While on the outside of the well, looking in, I see reflections. My own reflection of my physical self, of course. But also the reflections of things normally unseen. My emotions. My raw, unfiltered emotions. And they are not very easy on the eye! It is taking much longer to write my story than I had imagined. It is more painful that I had imagined. It is causing me to go back to a place I never wanted to revisit, and foolishly thought I wouldn’t have to.
But to tell my story, to FULLY tell it, I need to revisit those places. And while it is therapeutic to go back to those painful places as a healed and healthy woman, it is also so very painful to see how wounded I really was. I was on death’s door begging him to let me in. And now, I want to go to that woman and grab her by the shoulders and shake the crazy right out of her. But I know I can’t. And it is very hard to watch.
I dealt with some degree of depression my entire life. The chronic severe pain that lasted 5 years sent me so far into it I thought I would never come out. I didn’t WANT to come out. I couldn’t even remember what life was like as a “normal” person. I only knew my warped sense of reality. I hated people that didn’t have pain. I couldn’t relate to them. And the look of pity in their eyes made me want to claw their eyes out. But the crippling depression didn’t leave enough energy for anger or rage. It just turned into more sadness. It was quick sand, and every emotion I had, no matter what it was SUPPOSED to be, turned into the sadness. Remember the movie Neverending Story? And he is in the swamp? They actually referred to the quicksand as “The Sad”. It never made sense to me until now. It is truly what it was like.
Every morning I would lay in bed with the covers over my head wishing that today would be the day that I didn’t wake up. Wouldn’t have to face the day. But, alas, that day never came. I was forced, every day, to wake up, put on my “mask” and move on. I had to plaster on a smile and pretend nothing was wrong. Life was GRAND! Life was GREAT! FANTASTIC!! FABULOUS!!! Because, I learned, that if I didn’t…no one cared. I was a bother. A bitch. A downer. And, being the people pleaser I was, I couldn’t stand that. I HAD to be liked. To be loved. To make sure everyone was happy and comfortable all the time. Myself be damned.
Wearing the mask was exhausting and caused me to shut down and shut everyone out. I would let people in, but only so far. The minute it got “real” I shut them out. I didn’t want anyone to try to get to know the real me, because I didn’t even know who that was, but I had learned through rejection my whole life, that the real me wasn’t worth knowing anyway. So I would shut people out and reject them before they had a chance to reject me. This left me feeling further isolated. More lonely. More SAD.
I began resenting everything and everyone. I resented my husband for not knowing that even when I said I was fine, I was far from it. I resented my young children for needing me too much when I had nothing left to give. I resented my mother for not loving me enough and making me feel worthy of love when I was younger…if she had, I wouldn’t feel this way, right? I resented my father for not being more on my side. I resented my sister for being my mother’s favorite. I resented my friends for being able to smile and laugh and have fun. I resented my doctors for not being able to fix me. I resented my medication for not working well enough. I resented my body for failing me. I resented God for letting me feel so much pain. I resented how bitter I had become. I resented how difficult everything was for me. I resented how my depression consumed me. I resented the fact that I was still alive.
Now, that I am out of the well…and looking back at my reflection…I see the pain that was in my eyes. No mask could have ever hidden that. So why did no one see it? REALLY see it?? Or, is it that they DID, and that is why I pushed them away?