I was damaged.
I was broken and beaten, and lying on the floor trying to recover.
And I did so in every way I could. Some were very unhealthy. I ate too much, perhaps drank too much, wasted countless hours just trying to forget my pain.
Pain and Distraction
That really was the main point, after all. To forget. To distract myself from the truth. And to never have to dwell on it and pretend like things didn’t fall apart all around me.
But it didn’t really work. At best it was a smokescreen. It provided a temporary relief from my suffering, a moment to forget how much pain my mind was in.
But the pain was still there. And if you took away the distraction for even a moment, all the pain would rush right back in.
I didn’t want an empty life. Nor did I want temporary solutions.
Pain and Greater Distractions
So I sought a turnaround in my life. I looked for greater ways to distract myself from mistakes of the past or struggles of the present.
I immersed myself into a healthy lifestyle and I threw myself into the gym, which quickly became my second home. Riding the high of endorphins, I was loving the process, and especially the results.
I picked up my guitar, which had just been sitting in my room collecting dust for years. Started writing a few songs here and there. And felt the relaxing sensation of stroking the strings and creating pleasant sounds. I felt the release of putting some of my feelings into lyrics.
I sought new friends, meaningful relationships. Meetup.com became another second home to me, and before I knew it, I was volunteering every week, hiking, and playing board games with perfect strangers. And I enjoyed all of it, and I felt myself slowly coming back to life, slowly becoming somewhat whole again.
Over the course of the next few years, I felt healed. I felt fine. Strong. Healthy. And for all intents and purposes, I was. Everything was great and moving along smoothly. Not only had I put all the pieces together, but I did it with no help.
The Unnoticed Pain
I would occasionally say things that would provoke people close to me to ask if I had been in therapy. I shrugged off their concerns, since, after all, I was fine. Since I didn’t need therapy. I had the gym. I didn’t need anyone’s help really. After all, I had done so much on my own, why would I all of a sudden seek the assistance of another?
And this slowly but surely became my norm. It was a lot more of the same. I lived from day to day, no concern for looking at anything below the surface, since everything on the outside just seemed fine and dandy.
Until it didn’t. There was darkness deep inside me. Pain I had covered up with more layers than I could ever have imagined. Some friends were able to see bits and pieces in words I would say, but no one could really know how much hurt was still there. How much hurt was eating away at me from way deep into my gut.
And then the flood gates opened. I could no longer hide the pain that was eating away at me.
Pain and the Flooding Tears
I cried more in a matter of weeks than I remember crying in the past decade. And I started seeing that my healing process was far from over. Arguably it hadn’t really begun yet.
And I called forward the troops, those out there who might know how I could proceed. Those who could give me the courage and encouragement to not back down, and to face up to the demons inside me that were creeping to the surface, and swallowing me whole.
I had no choice. The stakes were too high.
I could either retreat back into my bubble and pretend like there was nothing wrong. And I could probably do this indefinitely. After all, was I not happy before? Was I not leading a healthy and productive lifestyle?
Or I could fight back against my fears. I could confront the many pieces of myself that were harming me from the inside out, and preventing me from reaching levels of happiness so far past my comprehension.
The truth is, there really was no choice left. Once I had a taste for how my life could be, there was no going back. The choices were to fix myself and embrace the happiness that could ensue. Or to crawl back into my corner, pretend that life was as good as it could be, and wonder constantly what I had sacrificed. And why.
Pain and the Now
But was I too late?
I sure as hell hope not.
A few things are certain. I wish I had been more self aware a lot sooner. And taken care of myself right away.
We humans are fragile. But we often can pretend we are a lot stronger than we actually are.
I still have trauma from my youth that I’ve never really addressed properly. Instead of tackling all the issues that have crept into my life over the years, I have just watched them accumulate.
And here I am. Standing at the threshold of major changes in my life. Enormous changes that could promise me happiness beyond anything I’ve ever known.
And I’m terrified.
I’m terrified that I waited too long. I worry that I’ve let my wounds become infected, perhaps beyond repair. I fear that I now have a short amount of time to fix years worth of issues.
Never forget to take care of yourself. Never forget to look deep within yourself to see where pain lies, and injuries need to be healed.
And always remember the best time to do this is right now.
Before it’s too late.
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