A series of events had made me really stressed out lately, though someone else in my shoes probably wouldn’t be very affected. In recent years I’ve learned to observe other people’s behavior in context to mine, and I realised for most people, they tend to let things affect them a little and then move on, whereas I accumulate them like a bin except I don’t seem to ever empty my trash.
I’ve also learned that I probably never really learned to regulate my emotions as a baby (that’s the age where we form our brains by mirroring our caregiver) and coupled with some genetic lottery I’ve just turned into this really over-sensitive person until to a point it is actually disabling. I have never seen my sensitivity as a disability until I realised (again) how much energy I spend over-reacting to everything and how much it burns me out. Then again I didn’t know emotions or emotional labour can burn us out either.
Sometimes I am led to believe I’ve come very far to becoming more zen until I get triggered again. Having an emotional meltdown can in itself lead to a depressive spiral, because there is a lot of self-blame — why am I feeling like this again despite doing x,y and z? I think for over a year I kept stumbling over any progress I had because all I could do was wallow in self-pity whenever I had any form of relapse.
A lot of it is the inability to zoom out. I kept narrowing on how bad I’ve felt without zooming out to see how much progress I’ve made relative to a year or a decade ago. A few years ago I wouldn’t have the self-awareness to cut my spiral short by doing some intervention like hiding myself away whenever I feel overwhelmed so I can give my nervous system a much needed break from being overstimulated. I am now able to observe the actual feeling I have when I am burning out, whereas in the past everything felt like a painful blur all the time.
I don’t know how I’ve survived till now without some coping skills earlier in my life. I know I’ve chalked up a lot of self-resentment which I’m still trying to undo, but I’m not sure if I ever will. It is tiring to live like this, where everyday feels like a series of cuts. Imagine going through life where one is afraid to move because everywhere you turn you’re afraid to get cut. There were some phases in my life where I’ve made radical changes by just running through the cuts — let all of it hurt faster and all at once just simply because I was tired of this chronic decay. But that takes its own toll too, as I’ve discovered.
I am not resilient. Previously I would hate to admit this because it makes me feel like a weakling. But I have learned that it is worse trying to pretend otherwise, ignoring the fact and serially hurling myself into situations I should have kept away from. I wouldn’t ask someone with a limp to sprint, so why do I keep insisting on being someone I am not?
But maybe if I recognize and accept the fact I am not resilient, I actually have something to work with. I can try to work around it instead of ignoring it. I can slowly try to build on it. If I keep on insisting I’m resilient when I am not, isn’t it like asking a piece of paper to wrap fire?
I used to blame PMS for making me weepy and unstable. But I think I am grateful for it. It is upon instability that the structure gets to be tested. I am beginning to think of PMS as a time when for a small window, I get to see how well my coping skills have developed. (Not very well, for now.)
These days I just tell people when I don’t feel well. In the past I’ll just make up some excuse or try to deal with it. Being honest, whether to people or to ourselves is hard.
I try my best, to my capacity. I am still trying to find out what is my capacity. I am also still trying to know who I am, without being moulded under the pressure of needing to be approved of. How real can I be, as a person? Am I willing to risk alienation in the search for myself?
Existential searches seem to have become a joke. I am glad I am searching, because if not I don’t know why the hell should I exist. At the very least I feel like I am starting to know where I start and where I end — what truly brings me joy versus what am I conditioned to.