Alexithymia

 

healingg

Today I realized that I’m mentally disable.

When you are worried about having to seek medical attention in the event of a physical illness because you haven’t been out in 7 months;
When you contemplate how much pain you can tolerate in said hypothetical event, because your body dysmorphia overshadows everything else, and you’d rather die than someone see you. See the despicable you.
When you think about not moving out from a toxic home because of what the process of moving out entails.
When you can’t let yourself fall in love, you can’t let another get close enough until you fix yourself.

That’s disability, but it took me ten years to realize, to accept. So it took me ten years to get better. You can’t change what you deny. For the longest time, I’d berate myself for my shortcomings and limitations. I’d hate myself for them, hate that I can’t just go anywhere I want without mentally preparing a week in advance only to break down in a panic attack the very last minute. I did not accept mental illness as an explanation, I rejected it and I thought if I’m strong enough, determined enough, resilient enough, I’ll deal with it. I’ll soldier through.

I’ll deal with the severe depression, the PTSD, the panic attacks. I’ll clean up my mental wasteland and I’ll do it all on my own.

Because I didn’t understand myself, I couldn’t explain to others why I can’t go to school today, or why I’m changing my mind about going out when we’re at the door, or why I ignore phone calls. And because people didn’t know what else to do to snap me back to reality, they’d say

Just try
You can do it. You’re smart.
What’s the problem?
This has gone on for so long. What are you waiting for? Until you die?
If you don’t start somewhere, you’ll forever procrastinate.
You can read all the books you want, but that isn’t going to change anything. You have to take the first step to go outside!
You’re young! You’re highly intelligent! Why are you wasting your life this way?
Ama talo keen noqo ama talo raac
What the heck Mulki! This is getting old real quick
Na intaad acudubilleysatid oo Ilaahay baridid, Qur’aan isku akhriyoo danahaaga ku toos.

And because I failed myself, because I denied my reality, I internalized those invalidating and patronizing prompts and it only served to break me more.

I’ve come far. Since 2008, I’ve been in auto-therapy. In these past 7 years, all I’ve been focused on is how to feel better. Granted, I did take many wrong turns and dead ends, but that’s how I learnt. I’d think about a plausible explanation to a certain mindset or hinder, I’d research and observe, and try different methods until I’d get the one solution that felt congruent to my being. And then I’d move on to the next layer of trauma and pain.

Considering the fact that I’ve had to contend with trauma that started when I was 5 and went on for another 18 years without interruption, I’ve made phenomenal strides. So I’m confident that, one day, I will become fully able to do what I’m passionate about but I can’t do that if I keep denying my pain and invalidate my limitations like some people have done. I have to stand up for myself because no one else can.

I have to make peace with myself because  I can’t heal with this civil war raging within me.

Raiders of the Lost (sp)Ark

My biggest accomplishment last year (wow, time sure flies! I can remember 2014 like it was just last week 😀 ) was overcoming my codependency. I was not free to think,to do, to differ,to be, for several reasons; I had not yet developed the faculties within me to be independent, the faculty to see my self as worthy as any other person and thus validate my own emotions and thoughts. I had no boundaries, and as such I had to ride piggyback on other people’s self-worth and identity in order to survive. They, in exchange, demanded I tend to their wants and needs, that I become a mere extension of them. Manipulation is a two-way street, so I sold my life for security, and they bought it for servitude. I had thought about breaking free for years, and in fact I tried several times but in the last minute I’d always change my mind and decide to stay put because I realized I had nowhere to go. There was no one home in my soul.
When I realized that to resolve this life-long issue that manifested itself in the control mum exerted over me with such crudeness, I had to dig deeper within myself to find the reason ,not for why people treated me this way, but the reason for my accepting it. What I found beneath the surface was a mess of traumas,self-neglect,and putrid self-hatred. I spent every waking hour thinking,reading,writing,venting  about this issue. It wasn’t as if I had a conscious goal to go through a laundry list of to-do’s when it came to my recovery, but there was this fire that was burning within me, urging me to go forth when I felt stuck. No conscious effort would have succeeded in keeping me going for 10 or so hours a day for months on end. No way. I wanted my freedom, and the key was within me. That intrinsic drive was my ticket to freedom.

When I did attain it, when I enforced my boundaries, I realized that even though I could do whatever I wanted, speak freely, not be ashamed of being who I am, be transparent and vulnerable- I felt that something deep within me was still incarcerated. I felt constricted and I had no idea what it was. I felt it the most when I tried to take first steps in following my dreams; something within me just shut down. Denied me access. Then I read this article on Psychology Today, Essential Freedom is Essentially Ignored  and I realized that although I achieved freedom of doing, I had not yet achieved freedom of being. Paradoxically, freedom of doing robbed me of my freedom of being. I’m indolent and now that nothing threatens my security, I don’t have an incentive for climbing higher. I’m apathetic. I don’t care enough about progressing for me to dislike my status quo. Part of me fears the unknown, but mostly it’s just a dislike of discomfort and for what? I don’t have that fire to propel me anymore, the fire I had when I was being controlled.

