“But I’m not the same. I can’t be the same.”
That’s the sentence coming to my lips every time I get overwhelmed with the recovery lately. Never once do I ask myself what would it mean for me if I am not the same. I’ve been struggling in my own way with the notion of change.
I have done the hardest emotional part of recovery, and I finally have energy to do something different…but I have no clue what that should be.
I mean I have the lists and all, that I have made in moments of desperation, with all the things I need to change. But when it comes to actual doing, they all seem too big, too hard. Because yeah, I have changed, I have more energy…but I’m not there yet. I can do some things…all of them just make me feel overwhelmed and panicked.
But then I realize. This is what we do as grown ups- we forget how to really accept and question facts. If you say to a grown up you got divorced, they will tell you they are sorry. A kid would probably ask why. Kids ask about everything. Somewhere on the way of growing up we forget how to do that. We take as granted having to do the job we have, be with a certain person or break up, do the things we do.
We don’t question facts. We accept them. The wrong way.
I don’t know how to live without that person.
I can’t lose all the weight I gained in 1 night.
I can’t do more than this.
I’m not the same.
I have to relearn everything.
Everything is a mess
Here is a radical thought: use the old prayer. Accept what you can not change from that, change what you can, and then think about what is next. Question what is next. You may not get a clear idea, but eventually you will.
If you can not live without that person, but things have completely ended, do not push yourself to move on. Take your time grieving, so you don’t bring all that baggage to every new relationship you start. You don’t always get a clear break with the person that you broke up with, but you can get to a clear break with yourself.
And no, unless you can make miracles, you can not lose the weight you gained in one night. And if you could that would probably be crazy unhealthy. But people already know you have gained weight, so what is so bad about taking your time? Make sure that you make good, healthy working out plan, and one that isn’t too overwhelming to you- so you won’t quit on the second day. Ok, so you won’t look like a model tomorrow…but if you take your time, you may look really good in couple of months, and it may be a lot longer lasting change if you do it right.
And where do I fit into those statements?
I am not the same. You can not go through something like rape and be the same. But it doesn’t mean that my life is over, or that I’m stuck. I did make quite a mess of tasks and projects and stuff at home while I was trying to recover. And I am relearning everything.
Here is my breaking point. Or it has been, for weeks now.
So I am not the same. What does that mean? Time to figure out who I am. I thought that will be hard to do with the mess I have done. But if I make no effort, I am stuck.
Things are a mess.
I can not change them at once. People around me have seen the mess, I can not change that. How I feel about it is besides the point. I can not change the present. But if I take my time, and do small changes, eventually, I will make order, and finish those projects, and progress in my work.
It’s a start.
Question everything. Dig deeper. That isn’t only good for research papers. Use it in life. Don’t let your past lurk from the shadows, and your present stop you from who you want to be.
Dig into things, question them, make small changes, even if they are so small that at first nobody sees them but you. Eventually those tiny things will pile up and equate to good changes.
Even if the first change is simply asking yourself, if I am living a life I don’t like at all, what is it that I do want?
Whatever is in your past that you need recovery from, face it, question it, pick it apart. Like a dirty room, your emotions will take time to clear up, but it will be worthy.
For months, all I was doing was remember and question it all.
The details of the rape. How I reacted, how the guy reacted, how it was to work after that. How I felt. How I reacted to how I felt. When I was angry, why was I angry, what did I do. The poor choices, the confusion, the denial.
Then all now.
How I let it get so bad that I had to stop doing everything just to have the strength to live. Why would I break down like that when things are finally lining up well for me? What follows? Do I really want what I thought I have been dreaming about for so long? What do I need to do about it, can I do it? What is it that I want, or like now?
At first it’s like intentionally hitting my head against a wall- it produces no result, except that it hurts more and more, and I start bleeding, figuratively…
But then, it’s a big surprise to discover how much of what I thought I wanted isn’t the same now. It’s even bigger surprise to figure out that parts that I had thought I left behind after the abuse were still there, waiting for me to get ready for them.
And the biggest surprise of all was after months of sorting out feelings, to discover that I do feel better. That in the absence of much outside change, I have started changing how I view the world and am slowly getting out of the frozen state where I feel everything is pointless.
I can’t figure out what part of talking out loud each part of the most humiliating summer of my life had helped, or how it helped me start to feel better, but it has.
I have a dream to fight for.
Things aren’t pointless and impossible anymore.
They are impossibly hard, but that is still way different than impossible. Hard I can do. Slowly.
So question everything.
In the past weeks, I occasionally email or see people. People I have lost touch with for the past months. Now, I have reconnected with more than 1 person that I though I lost in the process of recovering:). People that I care a great deal about, but had to leave aside when things got too hard…having them back in my life is a blessing.
About The Recovery Alphabet:
Since I’m writing a lot lately, and my recovery is turning out a bit more complex than I imagined, I am now making this as a weekly category. Each week I will add one post for a letter involving word with something that has been important for me in the process of recovery.
Some will be advice or simply thoughts, some will be practical tips on some things.
Next weeks topic: Sleep after abuse or trauma