When I awake, there are good mornings, when I don’t feel anything in particular. Then there are the mornings when I get the ‘plunge’. The nearest I can describe it is when someone you love tells you it is over. I get this plunging in my stomach and I feel a sadness well up in me like being caught in a wave. If the head decides to pitch in, then it gets a bit more difficult. That manifests itself as a litany of abuse, of negativity, recalling all my mistakes reminding me of my shortcomings and failures. After many years of this it gets harder to fight that voice, to not succumb to its truth. The heart makes itself known at night time, giving me surges of adrenaline when I am at the point of sleeping.
But I have responsibilities beyond my needs, so I get up and start the process of becoming ‘Work Me’. Work Me is a lot tougher, altogether a lot more capable, Work Me has a skin. I have a role at work, a place, a reason to interact, I am good at what I do, I need to be good so I understand the value that I bring. I can’t be the real me at work, because I would be just too socially awkward, too sensitive to the environment I am in. So over the years I have become a good actor. On bad days it is possible to smile and laugh even though there is no corresponding actual emotion happening inside of me.
Socialising I generally avoid, and when I have to it can be a potential nightmare. As long as I can keep the conversation on work, or about the other person I can survive and keep level. I usually have an exit it strategy in place because I need it. The fall, when it happens, is quick and brutal. I can go from being relatively normal to being completely un communicative in minutes. It is an awful thing to experience, to be that dislocated and isolated from the people around me. Worse for them because they have no idea why I am behaving like this. I can’t do crowds, the sense of isolation is overwhelming.
So work for me is a blessing, it allows me the illusion of being part of something. I think we all need a ‘pack’, to be part of a group. A family pack would be amazing, if not at least some close friends that I can be myself with. That is one of the things that has frustrated me. I crave that contact, that emotional warmth and support you can give and get in a close friendship. But at the same time I push people away and isolate myself. Most of the time that is okay, other times I feel absolutely broken by it.
We are all linked by some sort of human suffering, we all experience emotional trauma’s. However, we deal with them in many different ways, ways that can have some unintended consequences. Sometimes people can appear tired, disinterested, remote even, but that does not mean they don’t care or are not trying. They may have already expended vast amounts of mental and emotional energy just to get to here and now. What they need is a connection. A look, a glance, a smile, a cup of tea, the squeeze of a hand, all can transform a person’s day. Compassion rather than judgement.
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