Life is not easy. That is the understatement of the year. Life is so hard. It tosses you sideways, flips you upside down, knocks you over. It can be so cruel. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself laying on the bathroom floor in tears, wondering why God could let so much happen. I know how that feels – so know that you’re not alone in those gut-wrenching, nose-blowing, tear-soaked sobs. That pain you can hardly verbalize outside of entirely incoherent hiccups and slurred words – it can overwhelm you to the point of utter mental oblivion.
Let me tell you about a night I found myself there.
There are very few people in my life to whom I will actually share details with concerning the circumstances that triggered my PTSD. I will openly admit that the condition was triggered by, first, the death of my mother, and second, sexual assault. I have no problem sharing these things. I do, however, keep the details private as they should be. Once I feel that I can wholly trust someone – once I feel safe – I will share the details should they ask.
And so, I did. I placed my faith in a person who genuinely wanted to help me. I told him the story over time. When I felt that I could finally share the last detail, I did so – and it blew up in my face. Left reeling, I was overwhelmed by an emotional tsunami concerning both past trauma and current anxieties. I found myself on the bathroom floor hiccuping and sniffling and making those awful strangled sobbing sounds.
I also found myself bleeding.
I had relapsed at one of the strongest points I’d been in, in my entire healing process. I was stable – working, taking classes, maintaining a social life, etc. I felt really good every day – I always had something to look forward to. Then, the trauma came back. I lost my nerve and capability to handle the emotional stress. I picked up a razor and resorted to the practice I knew best – cutting. When the episode was finally over, I called a good friend for help. She rushed over, bandaged me up, and then spent the next hour talking to me in her car.
I was so mad at myself for relapsing – so mad! I could hardly believe what had just happened. I’d been fine and then I let this get under my skin. My friend let me vent and rant about how stable I’d become and how utterly ridiculous it was that I could start doing this again. After all, I have a job, friends, a place to live, food, etc. She agreed, saying: “You even went grocery shopping and got fruit snacks!”
Gesturing at the bandage on my arm, I shouted back, “People with fruit snacks don’t do this!”
What do the fruit snacks stand for? Stability, success? To each his own. For me, however, let’s call the fruit snacks happiness. That’s weird, I know, but I have a point to this whole thing, I swear.
My point is don’t throw out your success for old habits. Don’t let bumps in the road become catastrophic stumbling blocks. Hold on to the happiness that you’ve found. Reaching the top of the mountain isn’t the end of the road. Staying on the peak is almost as hard. So, don’t look down. Don’t let yourself misstep and lose your footing. If you’ve found happiness, don’t sacrifice it for anything. Just be happy, keep moving.
People with fruit snacks don’t do this, you know?
Head above water.