Dear Survival Mode …
– an excerpt from my journal –
I don’t allow myself to relax. I avoid it by staying busy. Mostly with work. I want to be alone. I can’t slow down and be still because if I do I won’t want to start again. I need to stay alert so I feel prepared and ready for what might happen next.
I’ve noticed that my energy and attention is predominantly in the past – trying to make sense of it or right the (perceived) wrongs. These are things I have no control over. The past is in the past. A lot of that stuff wasn’t down to me, yet I feel guilty for it. I go over old ground because it feels familiar (chaotic, stressful, desperate, panicky), but not necessarily safe. It feels better to do something than nothing. I feel in control when I’m doing and when I’m not doing, I’m stuck in this thinking loop of confusion, guilt and overwhelm.
If I let myself be then I would fully feel the grief, but I’m terrified that it will take me down. It feels so big. I don’t want to feel that much pain. Ah, but then I would get to finally feel all that joy and excitement too. Habitually, I disappear into my head and chase my thoughts like a hamster on a wheel. I’m so tired.
I am avoiding myself. I am afraid of my feelings. At some point, I will have to face it all. I will have to feel the deep pain of disappointment, of abandonment and rejection. I will feel it all….when I’m ready. Not today, I’m too tired. I wish somebody could take care of me. Well it’s me now. I have to take care of me. I have to put me first.
Sometimes, I leave the past and fast forward to the future but not in a positive way. I prepare for the worst. ‘What if this or that goes wrong.’ When I stop and slow down I notice how tired I am. Not just physically, but mentally. This kind of mental gymnastics is relentless. I long for peace. I often forget that I have a choice – I could just sit and breathe for two minutes, but I don’t.
This is survival mode at its finest. It’s where I’ve lived all of my life. Relaxing my nervous system feels unknown, uncomfortable and very scary. Healing is slow and I wish I didn’t have to do this.
If you can relate, listen to this episode of The Wildheart Diaries,