Stupid Things Are Not Always Stupid Things

I have always loved Linkin Park. They have easily been one of my favorite bands for what feels like forever. I have, on more than one occasion, escaped from the voices in my head by playing an album, and I have always felt better afterwards. It's super possible the Meteora track list replaced some much needed therapy.

The way Chester Bennington could yell about the right to be belong, to be heard, to not be ignored. Those unapologetic tones have wrapped strong arms around so many of my anxious thoughts and feelings and lulled them into a sense of knowing that has validated my pain and struggles.

The words have been perfect; the anger justified.

Yesterday as the radio stations paid tribute to his life and gift via extra play-time, I listened more closely and a little more cautiously to how deeply I identify with his words.

As my husband and I drove home from the beach yesterday (which I wrote about here), I shared my thoughts about how difficult it must be to be that famous and struggle with literally anything. I have experienced just the tiniest bit of "internet celebrity," and it has resulted in constant over-evaluation of what's okay to share with people and hanging out a lot with my good friend, Isolation. I cannot even imagine what it might be like on such a larger scale.

It appears these days, as soon as certain people get a whiff of your vulnerability and humany parts, they take it as invitation to rip you apart. For those of us who struggle with severe mental illness, this can take an incredible toll.

I have always been "too" all the things; too emotional, too needy, too fat or too skinny, too loud, too dramatic, too insecure, too vulnerable and too trusting.

I have always been too human. This has caused me to want to be more like you and less like me. At some point I decided that "numb" was better than "crawling in my skin." 

I've wasted innumerable hours (okay, most probably years) trying to dissect my desire to do "stupid things." I have always needed some form of escape, and I have thought that if I could figure out the "WHY," it could help me solve the question of how to stop it.

Maybe I've been fucked up since birth. Perhaps the separation from my first mother damaged me in ways I will never understand and set the destructive ball in motion. I could point to many aspects of my childhood, being raised by a Narcissistic (my opinion based on all the things) mother and her angry personality disorder ridden husband (also my opinion). It could be the lack of adults I had in my corner, willing to take the action necessary to keep me safe or the repeated emotional/physical abuse and sexual trauma I've experienced since the summer before kindergarten.

By the time one of my abusive boyfriends attempted to take my life, it was almost comical how easily the trauma flowed in, out, and through me. I was familiar with the game. I knew what to do and how to behave. I knew it was okay (and even vital) to lean on people, but I also knew to take the brunt of all the things myself as not to negatively affect or burden the feelings or lives of my supporters. I know how to blame myself for needing too much from people, and so I often take a polite pass -- even when it means I have to let all of the air out of my tires and suffocate. 

Thanks to an incredible therapist and my willingness to attend those pesky weekly sessions, I have learned that my desire to be "gone" from this planet or to "sleep and not wake up" is a symptom of the overwhelm I will carry with me forever. 

I used to immediately check myself into an inpatient facility when these thoughts came through, but I have learned to trust myself a tiny bit more every day and speak up when the water gets too high, so the thoughts might be translated into how I'm doing that thing again (where I take on all the world's problems and refuse to ask for help under the pressure). Because I'm a 39 year old woman who sometimes forgets she can't save everyone; that she is worthy of support, forgiveness, and love. A woman who tries extra hard to give all of those things to others to somehow earn the right to them.

Listening to Chester Bennington sing about not having "room to breathe," being "one step closer to the edge," and "about to break," has helped me sit there long enough to catch my breath. Sometimes screaming along in the car that "...all I want to do is be more like me and be less like you," or "I won't be ignored," has helped me hold my own reigns. 

Sometimes stupid things don't look like stupid things. After the death of Chester Bennington, I'm reevaluating.

All of those songs, and my truths unhidden within them, have allowed me great pause and reflection from one insane situation to another. They have become a part of my strength by giving me permission to own them and feel however I need to without apologizing to other people for it. 

And so, when someone whose words I've so much identified with commits suicide, I am forced to halt once again. Just the way I did when the world lost Robin Williams, who deflected so much pain with smiles and the ability to make the crowd laugh with him, I pause. 

I take a step back, and I evaluate my priorities. I take stock of the "stupid things" I still participate in, and how they might be contributing to my inevitable downfall. Because some of my stupid things don't look all that stupid anymore. 

My "stupid things" have evolved with my pain and recovery, and I have mastered the art of making "helping" look smart and selfless. You may even look at some of my "stupid things," and congratulate or encourage me to keep up the great work. Because I am a crafty survivor of trauma, and I know how to pretend. I know how to blend in and make the crowd laugh along with me, and if I don't remain vigilant with self-awareness those things will likely continue to the bitter end. 

Never do I want my family and friends to have to bury me because I couldn't ask for help. Never do I want my children to be motherless because I ignored a glaring sign to slow the fuck down on the Self-Destruction Express. And so I pause. I take stock of my feelings and how far I can stretch them. I reconnect with myself and my daily prayers during my morning coffee and 8yo interrogation. I force awareness into the places I know too well provide the ick inside me to hide and fester. 

I get real honest with the few people in my circle I can trust with Me, and I cry. I cry for the little girl inside me that still sometimes feels less than worthy of the tears, and I remind her that she's okay. I cry for the loss of a fellow human being who felt too much and didn't feel worthy of other options. I cry for all the people who may ever feel the ways we do, and do not have access to a supportive ear... and then I get back to work -- to do my part to remind us all -- we do.  



Follow Julie @NextLifeNOKids


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