepts me. This is the first time in my life that a sense of acceptance has dominated my living arrangements. For much of my life, I’ve not had that at all. Apparently I’ve had enough time to trust that feeling of being held and supported, and it’s allowed me to make a choice over the last week or so.
I am not patching up and going back to normal. I am instead sitting with the depression and letting it run, and letting myself look at all the things underpinning it. I’m finding I can think things that literally were not ever, at any previous point in my life available to me as thoughts. These are not easy thoughts to explore, and the implications on a personal level are vast. It is going to be a long, challenging walk through a dark place.
Mostly I’m not going to be talking about it while making the journey, because I need to focus on doing it for me, and not yet processing it into something anyone else might use. Hopefully later, when the path is walked, I’ll be able to say things about it.
I need an entirely different reality and a new story, and I have to create something that has not been in my life before, think things that were previously unthinkable, and let go of understandings that have defined my sense of self for my whole life. This is probably going to be slow and messy, but I am working out how to ask for help and support where it makes sense to do that, and for the first time in my life it is feasible to walk into the heart of my own darkness and not have it kill me.