I am in recovery.
I’ve been around long enough to understand that most of us are in recovery, we are all recovering from something, in some way.
My story involves depression, anxiety, codependency and abuse – but mainly depression. The abuse was the hardest when it was real. I’ll even admit now that what I thought I knew about abuse and its varying forms, is nowhere near the reality of what I’ve experienced. But this isn’t about that. I mean, the reality is that it happened. And now, well now I suffer its repercussions. It’s not about moping and whining and waiting on someone else to fix me because I would never ask for the impossible. Nope, this is just the part of my journey that I’ve arrived at with time.
My thoughts tend to repeat themselves inside of depression, just the same as the cycle of abuse that I was a part of for a decade. While those who knew me best saw all of it tear me down and apart on the outside – they really have no idea what it did to me on the inside. But depression is what those closest to me have always known about me. Depression has always had its way with me. My depression is exactly the same.
I can say that I have regrets over my past. No one deserves to feel pain. I regret that I failed to see it. I regret that I succumbed to it. I regret that I endured it well beyond the expiration of my devotion to fixing it. But while there, I didn’t know it wasn’t me. While I was there, I believed it was me. I have my days where I still believe it was me. Hell, on days like today, I’m just my worst enemy. The healing from the external abuse is much easier to do than what happens on the inside.
I’ve become well-versed in giving advice. I don’t hate that part of myself. The part of myself I do hate is the voice that gets louder on days like today, when everything else is quiet. I find myself succumbing to it again and again. Maybe it’s my experiences. Maybe it’s my depression. For all I know, it could even be my anxiety. For so long they all became so much of the same part that it gets hard for me to differentiate anymore, especially on days like today.
I am no longer trapped in the environment I loathed but I have found myself trapped in solitude. I am someone who has a big heart. I always have been. I’m a giver. It’s what I do. Maybe that’s why being alone eats away at me some days. Maybe I need to give more of myself or maybe I just need to give more to myself.
I wear my heart on the outside even though I pretend that I don’t. I am an expert at pretending but I think that is what my experiences have taught me – how to smile even when it hurts. I’ve learned how to do this well in life. I pretend that I’m just fine. I pretend that much all of the time. But I live in confusion, about life and myself. It’s the confusion that’s the biggest part of me.
So on days like today, I shut down. I shut down and I sleep. When I’m awake, the thinking, the hurting, and the loneliness all become unbearable. All of it takes over. So I just shut down. I used to cry. I used to cry a lot. I’d cry for hours and days. Most of us shed tears when we hurt, it’s a natural reaction to pain. With time though, I’ve learned that crying hurts, too.
So on days like today, I bury it all. I am struck by waves that have so much emotion that I feel as though I have none. I become a walking contradiction at war with only myself.
Survival is about overcoming. But living, well, it’s about much more than that, isn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud to be able to overcome my past and to have taken myself away from there. What I struggle with on days like today is an overwhelming emptiness. It gets so overwhelming that working against it on all of those other days seems to leave me drained and exhausted. It’s on days like today that I’m reminded the most of where I’ve been. It’s on days like today that I give up.
Loneliness I’ve grown accustomed to with time – for a lifetime to be exact. I am used to not fitting in and I’ve accepted it. I know that trying to fit in leaves me feeling the same as I do on days like today. I accepted a long time ago that I’m just not the same as everyone else. Being the same is boring and it doesn’t allow for growth. But that’s not that part of me that bothers me. I don’t ever want to fit in.
On days like today, I question why I’m alone. It’s human nature that we are creatures seeking connection. It’s connection that I haven’t had. Experience tells me that the most. Where I was before and where I am today, all of my days, I liken to trying to fit a square peg inside of a round hole. Without fitting, there’s no connection. The peg is too large and that round spot is too small and unforgiving. Over time the sides of that peg begin to splinter. The place where it’s been hit the most begins to appear unrecognizable. On days like today, I have no idea who I am. On days like today, I’m tired of being hit. On days like today, I’m just tired.
But I recognize it because it’s all too familiar. It’s just on days like today, it’s easier to let it all have its way with me. Those leftover emotions. The ones I have that I wonder if they ever will heal or if they are just a part of who I am now. Or maybe they’ve just always been there. Those emotions I’ve carried forever, that more than likely I will always carry. Maybe this is who I’ve always been. Familiarity can’t be a stranger. On days like today, it’s amplified. On days like today, it’s hard to tell.
Inside of me, it just hurts. Maybe it always will. I wonder why I’m not good enough. It’s the being alone that makes me feel that I’m not good enough. It’s all the proof that I need. I can still hear those words that used to be said to me and maybe it’s just the feelings that came with them that I own now. Either way, they’re all there. There’s this echoing that somehow becomes louder than anything else on days like today. And on days like today, it’s unbearable.
The difference now though is that there is no one else but me. Now, there’s no one else here. Maybe it’s the combination of the two – the weight I carry and being alone. Who knows really. I don’t think it matters. I just know it hurts.
All of this made me cry before I’d changed and crying is what I did after I changed. Crying is what I did often. Crying was just what I did. A fine combination of self-hatred and sadness, but I used to just drink it away. Wiping away the tears as I went.
I don’t have a bad life. Sure, it could be better, but some things can always be better. Maybe I just feel too damn much, or maybe anymore I don’t feel enough. I don’t know which way it is because all I know is that it’s just how it is. On days like today, it’s too quiet. On days like today, I recognize this silence.
It’s quiet all around me. But inside of me, it sounds as though I am standing in the middle of a crowd; sometimes it’s angry, sometimes it’s hurtful, and mostly it’s sadness, but regardless of whichever emotions are being tossed around, it’s the harshness of all of it, inside and out, that’s enough to take me down.
I don’t fight it anymore, it is what it is. I just have to wait for it to pass. And it will. It’ll pass, and I’ll bounce back, and I’ll pretend it was never there. I’ll ignore every feeling and the wanting and the longing inside of me and I will arrive once again at that point before it began.
On days like today, I don’t want to exist. On days like today, I wish I didn’t. On days like today, I don’t feel like I do – life is intangible and out of reach. It’s a dark place. It’s quiet and lonely. I tell myself I deserve it because it’s just a part of who I am. This is me.
But I’ll be fine. I always am. I mean, if I say it enough times I’ll begin to believe it. And tomorrow I can go back to laughing – back to laughing at the world and myself. Tomorrow, I’ll be just fine.