Today I am the eye of the storm. A powerful whirlwind of debris and chaos circumvents me. And I am stood, motionless in the middle. I’m planted in this place of inert observation. It’s not possible to stop the force, and I hold myself back from stepping into it. With my feet planted firmly on the ground, I know I have to wait. I have to just remain still.
Achieving that lack of motion is a task close to impossible. The urge to control and comfort and self-sacrifice is magnetic. Something in me is driven towards the drama. I’m driven to assume responsibility, to fix everything that is shattered and broken. I keep reaching, toying with the idea of inviting myself into it, but I know the risks.
Still, the pain of seeing those I love suffer so much is hard to bear. It’s excruciating to be with that and have no power to change it. It’s frightening, and it awakens an old and awful sense of helplessness that lives in a much younger part of me. The part that sees her family in pain and has a reflex response; ‘This is my fault. It’s my job to make people happy. I am failing. I am worthless if I can’t make this better for them.’
All that fear and sadness and worthlessness is churning in me. It doesn’t belong to every part of me, yet it takes me over and pulls me into its pensive, toxic lethargy. It drags me to a hopeless, lightless place where I am alone. In this place, I have no control. And time moves like tar. Thick and sticky. And slow. So slow.
Time here maliciously transforms itself into a punishment. The skin crawling impatience is compounded by its total inevitability. And anticipation is an empty space stretching out ahead, filled wall to wall with the bleakness of all those hours, minutes, seconds.
I am told I simply have to wait. Hold back. Hold on. Breathe. Force body and mind into painful, painful stillness. And hope for some miraculous change. A kind of magic that means I will never have to do this again. I’ll never have to crouch here in this corner, clutching my collection of intolerable thoughts, feelings, memories, sensations. This will be the last time. Once and for all, the hideous, punishing wait will be over.
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It is so painful to not be able to help the ones we love who are suffering. Sometimes all we can do is love back
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I empathise with feeling caught between cutting yourself off and not doing something, or not getting involved in something (and then feeling guilty) – and trying to do just *a little* but it’s a slippery slope and you end up in the same pattern of doing more than you want to do or have the resources to manage. It’s like going to the beach and knowing that if you go in the water you will get out of your depth and risk drowning because that is what has happened every single other time, whether it is the slow pull of a rip that takes you further and further out without you even noticing or a sudden wave which dumps you, and you’re begging to be taught how to swim or to go to a different beach and instead people are saying “just stay in the shallow water, you’ll be fine”. I am not sure what the answer is, but I also don’t think that waiting it out is the answer.
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I have no idea what the answer is either. It’s just leaving me feeling very frozen and helpless.
empathising with you laura, sending hugs ❤ xxx