Sitting there thinking about everything. I stared at the computer screen again, blankly like I usually did. I honestly felt like I was in a great big fog of nothing. There’s those times when you just stop and wonder how your life got to the point that it’s at. Today was one of those days.
I had been in the Army for almost 3 years and had little to show for it. I was broken. Physically and mentally I was broken. When I say broken I mean that I was actually broken. I was still recovering from foot surgery to repair some tendons and I had a herniated disc in my back. All of this leading to some pretty significant mental health issues such as anxiety and panic disorder, as well as insomnia. So let’s just say at this point “broken” is a very relative term. My broken could very well be someone else’s fixed.
To put it all in perspective before joining the Army I had been very active . . . Yoga four times a week, cycling 3 times a week and running every day. And, when I say running I don’t mean jogging. I mean I was a runner, a ultra runner to be more exact. I ran races from 5k to ultra marathons (50 miles at a time). My best marathon time was 3:35. I was happy then. I was running and I was at peace. Then I got broken.
This was something I found lurking in a dark corner of my computer this morning. Hmmmm….
I mean I guess broken is a relative term. I still deal with chronic pain everyday and some days are worse than others. Some days I want to grab a knife and end it all, to be free of the constant nagging from my body. Other days I feel my patience is gone and I want to lash out at everyone because I’ve used all my energy trying to keep my inner demons at bay and control my pain level at the same time. Other days are good days. This day I started writing was not a good day.
I remember I stopped writing and just started crying and sobbing uncontrollably. I know know that the Army may have broken my body but they were just the last straw that broke me mentally. I had been though enough and everything all coupled together brought me down.
You don’t realize when everything changes until it does all at once. Still today I can not do everything that I once did. But I have had to accept that I can do some things and work within my limits, push myself when I can and back off when I need to.
I’m still broken. I wouldn’t go back to talking all those pills and medications to live in a fog for anything. Yes, I have my moments when I seriously consider ending it all but I’d rather live feeling something than live in a pea soup fog.
Yes I’m still broken but aren’t we all broken in some way? Being broken is who we are.
I found this little piece written in a journal . . . Seems like abstract thought that I jotted down one day but I could really say the same thing on any given day.
In retrospect I had all the ability in the world to free myself from an unhealthy situation and I never acted. I was too afraid that the rest of the world would be worse toward me than my parents were. Consequently I learnt that if I had problems that the best thing to do was run away from them like my parents did. I wanted dearly to change my life but I was too afraid of the outside world. If I knew what I knew then I would have know that the rest of the world was waiting for me and wanted to help, that the world wasn’t a big mean monster all of the time like I was led to believe.
I don’t hate anyone. I don’t have hatred in my soul for her, I am just angry. I know that God, or most religious things, say that we should love one another and forgive. But how can I do that when everything has gone backwards and everything has been taken away? How do you move past something or someone’s actions that have harmed you and your family and not feel some sort of anger or hatred?
There are all these quotes on the internet about hatred . . . ‘Hatred will eat at your soul,’ ‘Hatred paralyzed life, love releases it,’ etc etc. But what does that mean? I feel like everything I read is telling me that hatred and anger are bad. Everything assumes that these emotions should be suppressed and pushed away because they will do nothing but harm. But why?
Supposed we embraced our emotions for a moment. What if we opened ourselves up to feeling that hatred, that anger we have for whatever reason. I’m not saying we let it consume us for days, weeks and lifetimes but maybe for a few minutes or hours or a day. What if we accepted that anger and dealt with it head on instead of thinking, ‘oh I’m not supposed to feel anger. If I just feel love and act out of love it will be alright.” Ugh . . . I’m sorry but I’m not sorry at the same time. I’ve tried to be ‘the better person,’ denied that I was angry and tried to think that everything would be alright because hatred and anger would get me no where. Know where love got me? Love got me nothing. It only proved that the same person could again take advantage of me and treat me and my family like they didn’t matter.
Yesterday I embraced my anger. I yelled and cried and finally said that it was enough. I was going to be and angry and no, I didn’t love that person anymore and I couldn’t morally say that I even liked them anymore. They were a toxic person who was ruining my health (mental and thus physical) and my family’s health. I finally accepted that I was allowed to be angry.
We are allowed to feel all these emotions, so we should feel them! We should embrace them because if we try to suppress them we only hurt ourselves more. They are not wrong. Feeling anger and hatred is not bad. What is bad is if we act impulsively in a negative way that could harm others when we are feeling these things. We have to be aware of ourselves, be aware of our emotions, our feelings, our actions.
We have to accept that these are part of us and make us who we are. Denying these feelings will only consume us and send us deeper into a black hole. We have to be more patient with ourselves and have some self acceptance that to feel as we do is ok. Accept that we do not always have to be picture perfect and happy and loving. We can be angry and upset and feel hatred as long as we do it in a constructive way.
