I am currently a possum playing dead.
Every morsel of my mind and body wanted to run away. Each part of me crumbling into a thousand pieces faced by how truly broken I feel. The pain overwhelming and the hope dwindling into the glimpses of sunlight on a rainy day. Yet I stayed, as messy, painful and heartbreaking it was, I stayed. My therapist looking at me and I knew she saw my pain, I knew she saw in that session how truly undeniably not good enough I felt.
My session was 50 minutes to an hour and it was at my house. All I was faced with was a conversation on my sofa. A task most people do and find comfort, relaxation and at the very least, no pain nor struggle in. Yet I fought the entire time with an urge to retreat.
The human response to danger is to fight, flight or freeze. I am currently frozen. I am a possum playing dead.
Today I did, I faced my pain. My god, did it hurt too. Opening an eyelid and finally accepting there is a world around after a month of seclusion.
I felt my broken pieces throb and my head search for the pieces to a puzzle that only I can fix with time and patience, and I have no idea what the puzzle looks like either. I was doing a very bad job at being frozen and my head really didn’t like it, the mere opening of an eye sending anxiety rushing through my veins. My head, you see, thinks if I play dead for long enough nothing else bad can happen and things won’t get worse. Unfortunately, my head is also yet to figure out that I cannot feel any better while frozen, though it is trying.
A possum playing dead can survive for a very long time, but survival is not living, survival is the bare minimum.
Surviving not thriving. Thriving not surviving.
All I have wanted ever since my anxiety took over, my mind and body turning me into a puppet with my demons pulling my strings, is to have a choice. To be dictated by my own decisions, not by coping mechanisms, fear, panic attacks, trigger warnings, and deep breaths.
- I cannot wake up early, it makes me anxious.
- I cannot get too cold, it makes me anxious.
- I cannot be without coke zero, it makes me anxious.
- I cannot have ‘no way to leave’, it makes me anxious.
- I cannot commit to plans, it makes me anxious.
I could go on with the ‘I cannots’, with the endless amount of things that dictate my life and my routine. And even more devastatingly the things I no longer even challenge or consider, because I know I won’t win. But I will spare you the gory details of my irrational thoughts and continue.
I am a possum playing dead because if I freeze, my list can’t grow. If I freeze I don’t have to face the sorry’s, the guilt or the disappointment. If I freeze, this is a good one, maybe it will all go away…
Whenever I have a therapy session and I come to a realization of any weight, I always cry. If it’s true, if that’s the reason, I will cry. My heart screams and feels so seen and understand by the wonderful human across from me experiencing the discovery of who I am and how I feel makes me feel overwhelmed.
So I cry.
If it’s not quite the truth yet I know, because it didn’t hurt to say it, to admit. However, I am starting to think the tears aren’t because of pain. Today I consider the idea that the tears come because I fit a piece of the puzzle into place. I start to see the picture, and the tears are a sense of hope and relief.
I have always be confused as to why what followed the tears was progression, or simply a sense of feeling lighter. Assuming it was a problem shared, a problem halved. Or quite simply a reduction of baggage. I think it is more than all of those presumptions I have made though.
You know how when a baby is born they cry, and the tears are always reassuring because it is a sign of life and in fact expected as they finally see the world. I think I cry because I am seeing a part of myself I have never met before, and the world through new eyes. The change in scenery as shocking as it is exciting and as beautiful as it is scary. I cry because in those moments I start to see the version of me who is good enough. The real me.
That said, I am still a possum playing dead at the minute.
Although I must say, I feel my eyes searching the distance for the danger and slowly beginning to believe soon I will be able to be alive again. I feel the lightness and the mental progression that follows my tears.
I know that I have many more pieces to fit into my puzzle, I don’t even have the edges right now. But just maybe today I found my fourth corner. Everybody knows the start of the end of any puzzle is all four corners. Hey, maybe by next year I will be able to tell you what the picture is?
Thank you for reading, I hope my possums, puzzles, and tears make as much sense to you as they do to me.
Today Tomorrow Forever,