It is nothing unique, nothing more or less than anyone else's, I'm sure, and I think that may have been my first mistake in thinking that I could handle all of it. I've been so busy dealing with it all, day in and day out, fighting the symptoms but not the disease, that I forgot to step back and remind myself that this is mine and only mine. It is my responsibility to own it, my responsibility to learn about it, my responsibility to take care of it so I can live my life.
It begins with the coma, with that initial disconnection from my brain and a concerted attempt by myself and my doctors to reconnect it, but my emotional landscape was set ablaze by the dual natures of my parents own emotional landscapes: my father, unable to connect because growing up love wasn't safe and in order to prevent himself from becoming the monster his father was, he stayed at arm's length from me, still loving me but still distant, as if his heart might explode by getting too close. My mother, struggling with bipolar disorder most of her life, the emphasis always remained on her emotional safety, on her emotional landscape and mine was sort of left at my own devices.
And I ran into dark corners, into corners that hadn't burned yet and I laid the foundations of my friendships and relationships there, until they burned. I was like the Road Warrior, alone, just looking for that next oasis in a post-apocalyptic mess. Only I wasn't a bad ass, I wasn't a hero, I couldn't even save myself.
A few years ago, I ran out of places to run to...and then my dad died...and then my marriage began to collapse because of an infidelity, an infidelity I allowed because all around me there was no comfort in the love of friends and family and this burning city of my emotions made everyday feel like a crisis. I hid inside fake emotions, inside emotions that I thought people wanted me to feel. I even manipulated them in order to give creedence to those fake emotions so they felt all the more real to me. That caused more pain to myself and loved ones that I didn't count on.
And now I'm outside of myself, policing every manipulative or potentially dangerous impulse I have, still unsafe in myself, but safe from the burning of the past, and now I have to build up a new city of my emotions. And I have to lay foundations on top of the rubble, foundations in emotions I've never known: self-trust, self-respect, self-forgiveness, self-discipline, and self-confidence. I know that I can feel these and that it will finally be, it must be, a genuine feeling, but the question is how to do it while preventing the inferno that engulfed my life over the past two years from rising up again and taking my tiny successes and turning them into ashes.
It is all I can do some days to get out of bed. It is all I can do to pay a bill, or do a chore, or remind myself that I like to play Magic: The Gathering. I reach deep for each fraction of each friendly smile.
I think this slow, ever-present plodding along is where all that self-whatever is going to come from. I hope it is.
I seriously hope it is. Because I don't want to be the Road Warrior in my own head anymore.