It’s a question that pops into my head every so often. Did I choose my parents? Did I somehow choose this life before I even knew I had a choice?
What I wrestle with is the notion that maybe we as beings before taking flesh and bone form had a choice. If we had a choice, why did we choose to be born to certain people, to have our initial family with them?
Sometime I think maybe I was given a choice high above, choose a family that has everything (money, jobs, love, stability) and know complete contentment and be able to reach all the goals that I want with little resistance. You will never know the full range of sorrow or heartache, you will not know what it is like to struggle without help but you will be able to easily help others who do. OR choose a family that has what you need (money, jobs). They are lacking in love and stability but you will know complete failure, complete love, complete heartache and you will struggle and have to work to reach your goals. Your accomplishments will come at a price but you will know what pure happiness is.
If you could see your life before you choose it, why did you choose the one you did? I can’t imagine if I saw my life laid out like this, especially my childhood, that I would have chosen this path. Or, maybe there is something ahead that is greater than all of the rest. Don’t get me wrong right now I’m in a good place (minus debt but that pretty normal). I wouldn’t change anything in the past because then I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I just ponder the idea of how much choice we had in our lives before we were actually conceived.
It’s is chance or dance? It’s a question someone asked me in high school. Is everything that happens just by chance or is it a great dance laid out before us. I’d like to think that it’s a great dance. Or at least like one of those books where you can choose different chapters which lead to different endings. I’d like to think that everything happens for a reason and each reason influencing the next step in the dance. That if I make a mistake and misstep one place the dance will recover and push be back onto the right move so that I finish were I was supposed to. That’s what I want to believe. But why is it so hard to just accept that?
I look at my parents, at my childhood specifically and I wonder if I really did choose that life somehow. And, if I did, why? What did I see in my future that I wanted myself to learn?
I wake up, my silk shirt is twisted around my midsection and soaked in sweat. I’m sitting upright in bed, my right hand clasped over my mouth in an instinctive reaction to stop the screams from echoing through the house. My hair is plastered to my head with cold sweat and my breath rasps in my chest. I stumbled trying to get out of bed, swinging haphazardly for the light switch. I need the lights on. I need to burn out the darkness.
The lights flash on and the room is lit in a blaze of yellow light. I can see the bed sheets half on the floor, torn from the bed in a frantic attack. I sit with my back against the closed door, feeling the cold solidness of the wood. Curled in a ball, hugging my legs into myself, I force myself to breath deep breaths in and out. Reminding myself where I am, that it was all just a nightmare.
Slowly I start to realize my nightshirt is soaked in cold sweat. I’m starting to shiver as the sweat dries upon my skin. I don’t know how long I’ve sat there hugging myself. I pry myself from the floor and open the door to the hallway. I wander down the hall to the bathroom quickly closing the door and flipping on the light. The cold yellow light beats down on me and I turn on the water in the sink. Stripping down to nothing I stand there trying to clear my head, listening to the water. I close my eyes shivering trying to remain I control of by breathing.
Standing naked in the bathroom it all comes back. Grabbing the sides of the sink I breath deeply attempting to organize my thoughts. It’s all red. I haven’t had this nightmare in over two years much less now than when it first occurred. How it mimics the events that night still terrify me. The blood …. I know it’s stress induced, I know I should be able to control it at some level.
The steam from the water in the sink rises up around my face. I dip my hands into the full basin splashing the hot water over my face. I gingerly touch around my right eye feeling where the break has healed. The crack it made … Breathe in breathe out. I reach for a wash cloth, dipping in the hot water and gingerly passing it over my arms, my breasts, my stomach. I dip in into the sink again, wringing out the excess water listening it as it falls into the full sink. I pass the cloth over my legs, I between my thighs. Everything flashes hot and white, a bang going off deep in my subconscious.
I snap up standing straight and for a split second in the mirror I see the child from that night. Tiny and hunched over, right eye bruised and swollen shut, blood running from her nose, bruises covering her arms and her wrists rubbed raw and bleeding from the constant struggle against the restraints. The blood dripping down from between her legs, pooling on the hardwood floor.
I grab the sink, grounding myself again. Looking down there’s no blood now, white tiles not wood staring back at me. Breathing in … It’s a memory, it’s just a nightmare now, it’s all in the past. I let the water out of the sink, grabbing a towel in wrap myself in its soft dryness. My footsteps softly patter back to my bedroom. Quickly fixing my bed I crawl under the covers with the towel still wrapped around me. Turning the lights off I feel more in control now. I sigh, looking at my phone I feel like talking to someone but don’t know what to say. I fall asleep phone in hand trying to decide if I should call or not.
The alarm is going off, the sun just peeking over the horizon and the autumn air is fresh with possibilities. My running shoes are sitting near the door. They are calling to me. I unwrap from my towel and quickly dress in running attire without ceremony.
Heading out the door the air hits me sending me into balance. I head down the driveway and by the time I get to the corner I can feel my hips moving in their natural rhythm. Each step I take I feel the grey veil of the previous night falling away once again into the past.
