When people call you strong, sometimes it’s hard to take it as a compliment. They mean well, and are probably admiring how you’ve managed to pull yourself through crappy things in life (or so I’m told) but equally… Or at least in my case… I find it hard to take it in a good way. Or I can take it well at the time, but it eats away at me too. (I’m just as guilty for saying it to people, especially when they’re going through stuff because, well I guess I’m not great with the wordy feely things.)
I’m the sort of person where at the moment of a crisis I panic. If I get some horrible news, I cave in on myself and feel like the floor is dropping away beneath my feet and all I can think about is whatever it is I’ve just been told. I can’t take a step back from the situation. I can’t calm down. All I can do is spiral and cry and feel like I’m drowning. I reach out to people around me in the hopes that they can help me make sense of whatever it is that I’m dealing with because all rational thought has gone out the window. Once I’ve had that panic, and reached the bottom of the spiral (which is normally because I’ve exhausted myself and pass out, or if I’ve been too stubborn to reach out to people, have willed myself to not cry and not dwell on it and focus on moving forward) I just push it deep down inside and try not to think about it.
And that… is not a good coping mechanism. Why? Because it means that I then get people being all like “how are you feeling now?” which is obviously met with me standard I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it response of “fine” or my weird “it’s always darkest before the dawn” inspirational quote spiel that I only ever whip out when I feel like dirt. And generally? They don’t delve any deeper. Because who really wants to hear someone recount all the ways that they’re struggling and feeling like they’re constantly drowning? And I’ve been playing this game for so long now that I know how to make it sound convincing that I’m fine. I know how to laugh and make it sound like I’m dealing with things. And the problem with that is that people then feel like you’re this invincible person who can deal with whatever life throws at you. I’ve had someone say “wow, nothing ever really gets you down for long does it? You just get right back up. You always bounce back” But you know what, how can you bounce back when you never really got up in the first place?
I live my life in a constant fear of “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. Yes, I’m capable of enjoying life and getting caught up in happy times and all the rest of it… But when I’m lying in bed late at night and I can’t sleep because a million thoughts are racing around my head, or I’m driving somewhere and I’m so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I can’t bring myself to sing along to my favourite songs because I’m scared that if I open my mouth I won’t be able to stop myself from crying, and if I start crying I have no idea when I’ll stop… Those are the times that I wish I could stop being “strong”. They’re the times where I wish I could just curl up in a ball and cry until my eyes dry up, and scream at the universe at how it is so unfair because I don’t deserve this and I can’t deal with everything and curse every single person who has ever uttered anything similar to “everything happens for a reason” like the pain that I feel every day is some consolation for the fact that I’m “right where I need to be” and part of some grand plan that I’m not privy to.
The problem is, there’s a part of me that categorically doesn’t want to talk about anything… But there’s another part of me that is buckling under the weight of everything and is silently hoping that it will all come out.