I find I cry the most after bad things happen. Not during.
No, during the bad things, I tend to kick into survival mode. There’s no energy to cry. Plus I have this steely core within me, this stubborn self-defense system that locks down when true danger emerges. It turns off the lights. Lies flat on the floor. Doesn’t make a sound.
Looking back on the worst times in my life — and there were plenty of them — what I remember most wasn’t an overflow of emotion, but an absence of it. A numbing. I was still present — very, very present. In fact, sometimes my mind was working overdrive, processing the situation, seeking solutions. Running calculations, shaking my head. More mental calculations. No, that wasn’t it.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Until a decent course of action presented itself in a crisis.
Because during the bad times, everything felt like a crisis. Like a flood. And it was. I was in risk of slipping under.
At times I actually did slip under. And I’d flail my arms in a wild way and somehow, improbably, I might find a rock. A slippery one. One that would wash away or I’d lose hold of somehow… but it was enough to get my face out of the water for a few seconds.
Speaking of floods, I had to stop just now writing this. It was too much for a second. The memory. But now I’m back.
Look, that’s a great example, isn’t it? I didn’t feel that intensity, that overwhelm when I was in that situation. But now it’s easy if I think too much about it, if I really sit in those memories.
And all I wanted to say today that if that happens to you too, if you cry more when you’re safe, if you feel primarily deferred pain once things are good, that you’re in good company. We’ll get through this together.
And I’m so glad we made it.