It's a process. An ongoing, exhausting, forever-type process. Learning to speak up. Learning to say "I think I am symptomatic." Learning to ask for reassurance and express what sometimes grows and swells inside me.
It's embarrassing. And it's hard. And it requires an absurd amount of patience and understanding and support from the people around me. It must be tiresome, and I feel how tiresome it must be.
My episodes are ill-timed. They don't care if you have a job interview, a court date, a sick relative. They don't care if you have your own worries and fears and anxieties. They don't care if they make it worse for you.
I do. And I am embarrassed. And I hold it in, because I feel like a brat or a burden or an annoyance for feeling so out of control when someone else needs to focus on their own shit.
I need to not do this.
I'm learning to speak up. I'm learning to put words on these horrible episodes, and I'm learning to ask for reassurance.
I'm sort of fucking up the whole thing, but I'm trying. Learning. Failing, and trying again.
Dialogue is invaluable. I have discovered that when I don't talk about it, it grows. It hides in those dark spaces and flourishes. Festering in the dark and turning into anger and resentment. Learning to open my mouth and put words on my absurd paranoia, saying exactly what I think and feel in that moment, and allowing someone to see what sort of reassurance I need, shines a beacon of light into that stagnant darkness, and helps to shrink the thing festering inside.
Learning to get to this point has proven difficult.
Learning to actually admit out loud the weird places my thoughts have gone, is difficult.
Learning to say "I'm afraid you're all lying to me and this is a mass alien conspiracy to kidnap my cats and turn them into furry minions of doom for our new Martian overlords..."
Learning to put words to the absurdity is difficult.
There are days when I literally suspect everyone and everything of plotting to hurt me.
There are days when everything seems like a grand scheme against me, and there's no one I can trust.
There are days when I believe I am unlovable, and I feel hatred and resentment toward the people who are closest to me, convinced it's all a plot to dupe me.
There are days when crying is the only communication I'm capable of.
There are days when I am afraid, of everyone and everything and every thought around me.
There are days when I truly believe the world is conspiring to hurt me.
These are the days when I need the words so desperately, and can't find them.
These are the days when you'll ask "what's wrong, are you ok," and I will lie to you.
But I am learning. It's a process, and I will fail.
I think I expected all of it to melt away once my divorce was final. Once I was done with that whole stupid process, once I was free from a "bad" marriage, once I was able to spread my wings and see what's out there in the world, I would heal and all would be well.
The reality is much, much different.
I've learned that sometimes, healing and recovery are destructive. I have discovered triggers I've never noticed before. I have learned that sometimes we grow accustomed to horrible things, and find a sort of comfortable predictability within them, and finding them suddenly gone can be panic-inducing. I have learned that safety, after a lifetime of being afraid, is fucking scary.
But I am learning. And it's a process.
I expected it to be easy. I expected to settle into this new normal, fully in control and prepared to tackle whatever dangers found me, because I've cowered long enough, and I'm empowered now, and I'm not gonna be afraid anymore...
I'm afraid. A lot. Most of the time. Pretty much all of the time. I'm afraid.
I'm afraid of my own panic. I'm afraid of being lied to. I'm afraid of being used or deceived. I'm afraid of looking stupid or insecure or unreasonable. I'm afraid of being annoying. I'm afraid of serial killers and angry phantoms. I'm afraid of the anger of someone I love. I'm afraid of being a disappointment. I'm afraid of someone hurting me and my kids and my family and my animals. I'm afraid of my reactions if they do. I'm afraid of bombs and lunatics and unprovoked violence. I'm afraid of having my heart broken.
And the only way to quell those fears, and all the other absurd thoughts that sometimes happen, is to talk about them, out loud. To admit what I feel, and to accept the reassurance that follows.
I'm afraid that talking about it will be met with resentment or frustration or anger, and so I hold it all in, letting it grow and fester and blossom into something much worse, until I am in the midst of an episode that can't be stopped until it's run its course.
I don't even know what I'm trying to say. I'm learning. That's it, I guess. I'm trudging my way thru this bullshit, and if you're trudging thru with me, I'm most grateful. So very grateful and appreciative in ways I can't express, and I need you. And I understand how frustrating it must be. And I'm afraid.
And I'm learning.