This place is strange, where I've been since October. It terrifies my mother who made me promise to give her number to my girlfriend across the hall. My best friend worries, I suspect she barely recognizes me. I came to this place when I realized I needed to accept what was happening to me. I gave in to the demands of my body and mind to rest and retreat. I let go of all my striving and desires and ambitions. U stopped caring about everything and let myself be depressed. I accepted that I was failing and that it no longer mattered. A massive step.
As I sank into this odd state I became regaled with every memory of everything I've ever done wrong in my life. I felt shame and guilt for 4 months solid. With every waking breath I was forced to look at myself and all my flaws. Completely naked. It was brutal. Horrifying to see all your ugliness. Every dark corner of my soul aired itself out. This happened quite against my will and wishes, but I couldn't stop it. That's partly why I felt I was losing my mind.
In this basin of torment, wrestling with these things, every other part of myself seemed to have disappeared. No personality trait survived such a beating. That was in December when I felt utterly decimated, like a ghost. I could barely have conversations with people because my mind was exhausted and blank. Still I continued on with getting out of bed and showering and feeding myself and answering the phone when it rang. I didn't bother with anything more than that.
This place felt absolutely barren of anything but the torture. Except that the last few weeks I had glimpses of the fruit growing here because the guilt eased up tremendously. I couldn't grasp what it was nor did I believe these fruits were real. Tonight I can see that this dark place is an orchard. If I can get through this business, it will mean that I have healed the broken parts of my soul.
Stripped bare without my work and successes, I found that I had no foundation for my self-worth. It was all built on my achievements. The lack of any such thing has brought me down the last two years. But now that I don't care about those things anymore...now I can learn to love myself for real. Pure and unencumbered. To love myself the way God does. What my parents didn't give me, I may find on my own. How to do that is the question.
Because people still love me even like this, a useless human waste of space. How do they still love me? I'm trying to answer that question and trying to see in me what they see. This is hard. But if I manage it, I will be set for life in terms of survival skills. I already have more confidence now in some ways. I discovered that today when I overheard some older female professors talking about me. It didn't hurt me. I was disgusted but it didn't make me feel bad. In September, I got a B+ on a paper and it depressed me for weeks. With no solid core to my being I've been frail. That left me vulnerable, needy and insecure. That doomed all my romantic relationships to fail.
I'm also teaching very differently since the acceptance. I'm not afraid to let my personality show through. Which means that it's still there. And having a bad day at work doesn't hurt me now. I can shrug it off but before it would cut me down because it meant I wasn't good. Hitting the bottom has given me the freedom of the damned; with nothing to lose then nothing matters. Assume everyone hates you and that you are a complete failure and it gives you carte blanche. And then, you get to prove yourself wrong. Going naked through the world has shown me that I can teach, students like me well enough and colleagues respect me enough. But I don't even care. It doesn't reach me out here.
huh, I just recalled telling my therapist about a year ago that I wished I could go to emotional bootcamp where I could get everything readjusted to healthy behaviors. Where I could learn how to be a happy person and unlearn the unhappiness I inherited from my family. That may be too much to ask, but I am rebuilding with major improvements.
Be very careful what you wish for my friends. While I'm at it, never pray for humility either. That's a whole separate post about what came from the misbegotten prayer. It was answered.
This horror my life has become may be the most incredible gift ever. How often do we get a chance to rebuild ourselves from the ground up? Realizing this now takes my breath away. God must love me more than I can ever fathom.