the weight of trauma, the burden of asking for help
By Sav Schlauderaff
People in my life always tell me how good I am at keeping myself together, at moving on from trauma and pain. I'm honestly just good at keeping it to myself. At being forcefully detached from reality. To relive and relive and relive my own actions, the fear, the pain, the danger. So much forced anguish exhausts me daily.
I feel like I'm constantly on the edge of boiling over, of unraveling.
Crying at the bus stop.
I'm brought back to 19, 20, 21. Not being able to stop crying in public. Staring at walls for hours and hours. Frozen in time, my body shrinking away, making my own skin burst open, drinking and fucking to forget and forget. Look how much fun I’m having.
Only hoping for an outside source to make it stop. My brain has imagined every possible way. I see, hear, feel these scenarios playing in my mind all day. My brain plays out movies of me dying everyday. I am forced by my bodymind to think about dying everyday. Vividly. Feeling constantly at risk.
This hyper-awareness teeters on the edge of falling into the thick fog of dissociation.
a familiar smell, one glance at someone who could be mistaken for them, riding in a car that is going too fast.
Dizzy, drifting, disappearing.
I just feel so hollow, lonely, a long sigh.
And I'm just so exhausted of feeling alone. But more terrified at the potential harm that other people will do to me. Exhausted by continuously being harmed by people who I thought were my friends, my loved ones, people who should care.
Numb to the repetitive pain. Or perhaps just drained by the thought of having to talk to someone about it again. It is such a monumental task to be truthful about how I am feeling. So many years being conditioned not to cry, to hold it together. Shrinking into a corner.
I feel so uncertain about my relationships with others. The loss of care in my life is a deep ache. I am exhausted by constantly putting my life back together again.
I feel like I am experiencing my feelings through frosted glass. Once I remembered them so vividly the anger, the anguish, the elation, the warm swell of happiness.
Taken away, and left in their place simply sadness and apathy. The end of a rollercoaster when you slowly get wheeled in back to start.
I feel like I need to always be ready to support others. But how do you learn to ask for support. How do you learn to not feel hatred and anger towards those reaching out. This learned behavior that this pain is mine. To shut people out who try to offer help, when it always just feels like no one will listen. That they only want to take and take and take.
My doctors keep pushing me to go to therapy. That my numbers on those intake charts label me at risk. Never marking true answers on the last one, you know the question.
I went to therapy so soon that fall of my second year in college. My brain couldn’t focus or answer the questions. It felt so hard to reach back for answers through the hurt and overwhelming sadness. I was given my diagnoses and bills too much for me to pay. I never went back.
Therapy feels like a question mark.
I'm just unsure I could get my words out correctly. Afraid of the consequences of my own words on myself. I'm never good and talking about these things in person. I stumble and get lost, my words slur, I feel panicked and dizzy, my bodymind closes in on itself.
I wish that I could just be lonely and not have it ache so deeply.
I know I need to reach out. I know and yet, I also painfully remember the slow disappearance of my friends each time something horrendous happened to me. Allowed back in if I could be fun, be happy, not cause problems. How quickly people want you to “get better”.
And how you seeming better is used as a blockade, barring you from telling the truth.
It feels increasingly impossible to ask for help when your support system is so far away. When they are dealing with their own troubles. It can become too easy to fall back into the listening supportive role. To place your own pain to the side. To deal with it alone.
Perhaps this is why my pain sank into my nerves, into my muscles and my bones. Settling in where it will be forced to be finally noticed.
What it will take for me to say, no, I am not doing well. I am unwell.
My trauma and pain are dragging me down. Pulling me away.
This weight is exhausting me. Drowning me.
Perhaps we can sit in that reality together? You don’t need to feel it with me. I just want to feel heard. To feel present. To feel like I can speak honestly without recoil.