I’ve not been myself in the last while.
I can always tell when something needs dealing with by how adamantly I avoid the page — I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote. Really wrote. Writing is confronting; if you choose to write without filter, to write from the naked marrow of your bones, there becomes nowhere left to hide from yourself.
It’s not an easy thing to stare oneself in the eye, yet necessary if we are to endure growth in all its disquieting elements. The act of writing exposes us. But such as a band-aid torn from our skin — callous, often ruthless — we cannot heal if we deny ourselves the necessary divulgence to light.
I pull at the threads of my healing.
The words spill out at 5am, tumble onto the ravine of my page and are dragged along with currents of jumbled thought; unnoticed. Only later, as my hands dig through soil while condensation from my breath mingles with dense Autumn fog, does this line snare in my mind, demanding to be examined. Such is the enigma of morning pages — that it is not our role to scrutinize or appraise our words, merely to write, uncensored, and allow our subconscious to bring to our attention that which it gleans important in its own time.
If you’d have asked me in the last while what was wrong, I’d have said nothing. Busy, I’ve been unaware of how much the last few weeks have affected me. Though I have written articles surrounding triggers leading to disassociation, it has been from an intellectual point of view — standing back from a distance and observing the process in motion, those thoughts not amalgamating with my own sense of real-time experience.
I hadn’t realised the permanent numbness of which I had been existing. The means of avoidance. The utilisation of distraction. The unhealthy coping strategies that had sidled in through the crack of the door when I wasn’t looking. I hadn’t realised I had ceased existing and was merely functioning, at best.
But this is what disassociation does. It covers our eyes, smothers us in a heavy blanket of bleak nothingness; we grasp it over ourselves because we cannot deal with the rawness of our pain and our emotions and our triggers and our lives. We are satiated by the weight of its suppression, mainline its apathy into our veins like the addicts we pretend not to be.
What we fail to see is how soul-destroying this extreme state of nothing is; how withered we become from lack of emotion and lack of connection to both ourselves and others. We realise too late the blanket has become too heavy; our lungs collapse as we struggle for air, terrified we will never breathe again. Terrified we will never feel again.
The pendulum swings.
I pull at the threads of my healing.
We pull at the threads of our healing because we know beneath those seams lays waste to a treasure chest of pain, destruction, affliction. We know it will cause us to hurt. We know it will cause us to feel. But we are ravenous for sentience; desperate and hungry to feel. Something. Anything other than the aching nothing that has consumed us to the core.
We pull at the threads of our healing with the restless, anxious hands we would prefer were occupied with a bottle or a lover or the lever of a slot machine; attempt instead to maintain a facade of fine as we battle against the temptation of our vices and carry on with our day-to-day lives even as the stitches fall away and our decomposed past drips onto the floor next to our feet.
We pull at the threads of our healing as emotional self-harm in contrast to physical self-harm. Systematically, we damage and sabotage our lives instead of our bodies — become careless and reckless with our choices, with other people, with ourselves; desperate for an outcome that will de-fibrillate the unresponsiveness of our existence.
We pull at the threads of our healing until, terrified of the wreckage we hold within our hands, we shove all that feeling back within us and pray to God the thread hasn’t frayed so much it no longer holds our destruction intact; left searching once more for the elusive middle ground.
This ongoing pendulum swing between feeling nothing and everything is difficult to navigate. Some days we step back into places we have come from and feel we have failed, again. Our healing will never be linear. And it’s impossible to measure our healing by how far we have come when the trail of footprints left behind us is haphazard and disorderly.
But there is an implicit difference in whether we choose to work through our destructive patterns, or spiral into them. How long we choose to dwell, or not dwell, in our reasons and excuses is what defines how far we have come. How long we choose to justify our actions as opposed to taking action. It is here, in this difference, our healing is measured, even when the thread becomes loose.
We tie the ends, and carry on.