Having your psychologist look at you with pain in their eyes is disconcerting. Having them tell you that you are psychologically ticking all the right boxes, that you are doing the right things, that your meds can’t be increased, that a stay in a psych ward would really be of no benefit… that is positively fucking disturbing.
But, while going against most commonly accepted pop psych principles (that there is always some deeper issue, always something wrong with you that needs fixing), it’s both validating and comforting.
This isn’t my fault. Feeling like crap, the ebb of non-existent self esteem… I’m doing everything in my power, everything I can possibly can, to be OK. It’s just, in the words of Charlie the psych “shit things keep happening to you right now.”
We discuss a concept I’ve blogged about… how difficult it is to keep believing in karma, in the world being a fundamentally good place, in the evidence–based light of what my life has been over the last nineteen months. And again, I feel validated… the eternal optimist is slain, perhaps. But that’s OK. It’s called a ‘life ideal’, Charlie tells me. We all have them. Having them challenged is difficult, heartbreaking. It requires grieving for the belief that was there… and replacing it with something else.
The problem, I tell him, is that I don’t know what to replace it with. It’s never occurred to me until right now that maybe everything isn’t black and white, one or the other. Maybe there’s a mid point between everything working out for the best, and nothing ever being right again.
And this is evidence–based, not romanticism. This is me struggling to keep those ‘everything–will–be–fine’ beliefs of the eternal optimist and being continually proven wrong.
I’ve been trying for eighteen months not to change my mindset, not to lose that sense of optimism and happy innocence with the world. Losing it… it no longer feels like a choice.
But maybe there is something there, something besides a deep dark blackness that I can believe in. Maybe it’s not just the dark or the light… there has to be a twilight in between.
‘Emotion phobic’ is Charlie the shrink’s prognosis, and I can’t really argue with that. It’s a learned behavior, he says, a necessary survival instinct, given the intensity of emotions– not only mine, but everyone elses, too; and the way happiness just seems to keep kicking my arse at the moment; and the inevitable ‘pull your socks up’ mantra that my own family– most families– live by.
It’s simple cause and effect. If you do something that causes a negative reaction, you will learn it is a bad behavior and you will cease displaying the behavior altogether.
I know what Charlie will say next and I feel as though I’m smiling inside… I feel as though I have a secret. Because I know, just as well as he does, that this level of ice–maiden is entirely necessary for self preservation. But the antidote to it, he is about to tell me, is to have a outlet. A place where emotions are OK, all of them, and no one is going to tell you to be quiet.
And I think the secret is as simple as that… I have an outlet, a place of my own. I built it from scratch months and months before I even knew I needed it. The place where I bleed with my emotions, where words are feelings amplified.
While In Real Life I’m a stoic, a sliding, stumbling martyr… here on my blog, I’m the ultimate in passion and pain and communication and truth.
It’s the only way I’ve survived.