Trauma is a funny thing.
As I have worked my way through the many, many layers of my own story, I have learned many interesting facts about childhood trauma and discovered many of the reasons why I behave the way I do.
Yet, I still find myself feeling surprised when the sub-conscious takes over and I revert back to those past, safe coping mechanisms.
Little kids who grow up in crazy environments learn how to adapt. We just do. Some of us are even lucky, and find pieces of support here and there that help lead to more resilience.
That’s what I always called myself.
And, truthfully, I am.
But, being resilient does NOT mean that I did not learn unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive my environment.
So much of therapy has been a process of unlearning–unbecoming–all of those reactions and deeply held underlying beliefs.
I’ve had to fight and swallow the shame in realizing that I am not perfect. That resilience didn’t lead to a totally normally functioning human being.
(But, then again, is there such a thing as a normally functioning human…really?)
Lately, I have found myself dead tired. Emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of each day. Yes, life has been crazy–I teach little people all day. I come home to more little people and chaos. Dinner–dog–baths–you know the drill.
But its been more than that.
I have felt very little motivation for anything extra in my life. I stopped running. I stopped writing. I stopped desiring time with my husband–snuggles, sex, talking.
I even stopped wanting to be with most people–and people are where I get my energy. I have found lots of excuses for staying in–staying in my lazy clothes, no makeup, doing basically nothing.
I have felt totally flat. Totally just swimming along, keeping my head above the water.
I have asked, is it depression?
What is it?
Yes, it is probably some depression.
But it is also more than that.
At some point–probably some time last winter–I reverted back to an old coping mechanism.
I caused an earthquake in my own home…I asked for a divorce, changed my mind, and generally let my emotions make all of my decisions. And not all of my decisions were kind or smart.
In my own way, I felt lots and lots of regrets. I felt that I had made mistakes and I am never, ever easy on myself when I mess up.
If you were my best friend, I would tell you to forgive yourself. To be gentle with you.
But, on myself, I am so much harder. I call myself names. I feel shame. I feel unworthy.
So, at some point…(I am not exactly sure when…)I started to build my walls back up.
I no longer wanted to feel close to my husband. No cuddles. No sex. No talking.
Not because I don’t like him. Not because I still want out.
I took away all of my joy. All of my self care. I stopped running. I stopped writing. I stopped surrounding myself with my favorite people when I could.
Not because I wanted to. Not because I don’t want to be joyful.
But, as a punishment to myself.
Deep down, somewhere, I decided that I didn’t deserve these things anymore.
I decided that it was easier to build up the walls and withdraw from it all. That way, if it all failed anyway, it would hurt less.
But, in the meantime, it hurts right now.
My goal now, over the next few months, is to really work on knocking those walls back down. I am going to start hitting the pavement again. I am going to be back on here, writing my heart out when I need it.
I am going to lay next to my husband and touch his skin. Rest my head on his shoulder and relish in the fact that I have someone who loves me deeply laying right next me.
And, I am going to let him love me.
Have you tried writing? It helped me immensely; very cathartic. I never thought I would write a book, but that’s what happened. It helped me heal and now readers are writing too—to me, telling me my book has helped them. I started with short stories about childhood. I wish you the best.
Insightful post. Knocking down the walls of old coping mechanisms…wow.