It starts with the eyes

I’ve tried so hard to not admit this. Tried to be hopeful about it, but I can’t avoid it any longer. I am not ok.

Since seeking out my beloved therapist for my volcanic emotional reactions (I lied about my shadow), I’ve had less and less angry eruptions. Progress? Nah. More like defeat – there’s just no point in getting angry, I won’t be heard anyhow. My January breakthrough of owning my right to be angry? Undone. Worrisome. Especially since anger and sadness are two sides to the same coin, and I’ve quite the history with sadness.

I’ve lost my drive to write – nothing seems pertinent, of interest, worth sharing. I remember writing these words, once upon a time:

That, ladies and gents, is why I write. To share what is painful. Sometimes – hopefully, most of the time – it is painfully funny, but sometimes it is the ugly painful. Exploring the pain is an exercise in excruciating vulnerability; vulnerabilility, to quote Brené Brown, is “the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.”

I no longer have painful stories – I am too tired to feel pain. I am too tired to be connected. I withdraw, exhausted. The to-do list piles up, the guilt of being an MIA friend, of not answering texts, breaking promises, not showing up because all I want to do is take a nap in my apartment that I am too tired to clean… I don’t go out except for the occasional quiet supper with close friends with whom I feel safe enough to be my boring tired self, and not put on a show or be witty and entertaining. This particular, familiar weight of being a perpetual disappointment is settling down on my shoulders. I am too tired to feel.

I cave in at work because I’ve lost the energy to fight for what needs to be done. Vanilla, agent of change? No. Leave me alone, I just want to try not drown. I am aware that the drowning is partially self-inflicted, because of my terrible concentration. I don’t even escape onto social media much anymore – scrolling on Facebook requires too much effort. I stopped caring.

I stopped dating, or flirting, because my hormones are MIA, and really? No point investing effort in what will only end up in disappointment.

I stopped wearing make up or doing my hair. I still do laundry, but my clean clothes are piling up in an unfolded heap on my bed. I sleep to one side, almost falling off my bed. Uncomfortable, but less energy consuming than folding my clothes.

I’ve stopped working out – often because of work, but also due to an inability to arrange my schedule or get my shit together in time to make it to the gym. For a brief moment I considered hating my body, but that requires too much effort. I just put on random clothes, and no longer take pleasure in my appearance. But really, why care about my appearance? I don’t want to get noticed, because I don’t want to deal with dating or flirting scenarios.

I still go dancing, because I am a good girl, and I refuse to let down my team. But my pleasure is mostly gone. Like a robot, I go through the moves, without intention. We had a performance Saturday. I bombed. Watching the video, I can see the effort being put into the appearance of having fun, which consumed all my bandwidth, leaving me with complete blanks about the choreography. Part of me vaguely feels bad for letting down the team, not bringing my A-game, but most of me is happy that no one noticed that I wasn’t mentally present.

 

After our show on Saturday, I stayed for the social and danced till 3am. I was relieved to feel echoes of my former peace while dancing with partners. It felt good to dress up and take pride in my appearance – I was relieved to discover that I cared enough to do so. First time in weeks, since getting back from France. The time before that? May.

Looking at pics from Saturday, I can see my deterioration. It’s all in the eyes. My smile no longer reaches them.

Our first show in May. Real smiles.

Saturday’s show.

And then there was my reaction to Chester Bennington’s death. Not “how sad” but “at least he is finally free”.

I write this, not because I think it is pertinent, of interest, worth sharing. I write it because the only way to fight my shadow’s attempt to silence my voice is to speak up. I write it because of the power of simple conversations to change mental health taboos. I write it to remind myself that it is ok to admit to struggling – voicing it strips my shadow of some of its power over me. Having admitted it, I have my tool box and I will use it

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15 comments

  1. I feel you. But you have to keep on trying, and then eventually things turn around, you don’t feel like you’re trying so hard, and you start caring about makeup, your laundry or something entirely different… I hope I’m not mansplaining; you know you have the tools.
    Long-winded way of saying, “Hang in there”.
    And if ever you just need to vent/rant somewhere and other avenues are unavailable, you know how to reach me.

    NB: I watched the video and I think you’re being hard on yourself. I have zero ability to judge bad from quality dancing, but you didn’t seem significantly better or worse than the other dancers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂

      Oh, I know I had my spot on that stage, and even though I am focussed on my mistakes, I forced myself to watch all the videos and every single girl messed up at least once, at least noticeably. So no, not significantly better or worse. And that is a victory – despite my brain going off on me, my show of “dancer having a blast on stage” was very convincing.

      But it remains that my brain blocked me from ACTUALLY dancing, being in the moment, expressing myself, feeling joy. And that is a pretty big defeat.

      Like

  2. I’m sorry you are going though this – I get it and feel for you. Lately I feel the same, almost robotic, too tired to deal with the negative everything going on in my life. Hang in there, I’m trying too – it will eventually pass even though it doesn’t seem like it right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Similar props going your way.
      I just take it day by day, step by step and question if giving in to the desire to do nothing really is the best choice at any moment. It’s the overwhelming temptation, but maybe I DO want to have brunch with a friend, go for a walk, do laundry. And with every action that isn’t a nap, it’s a victory.

      Liked by 1 person

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