Addicts use. Alcoholics drink. That just is what it is. I’m not saying that is an excuse for an addict or alcoholic to say “Screw it!” and begin using or abusing. What I am saying is that our brains? They are wired that way. Do you know how long it took me to actually realize and accept that fact? Let’s just say eleven years into this and I still struggle with the how’s and why’s.
When things go wrong or I am going through a rough time, I struggle with the “normal” ways “normal” people cope. It is not unusual for a conversation with Clint to go something like this:
“What is the first thing you think when something goes wrong or if you’re hurt or if something really heartbreaking happens?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, what is your first thought when it comes to coping or dealing with pain or anger or frustration.”
“I figure out how to fix it & move forward. If I can change it, I’ll try. If I can’t, I accept that.”
“I don’t know how to do that. I don’t understand how a ‘normal’ brain can just go straight to healing. Mine’s broken.”
“What did you used to do?“
And that is where I get stuck. I don’t remember a time when my brain didn’t seek refuge in seeking escape. Pain free numbness. Disappearing mentally. I truly do not remember that time.
What do people do when faced with heartbreaking, soul searing, spirit crushing pain? What do people do when they feel alone and too frozen to move from their place. Like being stuck in quicksand. Struggling doesn’t help. Giving in will kill you. You have to have survival skills to get out. But sometimes sinking is what is known. It is the only thing you know.
I’m learning not to beat myself up when I’m running full speed ahead and land in quicksand. I’m learning that my brain is not wired like someone who has never dealt with addiction. I will never have a “normal” reaction to pain or loss or loneliness. I can learn to have actions and reactions that are healthy and helpful. My brain may always immediately pop up the thought, “Numb it immediately!” when things go wrong but when I know what ways I can actually deal with life on life’s terms, that voice may be there but it has less force and holds no power.
Between the sheer hell I’ve been through in the last year and the fact that I have been so quick to put anyone else’s needs above my own, I feel broken. (Sidenote: Some of those times when I put another’s needs above mine are times I would never, ever do it any differently. It is my nature to nurture anyone who needs it. I will literally give you the shirt off of my back if you need it and never regret it. The honesty of that situation is that it does take it’s toll if I don’t let down my guard and let someone help take care of me. But that? That goes against my nature. Thus, the broken cycle.)
I’m in a down cycle. Stuck in quicksand. Lost. Broken. Waiting for it to pass and the next cycle to start up again. I’m just ready to really grab life with both hands and truly jump into it. I’ve been on hold too long. I don’t want to be broken any longer. Maybe I can just be happy being a little cracked up. (See what I did there?)
image source here
While I don’t have the addiction aspect of this I certainly know what you mean when you talk about “feel[ing] alone and too frozen to move from their place” I get there too. Funny, (but not very,) my husband doesn’t get it either, which is, I think, more indicitive of them being men then just not getting it. When I talk about being depressed he says super helpful things like “Snap out of it.” Uh, thanks Captain Obvious.
Those dark days are tough but you KNOW I’m here for you. Don’t feel bad about helping others because that is often the one thing that we need the most. Getting out of your own head can help and give you perspective.
I think Headless Mom makes a real good point, here. I get stuck in my head, a lot, and I wonder if most women do, too? Feeling isolated and “frozen in one place” doesn’t help, either. Wish I had better advice. Know that I love you and, hey, actually, someone gave me a magnet that may help: NORMAL is just a setting on the washing machine! <—-I keep that sucker on the fridge to remind myself, every danged day, too 🙂
What THEY said! 🙂
I need to find out what Sally Field would do, for you.