21 days later; feeling feels good

My therapist kept track, even though I didn’t. As she worked to summarize our session watching the clock count down our last ten minutes. Making sure I got my money’s worth.

A rupture in a relationship with a co-worker tipped an already anxious me down a relatively moderate spiral. But then again I have a habit of downplaying these things. Unable to take on any more feelings, overwhelmed from giving and receiving, I shut down five days after being determined that no asshole shall cost me my joy.

Avoidance was like the feeling of safety that came from hiding in a closet when an intruder had broken in. Gripped with an overwhelming fear, unable to breath. I told myself if I just sat in that dark closet long enough, eventually everything will be fine. For the first time, I was trying to be okay with the fact that I was in a dark hole. That it was okay to be there.

Feeling numb and devoid of feelings the action plan was relying on the occasional cannabis to help me function. It worked out well for a few days, I was able to function in emotionally nuanced situations and expertly navigate them to get folks the help they needed.

Feigning empathy however was what held me up. Trying to support someone in the midst of their trauma re-telling, despite the narrative being so close to one of my own experiences, any words of support or validation were just completely empty. Words without a presence that failed to hit their mark. Empty just like I was.

Absolutely restless, discontent, and feeling the emotion beneath hanging on by the edge of its fingernails, I sat on my bed wide awake and unable to cry. In my despair, I felt nothing but a desire to create energetic blocks, and shut people out. I had given too much and received nothing uplifting in return. At least this way, I could preserve only what was mine and mine alone. For the first time being selfish and withdrawing support felt right.

I upset a lot of people by not picking up their calls and by not replying to their text messages. My mother included. It felt like no one really cared about me. Perhaps that was my depressed inner skeptic talking. But is it though when those communication attempts were because almost all of those people needed something from me? I stood confident in the realization that if someone is unhappy because I needed alone time it really was on them. I felt a strange apathy towards their needs. For the first time in a long time, I decided to prioritize myself.

So for days, I sat in. I didn't step outside the boundaries of my home for many a night. Eventually, after a week I had to leave my sanctuary to attend an in person meeting with my boss. It was a few short minutes away and felt like just the right amount of overwhelm I could take. Coming home again was such a relief. In here nobody could have access to hurt me.

At the very least I had taken some protective, self-serving action in the midst of various threats real and perfunctory. And I had taken on a crutch too very much to the disdain of my therapist who would rather have me relying on my own inner resources. What I didn’t realize at the time though, was that in some odd twisted way all of these supposedly counterproductive things — drug dependence, isolation, and selfishness did help me to eventually start thriving.

Initially I didn’t realize I was shutting down because I had been imbalanced. I thought I was giving unconditionally and was proud of myself for doing so. But unconditional love without self love and non-attachment can be deadly. I didn’t realize that the of feeling of thriving off of giving unconditionally was actually my ego in action and not my spirit. Trying to feel like I had an edge giving without return, giving without expectation, giving to feel like I was the bigger person. It was all ego and not pure love. It was tainted.

That tainted love created room for the hole to grow in the first place. Growing up in an abusive household not knowing what might set the adults off next made me a major people pleaser and hyper aware of emotional cues. I also was a very young person growing up into an adult with higher than average levels of cortisol and adrenaline rushing through her veins. My body didn’t know what it meant to live without constantly being in fight or freeze mode. And my brain didn’t know what it meant to say no and learn to receive love.

Overgiving and drawn to chaotic situations and people was natural. It was all I knew. All I was conditioned to know and accept. Having had the lucky advantage of inheriting both the genes and the environment for depression I now wonder if that depression is what had been trying to save me all along? Ironic? One might say so if they knew the first time I had tried to kill myself I was all but five years old.

I say this because the depression allowed me to create some kind of a numb space for myself where I could just exist. Exist not very colourfully but exist nevertheless. The numbness in some ways shielded me emotionally from further people pleasing. It rendered me incapable of doing a whole lot for others. Not much for myself either but at least the scales had tipped a bit more my way. The withdrawal in some ways protected me from people and their unknown intentions. The suicidal ideation and attempts allowed me to feel again. It was pain but at least I was feeling something. That was a lot better than feeling a whole lot of nothing.

This time around two weeks into my latest dip I had an upcoming retreat planned out. Disconnected from the world joining a wonderful soul brining an amazing group of women together on the most wonderful, eclectic, and unique estate built like a sanctuary. It had old growth forests, alpacas, and a river running through. The whole time I was there I was in a very independent state of mind. It truly allowed me to reflect on how imbalanced my masculine energy was, my feminine energy was, and how restless and discontent I was.

I have everything that I had ever wanted as a child at age 27. A huge house to myself with an office and meditation room, a job where I got to give to others and support them, money, style, jewels, farm fresh produce to nourish myself with. Yet nothing could please me. I was bored and not feeling an ounce of gratitude as I stared out into the milky way watching a million stars light up the night sky. Even a shooting star was not enough to please me.

At the retreat numerous people wanted my time and my energetic exchange and most of them found themselves disappointed. I had nothing to give, and mostly wanted alone time. I found some emotional space to create a painting though. Found myself criticizing it for two days until it finally felt like I had tweaked it enough so that it did an okay job of capturing the essence of the trees I wanted down in my memory. On the last day after almost everyone had left I hiked down to the river. It was time for a dip with my being as close to its own nature as possible. Two full body dips in an icy cold river were more than enough to bring about the first moment of joy I had felt in a long time.

My skin was glowing and I was finally ready to be confronted that I indeed was quite hurt. I had indeed allowed a complicated individual in an emotionally chaotic state to rob me of my joy. I was now ready to begin coping with my reality again. Then began the easy work. I exhausted the cannabis supply and committed myself to not buying anymore. I was ready for the release to come on. I was ready to feel again. I had my recurring appointment set up the following Tuesday with my dear therapist Susann. Without whom I don’t know how I would have made it through some of my lowest lows.

As I sat in front of my laptop looking at her and entered the grounded, safe, and loving space she held for me I began to cry. As each tear drop rolled down my cheeks it began emptying the reservoir of pain I was holding back and began filling up the ocean of deep love I needed to float in.




A super intuitive creative nutcracker

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