I’m forever amazed by how we never know how bad something is until it’s over. Not until the worst of it has passed and we’re safe do we feel the pain of the experiences we’re merely surviving.
It’s not when we’re suffering. That’s when we go numb. That’s when we push from moment to moment in a daze.
While we’re suffering, while we’re surviving, stress blooms into dissociation, going through the motions, a profound checked-out feeling where life is being lived, yes, but not by me. Not by you. We’re just sort of here while life lives itself.
And it’s only when things are better that it hits us that all that struggle was something we actually lived through after all.
It’s only when things are good and when we’re safe that we feel all that deferred pain hitting us at once. It’s only then that it comes due like a payment that charges interest.
And it’s only then that I find myself crying on a good day — on the best day in quite some time. Dealing with anxiety and panic when there’s absolutely nothing going wrong. Because my body has decided it’s time to finally deal with what happened. To process it.
And when I do, I expect you to judge me. To recoil away from me. Decide I’m defective. Not worth being around. Because for some reason I’ve grown up believing that other people get to have down days and still be lovable — but not me. (I had a strict, unforgiving upbringing.)
But you don’t do that. You don’t judge me. Instead, you’re compassionate, You ask if there’s anything you can do. You tell me that it’s okay to fall apart. That you still love me. That you will continue to love me even though I have moments like these. You tell me that it doesn’t take away what we have or make me less of a person.
And improbably, even though I’m terrified, even though my body is freaking out, the world doesn’t end. We’re still together and happy. Another day begins.