Sometimes…sometimes after making a decision to do something because you can not live another moment without making that decision, you crack. Your nervous system goes on the fritz when the reality of your audible words set in; you scramble to undo it, to bring everything back to the way it was. To the safe place it was all before you decided to step outside of that stifling box to breathe a different breath.
That’s what I did after I told my husband I wanted a divorce over the phone. After I told him, he masterfully went for my weak spot. Money. He didn’t seem sad or shocked, or anything. He approached it with the practicality of planning a move. He bombarded me with all the “things” we needed to do to separate and in my vulnerability, in my unprepared-ness, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do, say or think. We hung up, both deep in our trauma patterns.
I felt like my wires were short-circuiting. I couldn’t breath. What had I done? I thought this was what I wanted? I had finally done it and now all I wanted to do was retreat. Retreat!! Retreat!! I was in unknown territory, under attack from the enemy of my thoughts, scrambling for a place of familiarity. My organizational skills kicked in to manage my thoughts. First order of business, talk yourself out of this. Things aren’t really that bad, he’s a really good person. Second, remind yourself of all the horrible potentials. What if I get sick, whose going to take care of me? How can I afford to see the people that take care of me? I’ll be lonely. I’m 50 fucking years old and I’m too fucking tired to start over!
That’s what feeling safe looked like to me, back in the box. My compounded stress took a toll on my body like it always does so that’s where I turned my attention. As far back as my first marriage, my physical ailments became the thing to focus my thoughts on when I couldn’t, wouldn’t, look at the unhappiness in my marriages. I had been here so many times before but this time was different. The crack was deeper, the fear was unbearable.
As my body seemed to rebel again, my fear of having a horrible disease deepened to sheer panic. It was taking me to the edge; literally my thoughts were consumed with driving off any one of the numerous cliffs I drove by daily for work. One particular day I slammed on my brakes, pounded on my steering wheel and screamed and screamed and screamed. I couldn’t keep going on like this and I drove myself to the ER. For the first time ever I succumbed to going on anti-depressants. Until hitting my breaking point, I was very anti-meds and so it was a big deal for me to take that step towards healings, towards something different. I also decided to have some tests done. Another big deal as I was terrified of the results.
The meds kicked in quickly. I kept wondering if this is how normal people feel when they don’t have that thing, that marker where fear of being sick rules their entire universe. I had space to breathe but most importantly, I had the ability to look at what I had feared most for decades. It was like the medication had given me a coat of armor, with shield and sword to face my worst enemy. Not to battle, I was done fighting, I was ready to do something much harder…surrender. I climbed to the top of a large peak and sat on the edge of the cliff. I wasn’t leaving until I was at peace with the worst case scenario.
And that’s what I did. On my climb down I broke my ankle. When something breaks, it is believed that a pattern is broken. I could only hope.
Continued from Decision, decisions, decisions