Surviving is all my life has been


Mental health is vague, or at least the whole process of trying to heal from trauma with the help of a psychologist seems ambiguous to me. There are books describing steps and techniques but because it’s about something so personal there is really not one way that is right, instead I guess we all just have to find out what it is that works for us.

For me, writing and painting seem to able able to connect me with myself, but lately I started to feel like these are not enough. Even though my psychologist pushes me to keep these two things as a part of my daily routine because he sees how they bring up otherwise suppressed emotions, I started to doubt my daily past digging…

Lately I start to notice how I become more and more disconnected from what is around me, like the connection with my child self prevents me from a connection with the people that are close to me today, or even from the person I am today. I feel like the connection with the child inside me and her emotions turn me into more of a ghost in my daily life. I can’t really explain but I just feel really off, depressed even, and this feeling seems to have increased since I started writing again.

I notice good changes in myself, I am able to recognize my own needs and feelings and I am even more able to share them. I tell my colleagues when I’m tired or when I feel too much pressure, I telly boyfriend about feelings and fears that have always locked up inside myself, I tell my grandma about the pain I feel when I think about my grandfather who is no longer with us. I open up, to myself and the people close to me bit at the same time I feel a distance that is greater than ever.

I stopped sleeping a while ago, but still I plan my days full enough to never get the rest I desperately need. I learn greek, I thrive at my work, I write, I work out, I read, I do groceries and cook, I take care of my plants and bunny… I keep myself busy from 6 in the morning till after 9 in the evening and then I watch TV, till I take my sleeping pills and try to sleep, meaning I am always busy, and I guess this causes most of the disconnection I feel. I have my routine which I follow no matter what happens, but with this routine I fail to have energy to connect, to have fun, to do something different… I am the robot I used to be again.

Is this what normal life today is like? Is this just being better, adjusting to the normal of this world? It could be, I mean, my routine represents the way many other people live their life. But I just feel so empty doing it, it makes me tired, too tired to keep some energy for the fun things I’m missing and without any fun or excitement or even a real conversation I just feel depressed.

I guess it’s also me, I mean, when I decide to do one thing I will not allow room for something else, meaning that to keep my routine I will not allow myself anything that does not fit the schedule I created for myself, even if it’s just a quick conversation or a nice cup of coffee in the morning. I lived this way for many years but only now I realize how lonely this makes me feel.

Maybe I don’t have to be too hard on my therapy, it is true that this feeling started when I started to rewrite my past and connect to my child self, but maybe I am blaming my therapy in the wrong way, maybe it is the returning connection with my feelings that makes me notice the disconnection with them in my daily life. Maybe I needed to start to understand how it is to have emotions to figure out what I have been missing in my life all this time. Maybe it’s not that the connection with my child self prevents me from connecting with my current self, but instead shows me the connection I have always missed in my current life.

I have always lived like a robot, according to my own fixed schedule but I never really felt the way I do today because I wasn’t connected to my feelings. I was depressed but never allowed myself to give in, I was lonely but made my schedule even less humane to make sure I never had time to feel this loneliness, I was sad but never alone so I always had to pretend I was just fine. Blaming my therapy is just me trying to choose the easy way out, because if I wouldn’t have started to feel, I wouldn’t have noticed the emptiness I choose to live in. But my therapy made me notice, something did change inside me and although this comes with this empty sadness I have to celebrate, and I can definitely not start running again, not this time.

I have more to feel then just my childhood trauma. I designed my whole life to avoid the harm that was done to me, but this meant that I avoided everything, I never felt, I never connected, I took away everything that made me me, I became a robot out of over protection. I do not only have to reconnect to the child I used to be, I need to connect with myself today as well. I need to heal this chid so I can finally stop running from everything that could have hurt her in my current life, and I am, but this is why I only notice now how much I have missed all this years. My trauma created a fear so big that I have never lived, I have survived, but that is all my life has been.

Until I broke down last year, I have been hiding behind my coping strategies. As a kid, I surrendered, I gave in to my parent’s idea that I was worthless and as a young teenager I even tried to kill and harm myself because I believed I wasn’t good enough for this world. When I got older, I changed to escaping. I used alcohol, drugs and boyfriends to escape the harsh truth about what my parents believed I was as well as to escape them, to escape home. After that the counterattacking started, with my strict routines and hard work I was doing no more than trying to prove that I was more than what my parents thought of me while never being quite good enough. And this last cooping strategy I continue even today, I have never lived without by life being a reaction to my trauma and so I continued my suffering.

The depression I feel today is no more than a reaction to the realization that my life has been only a way to survive till now. I notice what I miss living to cope with my pain, I notice that I have done nothing more then that and my true life is as blank as that of a young child. But this emptiness gives me the space I need to add more meaning to my life and the pain gives me the will to create something better, to become someone better. I can start the life I have always deserved, I am ready now, at least for the beginning. I guess the return of the emotions from then create a safety to feel more today and slowly this feeling of safety will grow inside me, until I am safe and no longer need to survive and start living.

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