Are you hurting right now? Has life destroyed you? Are you teetering on the edge?Take my hand. Come along with me for a few minutes. Let me tell you a story. I wasn’t supposed to live. When I was born I wasn’t breathing at all. I barely survived, and it came at a price: brain damage. Brain damage that led to cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Even once it was clear I would live, I wasn’t supposed to function. I would be seriously disabled. I was faced with severe physical and cognitive impairment.
It wasn’t until recently that I came across Tim’s blog and work through a Facebook friend and a – professional – writer herself. Tim’s writing immediately resonated with me in a kind of brutal way as it had me or almost forced me to revisit those places of profound loss I had never really processed and which I may never get to fully reconcile (as Tim says: “Some things can’t be fixed, only carried”). I do remember writhing with pain and abysmal shock at the insight – and profoundly repelled by it to the point of helplessness and wanting to go back into denial – that I had gotten injured in the most primordial, elementary parts of my being (this was long before coming across Tim’s blog) and this happening right in the very first two weeks up to months into my life. (On a side note: This is proof enough to me that we don’t get to choose everything in life as some of the esoteric/spiritual schools might have you believe, which was another insight I had had long before coming across Tim’s Everything Doesn’t Happen for a Reason and the latter quite naturally resonating with me in the strongest way imaginable. On a side note: I needed to hear it from him in order to really believe it now. Thanks Tim, #1 – another thank you at the bottom 😉 )
When the insight hit me that I might have become irreversibly impaired in exactly those places that make this human experience worthwhile to begin with and that I’d most likely never get on par with just about all the rest of humanity – or so it felt at the time – I was completely shattered to the point of feeling annihilated. I would notoriously land on the thought that if I wasn’t able to connect in those places and ways that most people take for granted, then I’d be non-human in a way, wouldn’t I? An individual made of the (psychological) material that serial killers, dictators, torturers are made of, no? The term emotional challenge, if not downright emotional disability kept popping back into my agonizing overactive mind (and the bouts of rage I’d feel over this loss had me fear about potentially being or becoming one of those monsters I mention in the phrase above; luckily, I’m of a far different make as I had the opportunity to find out about myself and luckily without needing to face the consequences I sure would have faced had I acted on impulse at times). I couldn’t help reiterating the thought “If I’m this broken that I’ll never get to have those relationships most others consider the (expectable) norm, then what’s there to stay around for?” (In other words: What might there possibly be “in it” for me to keep making this effort of climbing Sisyphus’ Rock when I could be sure it would roll back down even way before my arriving on top of the hill, figuratively speaking? Quite bluntly: What keeps me from taking my life right now, if I’ll never have anything of all that, which most other people get to enjoy effortlessly?)
I’m going to be brutally honest with you now (“Oh, only now?”, I hear you grumble): At those times, the only “reason” that kept me from acting on my suicidal thoughts was cold logic along these lines or thought process: Much like we can’t prove a life before or after this life, we can’t disprove it either, can’t we? In other words: I was scared of the possibility of an afterlife and of finding myself getting punished for committing suicide…. (not that I really believed in an afterlife back then or cared much outside of my concern for making things worse than they already were…I just needed to be 100% sure I’d get to annilihate my consciousness and along with it my suffering – and couldn’t be this sure for said reason of cold logic). Today I have different thoughts as to that dark place and time. I think I somewhere felt or knew that I actually didn’t really want to die – quite on the contrary! I wanted to live! But please without all that pain and horror! I felt I just couldn’t take those anymore. I still feel this way today and I’m still nourishing hopes that the pain will lessen.
Maybe it will. But I think Tim made me understand that the only way this can happen is by not sidestepping it, but by … fully allowing it to come forward, be felt, mow me down if it must, overwhelm me, strangling and churning the living daylights out of me, if necessary. All of it. All that pain has its place. And that’s o.k. I don’t need to be ashamed of it any longer. If anything, this pain doesn’t make me any less of a human, but … more of it. Because by allowing it all to come forward I’m giving myself permission to actually feel the appropriate response in the face of gargantuan loss, like e.g. despair, devastation, grief, pain…. Aren’t those most human responses to enormous loss? I’d think so, too.
Thanks, Tim. (thanks #2 😉 )