I lost my pride in the mix of everything. I began to understand that everything happens and doesn’t happen for a reason. I don’t have to be good at goodbyes for things to be alright. All that matters is that you and I understand each other.
The world is a beautiful place and when we open our eyes to this fact, goodbye is merely a formality that should be stated as a see you later or until we meet again. For In every sunset and sunrise we see each other again.
We open our arms to the morning and the evening light and there is never an end, merely a continuation of the great circle of evolving development. That’s when you realize that all the pride you were building up means nothing the giant scheme of the universe. You are merely one in a billon of atoms circling in the giant dance but without you the dance would not continue in the same pattern. You may be scared of loosing your mind in this but really it’s just going to take a little time. Letting your breath out, let the tears of goodbye come naturally like the rain, washing away.
Let the goodbye cleanse your soul of everything that you are holding onto and move forward. Wipe away the sadness realizing that now you are stronger. Embrace the future as wonderful news and see the beauty grow from this spring rain, blossoming into a new bright future. Only then does the pride you had held melt away into selflessness and inner reflection and understanding of the complete emotion. So say goodbye to the naive past being content in the educated now.
Goodbye does not mean goodbye but moving onward. We must learn to cope with them. Today, everyday there are millions of people saying goodbye. In another land I began to understand that I had to get lost in order to find myself again and become friendly with goodbyes. This may be the last time we share this exact moment so let in some hope in every word we utter. I began to understand that in order to fully love everyone I must first learn to love the haters and myself. We were born to be who we are. Listen with your heart open, have you heard? Goodbye is only a midpoint of the journey before you.
We go through life and what people see “outside” can many times be completely different than what we have on the “inside.” An internal conflict (battle) is defined by Google as, “the struggle occurring within a character’s mind. Things such as the character views for, but can’t quite reach.”
Every day we can smile and laugh but on the inside we are raging and screaming. I think for myself that most people never had any idea that inside I was falling apart and battling demons in my mind. I also don’t think that those same people would ever believe that I was suicidal and battling depression and anxiety, even if I told them now. I put on such a great act so that no one around me would see the real me, the internal me.
But why? Why do we hide these internal battles? Why do we only let these internal battles play out in our minds all the while smiling to the world as best we can? Because, it’s human nature amplified by social/media stereotypes and pressure that leads us to believe that these conflicts are “wrong,” that pushes us to be cautious of being judged and “shamed” by others.
Isn’t an internal battle something that we should embrace? Why can’t it be something that we can use to empower ourselves? While we hide our internal battle we are only really harming ourselves in the end. We are causing ourselves more pain, stress and anguish trying to hide our problems from everyone then by simply saying to someone, “no I’m not really ok. I have a lot going on that I’m trying to figure out right now.”
Maybe instead of pushing away our thoughts we should take a deep breath and welcome those thoughts, letting them in. When we push our thoughts away, those thoughts just become more intense and demanding. We need to let our subconscious mind know that we hear it and we accept the message. An internal battle is something that should be embraced because it means our minds are functioning and thinking, our mind is trying to wake us up and help us.
Conflict is unavoidable . . In our daily lives, in our minds . . . It’s unavoidable. As much as we may try to run away from it and hide from it, conflict will always find us, if not with others, internally with ourselves. When we struggle and we come face to face with our battles, our struggles, we find what we really need, what we really cling to.
Internal battles, struggles, in our lives reveal and redefine us. We have to accept these battles so that we can let go of what we don’t need and focus on the essentials. No matter who we are or who we want to become we all have internal battles. From our internal battles we can figure out what really matters to us. But, we have to make sure we consciously embrace the internal battle and confront it, not let it consume us and take us down the dark rabbit hole of blackness.
I’m not saying that we won’t feel vulnerable when we embrace our internal battles. I know every time I consciously sit and think and focus on my internal battle I feel completely alone and vulnerable to everything. It’s scary but at the end it’s empowering to know that I took the time to confront myself and say, “listen self, I understand what you’re saying. I accept what you’re saying. But, I’m going to do this right now.” Or you say, “ok self. I hear you. I accept what you’re saying. And, yes I think you’re correct right now. But just give me some time because I’m not ready yet.” It’s like telling ourselves that in this moment we understand that how we are operating through life isn’t working and won’t sustain us long term but we recognize and understand this, we just need some more time. It’s the acknowledgement to our subconscious that we are aware and we are not going to let it consume us. We are going to work with it together to find a solution.
It’s the match that lights the fire. The battle is the fire that has the opportunity to fundamentally alter everything in our lives if we let it. When we embrace our internal battle we change ourselves not only internally up outwardly too. Instead of projecting a “false” self to the world we can begin to show our “true” self. Little by little, baby steps, we can get there to accept not our physical self but our mental self in every state.
Simply put, “Embrace the struggle and let it make you stronger. It won’t last forever.”