My therapist and husband keep reminding me to write. “You’ll feel better if you write about it,” they tell me.
Will I? Because quite honestly, the thought of sitting down and dumping my thoughts on paper sounded like much too great a task. It would be so much simpler, I rationalized for months on end, if I just continued to ignore it all.
Eventually — today — I reached a point of such substantial discomfort that I unhappily broke my laptop out of hibernation. So, hi. I’m still alive, sober, and struggling.
Life does not get easier when one stops numbing her emotions, just so you know. Life continues on just as it always has, it’s just that I’m very much aware of it.
I have a hard time during the holidays for a lot of different reasons. The worst part is the inexplicable sadness that sweeps over me, at a time when I feel like I’m supposed to be jolly. I spent many years ignoring/stuffing/numbing my feelings and blaming other people for “making” me feel this way. If only XYZ had not happened, if only I’d done ABC differently, maybe I wouldn’t struggle so hard during the time between Thanksgiving and mid-January.
Well, here’s the truth: trauma changes a person.
No amount of time or having good things happen can completely erase the damage that’s already done. There are things that can lessen the effects, and there are plenty of coping skills that can help a damaged person live an emotionally healthy life, but at the end of the day we are all still broken inside.
Most of the women you know and love who suffer from addiction, have a history of trauma. So when people say things like “Why are you so sad? You have a great life!” my blood pressure shoots way, way up. Yes, I do have a great life. I’m incredibly grateful that I found a way out of the darkness, one day at a time. I am one of the very few, which is why it continues to be so important to me to talk about it — because if you’re still breathing, there is still hope that you can overcome whatever obstacles were dropped in your path.
That doesn’t mean that it’s easy. None of it is easy. And while most of the time I am not bitter or angry, around this time of year I get real bitter and angry. I used to drink those feelings away, but now I simply carry them, feel them, accept them.
It is not anyone else’s problem to fix. I have zero control over the past or other people. What I DO have control over is what I choose to do with it all, and every day I get another chance to make different choices.
Today I’m choosing to air out my struggles, if for no other reason than to make someone else feel less alone in theirs.