My new mission is to break free from this laziness, this passivity. My new mission is to find what died in me, if it even existed to begin with, and revive that. I want to start a bonfire in the depths of my being to burn myself down, and arise anew from the ashes like a phoenix. I want to be reborn. I want to be able to pursue my dreams without fear,laziness,or anything else weighing me down. I want my passion for life, my inner fire to be more forceful than any potential obstacles. I don’t want to live my life making up alibis for my failure to live.

This year is going to be an emotional scavenger hunt for that lost spark.

ان شاء الله

the truth is hard to find

Midnight thoughts & thunders

 〈serial soliloquies〉


I travel light years in my mind, each day
I sleep a different person
It’s painful, acknowledging unknown territories within me
Because that means I have to pack up and move over there, again.
and that almost always means I’ll be separated from loved ones in my life, unless they move with me which frankly, rarely happens.
As I move farther and farther away, our relationship weakens, we don’t keep in touch as often and all of a sudden we don’t have much in common to talk about.
I’m always a stranger to others, to myself.
Nature of the beast, I guess.

Death by numbness [II]

I’m a criminal

and my frail heart my unwitting victim

It was I who broke my own heart
It was I who brought this pain upon myself
It was I who broke my spirit this way,

For it was I who held onto an illusion.

 

Death by numbness [I]

My heart is sobbing and I’m sobbing with it
It’s telling me something that I can’t understand
It’s fumbling in my chest, as if it’s looking for something buried in between my ribs
I sometimes catch myself succumbed to a mysterious melancholy
Crept upon me like a fog
or the way dusk permeates the sky in a discreet fashion
I feel my heart conspires with the fabrics of my soul and mind
Huddled in a hush-hush conclave
I’m assigned to bear the brunt of my own secrets
I’m a foreigner to my own heart, and for that I’m mourning.

the perfect sin

Midnight thoughts & thunders

 〈serial soliloquies〉

“The proud person always wants to do the right thing, the great thing. But because he wants to do it in his own strength, he is fighting not with man, but with God.”
Søren Kierkegaard


Perfectionism almost killed me. It burned me out like a lone ember that neither gives out heat nor fire. I realized perfectionism doesn’t exist in humans. We are dynamic, not static. I discovered my strength in my weakness; they were two sides of the same coin. By embracing my human imperfections I achieved a sense of humility which is in essence self-acceptance. When I accepted my flaws and imperfections, the inner turmoil & tug of war reached a halt. My strength lay in my weakness; my inherent flaws and tendency to sin. I drew closer to Allaah by my sins. The utter weakness that encompassed me realizing that constant spectrum of sinning and repenting- this exposed my frail state and in turn, the greatness of Allaah by contrast.

When I strove for perfection, I lost sight of what was important. It was as if I was striving to please myself by doing an excellent job, losing sight of the intrinsic, autotelic meaning of worship [ ‘ibaadah].

The hadeeth of the Prophet [ صلى الله عليه و سلم ] comes to mind;

 Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, if you were a people who did not commit sin, Allah would take you away and replace you with a people who would sin and then seek Allah’s forgiveness so He could forgive them.” [Sahīh Muslim (2687)]

Electrifying pain

As a young child I was bizarre. Curiously pedantic. Pedantically curious. I was attuned to intricate details, mesmerized by the most mundane stuff. Stubborn! Oh lord, my middle name is ‘hardheaded’. I, of course, have my biased defense of the trait; ‘ I’m incessantly curious!’ I quip.

I asked mum why I had to feel pain? She told me that pain was useful because without pain there is no sensation and then we wouldn’t be able to walk. And if we hurt ourselves really bad, we wouldn’t feel that too and we could die.

 

That lesson stuck with me. For every step that I take inwards in introspection, it’s as if I’m performing a surgery without anaesthesia. I’m cutting away the vines of my childhood pain and rip open the scar tissues to extract the bullets that have been slowly permeating my mind, lacing it with a young child’s fear.

Being vulnerable is like being pierced and keep from flinching. The pain becomes physical at times. I feel it run down my legs. Knot in my stomach. My chest constricted. My back tense. I let it surge through me like a gushing river. I tell myself to ignore the urge to suppress it, and to let the river of tears out. Two decades of tears and blood.

I collect memories. I hide in the pain, in plain view. I close my eyes,grit my teeth and lie down. Whenever I reach a level of consciousness within me, the accompanying pain always startles me. Though I know the drill, nothing can prepare me for the pain because the more aware I become, the stronger the current of pain that surges through me. I brace myself.

The current of pain electrifies me. In its wake I find energy. It livens me. I’m vaccinated against fear. I pain, I live, I reflect, I am free.

I loved what I saw in him. I love who he is behind the iron curtain he set up against pain. How unfortunate it was that he couldn’t see himself. I hope that one of these days he’ll reach that place within him and brace the pain to see himself. For that day, I’ll be patiently awaiting.

 

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