(Originally published in January 2011.)
The first things to disappear when I started down the dark road were those two vital elements.
Passions diminished, sparks were doused and turned to ash, and slowly, the two built a solid steel barrier that was wrapped so thick and tight, it was strangling every last ounce of fight into an impenetrable knot at the top of the stomach.
During my sessions with my original counsellor, we had worked at slowly loosening the knot, and allowing the two elements back in to my life. By now, we had worked at sealing up the hole at the pit of the stomach, meaning that positivity was slowly working its way back in again, and (by the same metaphorical outcome) I had ‘hit the bottom’.
As we continued to work, the rigidity in the shoulders, arms and neck started to subside – to a point where you could actually feel the physical difference - even people at the counselling offices were commenting on positive changes.
After being so closed off for so long, the thought of letting go of your emotions and feelings can be a terrifying prospect. More-so because they’ve all been locked away for so long – it’s like opening up a bottle of milk that’s gone off; it may have originally gone into the bottle okay, but when you open that lid, things can be a lot more intense…
Having all of that emotional power at your disposal again can be scary at first, and it’s easy to scare yourself – or others - with it. It takes some getting used to, and to be honest, I’m still getting to grips with it at the moment.
I’m being quite vocal and short tempered when things start to go wrong (resulting in me becoming fluent in “for fucks' sake”) or when people are confrontational about things, but as I’ve been told, it shouldn’t be seen just as anger or angst; it should also be seen as passion forcing its way through.
[EDIT: I’d also like to apologise to anyone I may have snapped at during this time!]
It was this passion that got me out of my early morning inertia. The vocal, short tempered side of me riled up, and (almost literally) dragged me kicking and screaming into the bathroom and kitchen, then into the bedroom to get changed, before booting me out of the front door.
Sure, I was a bit later for work than usual, but the fact that I had made it when it would’ve been a lot easier to give in made that day feel like a massive victory, regardless of whatever obstacles there were to face before I got home.
From that moment on, delayed and cancelled public transport was never quite the hassle it once appeared to be when commuting to and from work. Inspiring yourself can sometimes be the most precious thing of all.
Getting through the steel ‘barrier’ was a huge breakthrough. Things felt instantly calmer, relaxed and easier. Crucially, ‘genuine’ conversations could start again - where questions come to you naturally, rather than having to work at what to say next, or worrying over what people may think of what you have to say.
Strangely too, there have also been spates of ‘emotional flashbacks’ occurring since ‘opening up’ again. These have generally consisted of random moments and decisions made over the last 12-18 months where the ‘real me’ would’ve (and should’ve) chosen a different option than the actual ‘emotionless’ result.
Seeing yourself run though these scenarios again with all the previous barriers removed can be a very strange (and powerful) moment. It sort of leaves you wanting to shout at yourself in a manner best reserved for a TV, while further stoking up the new-found fires of intensity within.
However, there is part of me that worries about the steel barrier making a swift return. I use cynicism, ranting and general misanthropic dislike in general day-to-day conversation as a defence mechanism, to preserve the more sensitive ‘me’ from being hurt – that’s not exactly the world’s most shocking revelation though, to be fair.
But all the counselling, ‘self-improvement’ and positive focus has left me without much of a barrier to shirk off much banter now. Even though I’m typing this, I’m not someone who generally likes to talk that much about ‘me’ in public, although I do like to indulge in self-depreciation when the chance pops up.
It’s left me in a bit of a quandary, as I need to re-establish who and what to portray as ‘me’ in public – do I carry on regardless and risk forming bad habits of old, or do I try and be a bit more like ‘me’ and risk a lot of upheaval and potential hurt as I live with pre-existing notions of who I am by others who may not see the change?
It’s not something I want to be dwelling on for too long, as there is an opportunity to ‘embrace’ positivity once again, and it would be disastrous if I closed it all off. But again, the fear of losing the positivity could itself be counter-productive.