Lord help me from making the same mental mistakes over and over again. The magnetism of self-pity seems to pull me from the steadfastness of gratitude. I don’t rarely recognize the pull, but I sure recognize the pain and burden associated with it. Anxiety grips me once again, transporting me out of my physical body, placing my entire being into my frontal lobe. The world around me is then placed on pause. The gentle breeze that was flowing through gently caressing my skin was blocked from my consciousness, not to mention a slight suffocation of my normal breath. I’m now completely taken over by my thoughts. An elephant could have walked right in front of me but I wouldn’t have noticed it at this point. The only hope to shake me from this bondage would be to throw out of a plane at 30,000 feet to bring me back to the present moment.
Only a few days ago I felt so connected and optimistic about life, so what went wrong? And what makes me think I will get out of this funk by ruminating on the thoughts that got me there in the first place? I need help. I turn to God again! He says serve. I scream Me Me Me. He says love. I say worry. He says surrender. I grasp for control.
One would hope that after this many times of being emotionally broken I would have learned my lesson, I haven’t. You think the behaviours that serve to distract me from what I really need to be focusing on would be held in check by now, they aren’t. You would hope that after reaching such depths of self-examination I would be able to stand stoically in the face of another turning of the tides, but again, I didn’t quite make the mark here either.
Sorting through the shape-shifting disease of the mind seems to always play out like a game of whack a mole at the fair. Just as I have worked through one set of issues, they dissolve and a sense of jubilance sweeps through me. Sometimes in only a matter of a few weeks later, those issues that were just dismantled seem surface again, masquerading themselves in a completely varied form this time. These four horsemen of emotional burden: fear, shame, distrust, and inferiority seem to be the proprietors of my well-being. On occasion I can go for a few months without having to proctor these restless beasts, but when things shift, as they always do, I don’t find myself as easily spooked as I once was.
I went through many years of my life attempting to ignore the loud shrieks of warning, beckoning from within. But as most of us eventually find out, you can only ignore the loud clamours for so long. I hit my breaking point at the ripe age of 23 before I even came close to looking within at my internal workings. It was terrifying! In hindsight I can’t take responsibility for all of my struggles in life, I simply wasn’t nurtured with the skills I would need to examin my internal workings. My parents were both raised in emotional inept homes. They grew up lacking many of the same skills and had a family of their own. The negative thought cycle wasn’t acknowledged and consequently corrected so inevitably they passed on the same modus operandi in life to me and my sister, however limited it may have been.
Many years later in life I came to my senses and realized that standing around pointing fingers at others for my emotional stagnation would never reward me with anything but pain. Although it sure was easy to deflect my issues and selectively allocate my burdens on others, none of my problems seemed to be going anywhere. Not only was I then stuck spinning my wheels in frustration, but that approach also pleasantly gifted me with considerably more resentment that I would later have to address. I’m not proud to say, but in some cases that took years to finally address.
One of the scariest things to see in life is when someone is very sick, but think they are well. I suffered this same inability to recognize my own sickness, and it proved to be debilitating. All you had to do was open up one of the pieces of fruit I was bearing in life. From all outside appearances the harvest was full, but the fruit was rotten on the inside. My so well practiced sleight of hand orchestrations worked so well to deceive. This extreme coping mechanism was put into place in hopes of avoiding the painful of blows of prejudice and judgement of others. Lies, manipulation, credit card debt, and associating with people I secretly despised to earn social rank. The depths of my sickness are troublesome, but after close review, I’ve unfortunately found many individuals who seem to be operating under that same lie.
My ability to operate out of a place of blinded avoidance, to this day still quite shocking. Since I wasn’t even close to being well grounded growing up, paired with the fact that I had little to no spiritual connection to lead me, and that all of my decisions were based on how to impress people who really didn’t care or think about me, it’s no wonder things went sour for me. Materialism and vanity were my Gods. I was born into a world which measuring stick for well-being is their net worth. If material progress how I was going to be weighted when it came to worthiness in life, you can rest assured I was faking it till I made it, or in my case crashing and burning. It became apparent that I wasn’t keeping up with the Jones, and the compounding pressure to succeed was too much for me to handle. I threw in the towel and pressed the ‘Fuck It’ button on life. I then proceeded to run from my failures, real or imagined, and took up my own version of hedonism.
Taking responsibility for things in life was now completely wiped off the priorities list and I replaced it with trivial failing coping mechanisms like sex, alcohol and attention. Night after night, I would fill myself up with these egoic pleasures, and for a while it actually seemed to work. But like all good things in life, they come to an end. The dream eventually dies, reality sets in, and you find yourself attempting to fill that cavernous void face down over a soiled granite countertop. Attempting to find my solace through the inhalation of a powdered stimulant was never my first choice, but I was desperate.
Today I’m living proof that people can heal, and change for the greater good. I have a feeling that you too might some healing to do of your own, lingering in your very own quiet desperation for change. Let this serve as an encouragement that the dark side of your soul is well worth the examination. I wouldn’t dare to sit here and tell you that it is and was a linear process for myself, let alone easy, but it must be done. It has to be done. To step into the fullness of your own life you have to approach of what appears to be the limits of your sanity, and then leap further. You too will find yourself standing on your own two feet when you land, and that what had originally felt like a death wish was really just extending your own boundaries and leveling up on internal strength. The touchstone to growth is usually pain, and I hope that you too will arrive at this same door and open it with thanks.