I am overloaded with work. I am sick. I am lonely. I am exhausted. I am sad. Last week, I starting crying in the spice aisle of the grocery store.
But how am I feeling? Completely solid. Centered. I think I have figured out how I can be stressed, depressed, sick, tired AND strangely at peace with myself and my life. And I do not think it is a matter of finally giving in and giving up . . . exactly.
Usually when when I start feeling a twinge of panic or depression, I distract myself. I hit the scene. I throw myself into an affair or two. I do the mirror thing. The mirror gig is complicated. I find someone who desperately needs to be mirrored, to see his image through me and to see me as some image of me he has in his head. I am fully complicit in this. I flash and shine. I make him flash and shine. The payoff for him is pretty obvious.
The payoff for me? As long as I am all flashy and shiny, I do not have to deal with what is below the surface, not of him but of me. While I am doing all of this, I get very anxious that there is exactly nothing below the surface, that there is only the mirror. And that anxiety has somehow been better than the real anxiety that started the whole thing--anxiety over feeling my own less than perfect feelings. In the end, a new anxiety comes into the picture. I start to feel and to express my own feelings. The mirror is not supposed to feel or is only supposed to feel in a certain reflective way, so the one-who-is-mirrored is understandably confused.
At this point, I start to project wildly. The new anxiety comes from knowing that I let myself down, that I did not let myself feel what I needed to feel, that I myself denied my own feelings and the right to feel at all. I am angry with myself but anger is one of those feelings I do not allow myself to feel, so I become extremely but abstractly angry with the one-who-is-mirrored. How dare he not let me feel! How dare he be confused not only by my feelings but also by the fact that I feel anything! But I am the one who set it up. I am the one who wrote the contract. I am the one who deliberately found someone who would not want me or need me to feel, to be this messy girl who gets pissy and grouchy and weepy and needy. (The ones who do are not interested and will not play along. In mirror mode, I find them either benignly unattractive or horrifyingly repulsive.) I can then marvel at his insensitivity and dump him. I can then become the victim and go off to lick my wounds. But I am not healing the right hurt, which is why the cycle starts again.
I have not had the time or the energy to find a distraction. If I did, I would not be able to flash and shine. I have by default done what my ex-shrink told me (for five long years of therapy, which I sabotaged at every turn and which I finally cut off when I could no longer find ways to sabotage it) that I needed to do--stay with the sadness and all of those other nasty feelings. Just be. Be sad. Be angry. Be guilty. Panic. Rage. Cry.
I am amazed at how simple it is. I am sad. I am tired. I am lonely. I am stressed. And it is fine. I can handle it. I can spontaneously burst into tears while looking for bay leaves and the sky will not fall.