A fresh title to an old story

So, the past one week has been… Rough, to say the least. My mental and emotional state has taken such a beating that it could give my depressed self a run for her money, and the only thing keeping me out of utter despair is the knowledge that I’ve been there before.

I have seen so much pain in my short existence that it’s no longer pitiable, it’s astonishing, to the point where I need to ask myself, how do I keep doing this? I’ve been battered and bruised mentally and emotionally at least once by nearly every single person I love/loved and hold/held in high regard. And all anyone offering me support can say is – ‘It’s a woman’s lot’.

I don’t know so much about it has to do with being a woman, but either I’m really stupid or really masochistic, because dealing with this much pain over a span 9 years (completely discounting childhood trauma and abuse) doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore.

I’m afraid of emotional pain, of being hurt, to the point where just thinking about it could potentially give me an anxiety attack. But when I face actual pain, it’s a lot different now than when I first started my train wreck of several failed relationships all that while ago.

In the face of emotional pain, my mind would into this zone. It would build these walls up, and begin to plan, because plans meant control, and planning is the only bit of control I would have over my life at that point. Control made me feel safe. Control calmed me, because it meant that I could keep what’s hurting me away from me. I intensively planned every possible course of action, and looked at every single consequence of every single action, forming a complex maze of interconnecting actions and consequences in my head. Working that out would keep me engaged, because every time I looked up from my own thoughts, the reality of my inner world burning down would plague me.

At this point, though… What is the point of these walls? What is the point of over thinking my life? What has to happen will happen, and I’ve come to realise it’s a lot easier dealing with life when you don’t have to deal with letting go of your expectations first. The number of times things haven’t worked out the way I wanted them to is too many to count, and every time, I’d look back and see how things not working out my way was a legitimately good idea. Hindsight 20/20, as they say.

All I’ve learnt about pain from my work is that things hurt a lot less when you stop resisting it. To give you examples, intramuscular injections hurt a lot less when you relax your muscles, intravenous injections don’t take as long if you don’t struggle, and catheterization is always a bitch. It’s always going to hurt, no matter what you do, but it’s going to hurt a lot more if you wiggle around and have that tube rub all over the place within your urethra.

And all I’ve learnt about pain from my life is that it isn’t going away. There isn’t this stopwatch in the clock of life that flags how much pain you’ve undergone, and what amount of suffering is ‘enough’. You don’t get to decide how many ups are sufficient, and how low the downs get to go. As long as I live, I’m going to be hurt if I put myself out there, and I’m going to be hurt if I don’t. There isn’t any running away from it, whichever way I choose.

So, if everything is going to hurt anyway, might as well put myself out there and live my best life. I might as well use that pain to understand others, and channelise that pain to alleviate the suffering of others, because it is only once we experience pain that we recognise another’s sorrow, and it is our ability to experience that helps us connect to one another.

As of right now, I’m in pain. It’s not close to the worst kind of pain that I felt, but, then again, I didn’t recognise the worst period of my life until much later, with that 20/20 hindsight I told you about earlier. At that time, too, I probably undermined my own suffering, telling myself it was all fine, and all I needed to do was to put one foot in front of the other. Just keep swimming, as Dory says.

Tomorrow would be a new day – not a better day, or a worse day, but a different day. And that was something to look forward to.

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