I’ve been having a very difficult time.
Medications are making some things easier, but ironically, unlocking doors to other things that my anxiety had been keep securely shut.
Last week I had several… conflicts… with people. None of them were huge. All of them resolved easily and calmly. Most of them weren’t even my fault, I just got put in the position of patching things up because… I’m good at knowing what to say to people to smooth things over.
I rationally understand that those things weren’t significant conflicts. I rationally understand that they were minor, and for the people involved, they were probably forgotten practically as soon as they were resolved.
But for me… they linger.
A conflict last Monday at work (that I didn’t start, but was somewhat inadvertently pulled into by a teammate) resolved quickly and I felt I did what was appropriate to resolve it. I felt, rationally, that everyone else felt okay at the resolution.
I went back into my classroom, and closed the door, and tried very hard to focus on work, to hold back the rising flood waters. The panic. The castigation.
I came home. I took meds. I spent time with the people who make me feel safe. I tried to fight back the tide.
But it rose.
On Tuesday I watched the election, fighting a sense of futility and panic. Again, I spent the evening pushing back the terror, like trying to hold up a crumbling dike against an immeasurable, drowning weight.
The whole week went this way. Each perceived conflict another blow to the wall holding back the blackness. Until last night. I made another mistake. It wasn’t terrible. The person I made it to said it was fine. I fixed it to the extent that was possible. I tried to keep the mask of rationality in place long enough to resolve what I’d done and make things right with him (in my mind) to the best of my ability.
And then the wall broke.
But it wasn’t water, it was… hatred. It was such intense loathing and hatred of myself that I… couldn’t… function. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t swallow. It put a hand around my throat and I couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t stand to be in my own body, in my own soul, I hated myself so intensely.
I hated myself so intensely I couldn’t even kill myself, though I contemplated it for a moment. I hated myself too much to allow myself the relief of ending the pain. I needed to hurt myself. I needed to punish myself. I needed to… suffer.
I tried. I managed to do some minor damage before DJ grabbed me. I fought him but he is stronger and taller and he knows leverage too well and he put us both into a position where I could do nothing but slam my head backward… into his face.
As we both sat there for a moment, breathing hard, he said as much into my ear. “Is that what you’re going to do?” he asked as I heaved keening whimpers of frustration.
I didn’t. I didn’t want to hurt him. I wanted to hurt me. I wanted to hurt me because I hurt other people. Because I was useless. Worse. A burden. Worse. A toxin.
I struggled against his hold but he was too strong. I wished for my PTSD to kick in and give me a flashback, for my claustrophobia to kick in and give me a panic attack…
But they didn’t. I just struggled and failed to free myself and realized I was helpless and finally, I cried.
I cried until I was too exhausted to fight anymore. Until DJ let me go. Until the energy of my hatred had leaked away with my tears.
I went online and talked to the friend I thought I’d crossed. He reiterated his reality – it was no big deal.
I knew I couldn’t continue to insist that it WAS a big deal without invalidating him – causing further… real… injury to our relationship, not just the perceived injury that my madness believes I cause. Some part of my rational brain still asserted enough of itself to tell me that, to control, slightly, my words, the vitriole that still stirred in my belly, waiting for an opportunity to tumble from my lips, to slip through my fingers onto the screen of my computer. I knew that would cause harm. I knew that was… “just me” and not this other world where other people live. I knew I couldn’t let those worlds cross, so I tried hard. I worked hard. And I talked to him about other things, steering myself away from that topic from that wound that I so desperately wanted to claw at.
He is a good friend. He listened. He expressed empathy. He did not engage with my drama, what fragments of it did slip. He let me exist. As I am. With understanding and compassion, with validation of my suffering, but not of its justifications.
I cried most of the time I was talking to him. I cried after I stopped talking to him. I cried as I went to bed. I cried as I fell asleep.
Today I feel bruised, sad, and… rational.
I can see it all, mostly, from others’ perspectives. From that friend’s perspective. From DJ’s perspective. I can see that world. I can almost touch that world. Today the veil is thin and I can almost pretend that I live there.
DJ says the veil is thin far more often than not these days.
Today, through the veil, I can almost believe he is right.
But when that boundary closes and I am shut out from that world, the darkness is so full and complete that no other world ever has, ever will, ever could exist.
It is only me, in black, tarry, hatred that sucks me completely into itself until nothing else can exist.
Everything feels so fragile. The “real world” feels like gossamer. Every interaction feels like a threat against the delicate threads holding me to rationality.
Every conversation I had today.
Every person who looked at me.
Every person who even existed in the same space I occupied… felt like a landmine, ready to rip away the tenuous hold I have on the rational.
And all I have is to cling to the threads and wait for the time when they will break again.