I am pretty sure Wile E. Coyote’s crushing million pound anvil has been sitting on my chest. Recently there has been a weight and break that I haven’t experienced before and that has made me question my seemingly abundant resilience. It is actually possible that I have been too resilient.
I lost a friend. Someone who I shared significant time with, through massive amounts of change and heartbreak and transition. And just like when people come into your life sometimes for not so obvious reasons, they leave too. This one hurt. And in a tiny, quick window of clarity recently, I realized that this hurt was different. It’s weight and length and chaos, all new feelings for me, felt like they were taking over my whole existence. And after months of using all my old tricks of long walks, good sleep, distractions and work, with no relief, I knew this was bigger than what I could take care of on my own. And it turns out that even though this particular loss seemed like the cause of my sadness, it really wasn’t.
The current hurt was legit for sure, but the way it was affecting me was disproportionately brutal. And that was a big clue. It turns out the current heartbreak was exasperated by all the other stuff I have never really dealt with (think hard marriage, divorce, custody, cancer). Instead of dealing completely with all of that, I stashed all that other hurt in a bucket, shoved it under the sink and got on with life. Seemingly resilient, feeling resilient, right? And I didn’t figure this out, what was really going on, until I found someone to help.
For now, every week I go and sit on this lady’s couch and work through all the stuff that filled my heartache bucket to overflowing, not being able to handle it, levels. She calls some things in my last decade trauma, which sounds way too serious to me, though as I talk, I am starting to understand why she thinks that. She forces me to think differently, challenge routine thoughts and I can see that it is helping and I can feel The Coyote’s anvil falling off and I can feel relief and completeness replacing weight and heartbreak. She is helping. I am helping.
The point of writing this isn’t to garner sympathy for a loss or for the hard things I have experienced. I am not unique, everyone has this same kind of stuff. The point is that sometimes you need help and perspective and an outside point of view that is from someone who you don’t know well and who knows what questions to ask. The point is also that having a person like this in your life is just as important as having a good exercise routine, good eating and sleeping habits and solid coping skills. Having a person around who you can bump things off once and a while, just to keep you on track, who you don’t really know but who gets to know you, seems a very obvious part of a good plan to keep that bucket not so full. So resilience, yes, but maybe not so much of it.