It is years before any of us understand our past behaviour. We may be in therapy, perpetually, and have a sense, logically, of why we did what we did. It’s not until we recognise ourselves in another that we can feel the familiarity of our experience and the pieces fit together. When I see you, I understand me.
I see myself a lot in other people in my present experience of life. I think I’m in a place where all the work I’ve done on myself is beginning to make sense and I can find forgiveness for myself, and for others. But, there is always more to learn and more to see.
Stepping Into A Mirror
I’ve witnessed the steep decline of a friend of mine recently. It’s been a rapid and crushing decline in mental health that I’ve witnessed before in our twenty-five year friendship. She tends to distance herself when her mind is ill and so for three months I’ve been watching from afar, waiting to catch her.
She’s not ready to be caught yet though and the carnage is hard to watch. The physical changes that have devastated her once radiant eyes and skin, the rambling illogical ranting, half truths – she is lost. Lost to those who are powerless over her condition and lost to this world. She now lives in a lucid, half world where everything she says and does is right. Everything she thinks is a genius idea and every word she speaks is music.
I sat this morning and closed my eyes, and stepped into her body and I fully understood. Now I know how I was to the people on the outside. I didn’t understand when I was running in my own lucid world where reality is distorted and love looks like entrapment. I took the hand of everything that was bad for me and couldn’t hear the voices of those who were trying to save me. Life evaporated from every pour on my skin, through my eyes and slipped from every strand of hair on my head.
I see myself there, in her. More than that, I feel myself there in her. I know right now, all I can do is stand still and wait for her to come home to me. She has returned before, but this time she may not. Yes, it’s that bad.
What’s Happening When You Run?
You are trying to save yourself from endless pain. It happens seemingly out of nowhere. You are out of control swept up by trauma that you haven’t had the energy to fight. That pain blindsides you and before you know it you have been possessed again and it has its way with you. That’s what happens. Yes it’s emotional pain, but the mental illness side is the lack of understanding of how your past will own you unless you soothe it. The problem is that drugs, alcohol or whatever makes you feel good is the quickest and most effective fix for a lot of us. The real work, and believe me it’s heavy work, happens when we take control of our bodies, hearts and minds. That work looks different for everyone but the outcome is eventually the same.
Then you come to the point where, when you see someone, really see them, you understand yourself. I want so desperately for her to come back, back to herself, her children, her love. Please come back. When I see you I understand me – we need each other.