The days prior to the weekend were strenuous. Trigger, flashbacks, fear, the whole programme. The urge to work obsessively only to make falling asleep exhaustedly easier. The feeling of enduring conversations and breathing more freely when nobody’s watching. At the same time, shaking even more when nobody’s there. Those days were like my teenage years. They were tiring. I slept very much this weekend but not the exhausted sort of sleep that comes with panic attacks but a relaxing one.

Because in spite of everything I cared for myself as much as I could. I forced myself to eat well and to listen to music. To read and practise yoga. To say when something was too much. And because the feelings I had reminded me so much of my teenage years I wish I could send the teenie I used to be a breather like this weekend.

I don’t know how I managed to keep going back then. Always being active to stop stupid thoughts from coming, smiling at everyone no matter how much it hurt. Grinning and bearing it and not asking if it could be different. I really don’t know how I was able to function so well for such a long time when I anticipated a breakdown at any moment. I longed for it, thinking that I could be weak once if I broke down and that I wouldn’t have to care about anything. The fact that I never actually did break down doesn’t mean that anything was well at all. I was so lonely. In my world everything was about keeping others pleased, never myself. I stayed at home because I was afraid everything might be even worse if I left and came back. With every emotional blow I thought that one more would be alright, again and again because it didn’t matter anymore. I felt hatred towards everyone who told me I just made a face like somebody had died over a small nuisance. After all somebody had bloody died: ME! Didn’t anyone notice that I was just a zombie, that there was a fire raging inside me, red in my eyes, thunder in my ears, pain on my cold, numb skin?

All these feelings from back then come up now and I know it’s just because I have the strength to deal with them now. The strength to keep going, and not mechanically so, but very much alive. The strength to take myself by the hand and not letting go ever again. The strength to see things and to mourn everything I’ve never had but am able to give myself today. It is exhausting, yes. I needed many cuddly blankets this weekend and also the sunshine outside my window. I’m not bad, not any more. What I’m doing here is something of which I thought it was just a phrase: reappraising. And I am grateful for it.


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