Part II: The Crutch

This is related to the previous article, in that these thoughts I’ve had for a long time also came back to me, when I was thinking about the topic a few friends commented on that got me thinking.

Two of the comments were about seeking professional guidance, which as I said before, I tried that, and it didn’t seem like I was any better for it. I don’t know what I was expecting, some kind of Hallelujah born again emotional healing or something, but instead what I ended up feeling was “okay, I let the walls I’ve spent decades building crumble to the ground around me, and now I am standing in the rubble, and I don’t see how this has helped anything one bit.” People talk about things like “putting on your game face” and the like, as a way of steeling yourself for whatever challenges lie ahead. People talk about masks. There are people who you never really get to see past the self they project in public. Once I tried to let down my defences, I didn’t really know how to act any more. I didn’t know who I was, without the mask. I’ve been thinking about writing about the self, lately, and this ties into it, I think. In any event, the long and short of it, is instead of the anger that had been inside of me, all of a sudden I was transformed into a big crybaby. I suppose with hindsight that was better than bloodying up my knuckles punching the refrigerator in an alcohol fueled outburst, but it sure didn’t feel like healing. It felt like self-pity, and then, being angry at myself for wallowing in self-pity. Where once I had harnessed the anger to keep myself in decent physical condition, (besides the occassional bloody knuckles), I didn’t know how to harness this self-pity/self-loathing thing into anything constructive.

But, I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it felt good to just cry it all out. I didn’t like that it inevitably came with a sort of guilt for feeling sorry for myself, but, well, sometimes late at night after a few drinks, I would cry, and just indulge my emotions. Not exactly proud to admit that, and even now, feel like that’s not something I want to share with the world.

The thing I don’t like about it, though, is that I don’t like to think of it as a crutch that I lean on when whatever is going on in my life challenges me. I guess I perceive it as a weakness, and I loathe that, so don’t want to use that as a coping mechanism.

I mentioned in an early post that someone had brought up PTSD, and while I’ve long felt that the signs in my own life seem to correspond to the symptoms, there are any number of other diagnoses that they could point to. One thing I think bothers me a little with self-diagnosis is that it seems like I use it as an excuse to excuse other behaviour that I need to reign in. F’rinstance, I’ve read that others often turn to substance abuse or alcohol to “self-medicate”, in the terms I’ve read. And so, reading that, in my mind I justify my drinking habits as a normal response to dealing with pent-up emotions.

Finally, for now, is that I’ve been trying to take stock in where I am at, as an adult. I know that for a while, I felt like I had tapped into that “inner child” part of myself, and while I enjoyed the giddy laughter that came with it, it does make me wonder, as far as my emotional development goes, if I’m still a little bit stunted. I wonder, if I ever find myself in an adult relationship, how all of this is going to play out. I’ve certainly seen some unpleasant sides of myself, when I sometimes lash out blindly, and I don’t understand completely the true root of where that is coming from. But it’s not something I would want to bring into a relationship; it is just such a dark and ugly place that it is coming from, and I don’t yet know how or what to change about myself to make that less of a factor in my life. It seems like it’s been a good year or two since I had any violent dreams, so at least I think maybe I’m working in the right direction.

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