I was bopping around the Internet, as I’m wont to do, reading the quips and witticisms of the pithy folks enjoying myself when I happened into a long discussion about how it’s really important not to let other people’s expectations about how long it should take you to get over something get you down.
The general gist: Other people will try to rush you to get well, say you’re taking too long. But don’t listen to them. It takes as long as it takes.
This is frankly very solid advice. I nodded.
But as I did, I was struck with a pang of sadness. Because this wasn’t my issue. On one hand, I’m glad that no one is rushing me along or saying that I take too long to get over things. In fact, I tend to get the opposite feedback from people — that I’m very resilient, unflappable, that I bounce back with a quickness, and that I am, of all things, a very tough, brave person. (Wowee, zowee, would my elementary school teachers who knew me as quick to tears be a bit amazed by that.)
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have problems around recovery. I do, in fact, have many. But my biggest problem isn’t that other people are judging me for my timeline — I am. I wrote about it somewhat recently a bit in terms of the pandemic and how time being so fuzzy tends to make it harder to heal than in normal times.
I get sick of my own suffering pretty darn quickly. Not that it’s painful and uncomfortable — although that’s no picnic. But I find myself feeling distinctly unimpressed with how wounded I can be after something bad happens — and for how long. It’s hard for me to shake, even now after so much work, this feeling that I should bounce back even faster than I do.
Frankly, I suspect this comes from other people somehow. Voices from my childhood most likely. But they’re so internalized that at this point they are indistinct from my own.
The funny part is that when I realize this information, my instinct is to tell myself that I need to cut that out — with a quickness — and then I realize… I’m doing the same thing. I’m getting impatient with how long it’s taking me to stop doing this particular behavior.
Perhaps the quickest way out of it is to give myself forever to stop being impatient with myself.