It is 3:10 AM and another difficult night. While many of the fears and anxieties I have during the day have been pushed aside by distraction, it is dark and they are waiting for me. Just like they always do. Sometimes the days go by swiftly without a hitch, but that feeling of landing amongst my problems never goes away completely.
I call this feeling many things, uncertainty, anxiety, hopelessness. It is a beast of many names. I’ve carried it along with me for a long time now.
When I was five years old my mother would find me in the bathroom, scratch marks and bite imprints on my arms and legs. I was unable to release the anger and sadness and my young mind could not cope. My parents were separating, my mom had just found her biological family, and I felt unsafe. Of course I was not aware of these causes as I sat there crying; I just felt anger, fear and a deep, confused sorrow.
It was around that time that my mom and I came up with a strategy. We built a safety guard rail to keep my “car” from going off the road.
1.) Yell into a pillow and have a good cry.
2.) Eat a snack.
3.) Talk about it.
I feel as though these simple steps have carried into my life now, in a slightly modified form. Crying still releases the pain, having a good snack or a cup of soothing tea raises my blood sugar, and I have found talking and writing to be very beneficial. Healthy touch is found with a pet, family member or close friend.
Here’s the thing: the sadness doesn’t just disappear. It can be relentless, patient and unyielding. In the face of these, repetition is important. To respond to this, I try to become unyielding in my coping practices. Unyielding in my self forgiveness.
It can be so easy to internalize our fears and sadnesses. Some of us keep up a happy persona, we study hard, we smile, we keep up appearances. All the while we are hurting inside. Others of us may express unhealthy forms of anger and violence to ourselves or people around us.
All are expressions of our hurt. This self blame is so, so harming.
Being “good” and “kind” was always a goal of mine, and still remains to be, and I saw expressing hurt or anger externally would hurt other people. Thus I avoided expressing anything at all and hurt myself instead.
It is important to show some of your true state to people, while you do not have to explode with anger or sob around strangers; simply saying “I’m having a really rough time” to a friend can relive a load. Be honest.
It is still around 3:00 AM. I am still myself, with the same problems, fears and sadnesses. Still, with all of this, I try to accept myself, where I am. I try and remember that blaming myself for my perceived weaknesses when I am already down is a terrible thing to do. Instead, practice a little self compassion and kindness.
You are deserving of happiness. You are not held by your “weaknesses”, you are not in a permanent place. You need a rest. You need tending.
Sometimes other people cannot tend us, sometimes we have to tend ourselves. And thats okay too.