when recovery isn't what you thought it was

"...they were all very well meaning, but [...] they'd say was 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.' the problem with that was [...] I felt like I was actually broken. That things could happen in your life that would just break a man, that not only you wouldn't be stronger--but that you would never again have what you had before. And I felt that things had slipped in such a way that I would never be able to recover."

i was moved to the point of aching throat from tears unshed by this story. i found it after listening to the Ted talk "A Story of Knots & Surgeons" which was moving; but this version of the story was far more powerful. because it was relatable. It enabled me to identify my own pain, to remember that ( i am not alone ) & ( you are far from the only one walking through this ) are not empty words i tell myself. they're real. oh & btw, i too want to punch people in the face when they say "everything happens for a reason"--even though it's usually directed at my patients, not me.

i know this desperation. hitting the end of being made stronger -yet- still feeling broken. you just want a conversation with the universe: seriously life? i can't break down anymore. i can't even begin to get up again so enough with the curveballs, the endurance training, the building me stronger shit. because i can't duck anymore, i can't see from the black eyes and i'm now on life support so clearly this isn't working out. there is something about change forced upon you. it's one thing to realize you're not who you used to be because of decisions you've made or a natural progression of circumstances. life changes all of us; i realize that. it's an entirely different thing to realize you aren't who you used to be because of other's choices. trauma creates a black hole within you, it rips pieces away from you with stunning violence. there's no gradual progression.

i too have hit this pivotal point of recognizing there is no returning. i've been trying to heal & move beyond & get over the abuse in my past because i wanted to go back. i wanted to be the person i was before i realized i had ptsd. the girl who had her own version of things, who painted with bright sunshine all over the dark, ugly sections of history. i view her as the best version of me--the one who my childhood self would be proud of vs this one that she would be horrified to see. but that isn't how healing works. the goal i've been striving for is an impossible one. not impossible as in challenging--impossible as in completely denies every natural law, impossible as in outside the realm of even theoretical physics.
there is no going back.
there is no going back. i don't get to relive my childhood the way i pretended it was. i don't get to view my father through the false lens i created to survive and not hate him, i don't get to forget and erase the once-hidden memories that now flasback on me all the time. i don't get to see my distrust of order as a thirst for adventure anymore; now i know it's a by-product of a child who never really knew what it was to feel safe. i don't get the first 20 years of my life redirected, i have to make do with what i have. come to terms with the gut-wrenching reality that my dad created this chaotic pain in my heart and mind. that it's not my fault; i couldn't have changed it. it's all on him.

so for me, i'm not so excited about being a new person. getting to the new part means sitting in the ugliness of the old. it means not walking in denial, but facing it. not rushing. giving time & space & voice to the emotions i still shutter so fast and still try to reason out logically so i don't have to feel them. there is nothing harder than looking at ugliness done to you by people who were supposed to keep you safe. i've walked through losses of every kind, chronic pain, disappointment, break-ups. nothing is harder than this--admitting it was intentional in part. admitting there were choices he could have made differently. admitting there is a place blame should lay and it's not mine.

i can see that i've healed some, there's progress. but being made new vs going back forces me to see just how much of myself is still shattered. so many tiny fragments, so much broken glass. i don't think it's realistic to believe any longer that they can all be put back together. i think moving forward means i have to re-frame wholeness.

wholeness that doesn't mean completed by all the things i lost, all the parts of myself that were ripped out me? that is something i don't quite have a frame of reference for.
but maybe i'll get there.

1 comment:

Abi said...

I don't know if this is spiritual or encouraging, but an image of a brightly colored mosaic came to my mind. Maybe that is what healing looks like? Not all the little pieces being put back together, but being spread out, rearranged, and created into something including all the old pieces, but something new as a whole?