Sunday, 27 November 2016

"Promise Me You Will Survive, No Matter How Hopeless" - Titanic



That's the thing about extreme emotions; they swallow you whole.

I literally drown in an emotion; it's almost impossible for me to keep my head above the metaphorical water.

I'm going in the direction of a Titanic analogy here so if that's not your thing then...what the fuck do I care? This is my blog.

There are some emotions, the mostly-positive emotions, like love, that make drowning seem a little less like the frenzied panic of helplessness it is and more like you're being lulled to sleep. I like to think of this as the 'Jack Scenario'. Quietly slipping away to your untimely (and preventable) death.

Then there are the mostly-negative emotions, like grief and depression, which basically feel like everyone else on the titanic that didn't manage to hijack a lifeboat/wardrobe door, being violently thrown around until they get sucked down to their deaths still kicking and screaming.

Happy to drown in love (mostly) but would rather not drown in some of the worst emotions you can experience. I can actually control these emotions but it is all consuming. Imagine losing the ability to autonomously blink and breathe. Every minute of your day would centre on remembering to blink and/or breathe. Eventually you would get the hang of it and be able to live some semblance of a life but every time you forgot, every time you had a bad day, every time you lost focus you'd pass out or get an eye infection. That is what it is like controlling extreme emotions. Losing focus for a minute leaves you and other people open to being hurt, spiralling, getting lost in an emotion or worse.

It is absolutely exhausting.

I have always lived my life trying to do as little damage as possible, hurting as few people as possible because I know how painful it is. I have also spent a good few years of my life being lost in my emotions and mindlessly hurting people, and when in the most pain; purposefully hurting people. This was the greatest source of my shame spirals later in life. I don't ever want to return to someone who is lost in emotion because I was unpredictable, dangerous even, but the nature of mental illness means I don't always get to dictate that. It's not always in my control.

I'm struggling to swim right now.

This year saw the dissolution of over six years of friendship with my best friend. I was being emotionally abused but didn't see it for a long time. The last year of our friendship was particularly difficult but I still wanted to work past it until it became so bad that there was no option but to cut ties. I saw them as family and am now grieving the loss of the little bit of support network I had. This had a profound effect on me, I now feel like I'm in a worse position than I ever have been.

I fell in love this year, hard. I met someone who is very special to me, someone who tries to save me from completely drowning. The Rose to my Jack. But it is long-distance and that comes with its own set of problems. I cannot leave the house alone, not for years. This is 95% anxiety and 5% disability. Some of my anxiety is about my disability as I'm terrified of falling or being stranded due to lack of energy. This has actually happened while being with other people and I could barely cope then, I have no idea how I could do it on my own. Because of this, and because I now only have my long-distance boyfriend in my life, I rarely get to leave the house. If I didn't speak to him on a daily basis, I'd only speak to someone once, maybe twice a week if I'm lucky. I am very alone and that is something I have actively avoided my whole life.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, I will stand near the front door willing myself to step outside. "There aren't many people at night, everyone is asleep, you can do this" I say to myself. It doesn't work. I traipse back to bed feeling like a complete failure. Sometimes I fantasise about having Bernard's Watch so I can stop the world, maybe then I wouldn't be so anxious.

I push people away constantly to try to stop the pain people inflict on me, and to stop the pain I inflict on them. It is hard to come across genuinely thoughtful people who try to make the world as painless as possible for those around them. It's okay that people are different but to someone who feels everything so extremely, it can be devastating being around people who cannot understand or accommodate them in any way. I never really talk about the animosity between my family and I, partly because it is painful and partly because on the off chance they read this they may be hurt. I'm not sure they even think there is any animosity but the truth is my family have hurt me so deeply, for so long that the damage is irreparable. I don't believe most of them mean to hurt me, in that there is no specific intent. It's just the people they are with their own demons to battle, I told myself I was caught in the crossfire or simply bearing the brunt of their battle. Maybe that was just something to console myself. I don't pretend that I haven't hurt them, I'd take full responsibility for any pain I've caused if we were the kind of family that spoke about anything like that. I see them occasionally, usually when my boyfriend rents a car and can drive me there. I haven't seen my father in years, although I suspect if it were up to him I wouldn't have seen him since conception. So, I am alone.

I am in a sea with no life rafts, except when Rose occasionally floats by for a couple of days. It helps. It gives me a small respite but inevitably, without more support, without more things to cling on to then I'm going to drown. I don't see any other way out.

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