But when Life has gone on without you and there is no ready-made path back in, things get … complex. I have stood at the top of the hill, by the park near my neighborhood, and looked, both literally and figuratively, at my town spread out before me. I have stood and wondered how to find my way … in.
I have done that for a few years now, and still have not found that inroad. I know that doesn’t mean it won’t happen but it isn’t happening yet.
I turned to the internet this spring and have found an oasis. A confusing, multi-directional, invigorating, and most wonderfully welcoming beehive, a swarming busy anthill of activity, and connections in all directions.
I knew it would have its ups and its downs. I didn’t know how much internal upheaval and change it would bring for me.
Starting to write, receiving emails of appreciation, and offers, has been life-altering. It has helped me to look up instead of down, to expect impossible things and to see many of those things granted to me.
I knew I had to be careful as I re-learned, again, how to pace myself in this new world. The specter for every chronic, even the recovering ones, is the potential disaster of yet another crash. This was not a new concern. But I had to balance myself within new parameters. Still, I was game, I knew if I could do it right the benefits would far outweigh the hazards. And I have found this to be true.
I did not expect the emotional roller-coaster set into motion, as I began to form new connections, build new relationships and form new friendships for the first time in six years or more. I mean, this can only be good, right? Right?
I’ve had a really good run in only four months. I’ve gone from being a reluctant hermit prior to this, to receiving dozens of emails a day, lots of good feedback and responses. And you would think that would make me feel just fine, yes? Well, sometimes. And sometimes I would become so afraid that it was all going to go away again, like it did seven years ago, that I would panic at a half-hour of silence in my inbox. I would feel bereft and abandoned by everyone if the constant flow of responses stopped, even for a short time.
It brought to the surface the long-percolating feelings of invisibility and abandonment, even in the midst of this great outpouring of recognition of me as a human being. I was like a dried out sponge, soaking up all the attention, and it was never enough. This was puzzling and disturbing to me. I didn’t used to be like that B.C. (Before Crash) What could it mean?
A few weeks later, I think I understand it better. And I’m writing about it for those who may also be embarking on the road of recovery. I just want to say, that like detoxification, sometimes this good change can be painful. It can be frightening. Old responses and old fears can flare up, in what seem like very inappropriate ways, at very inappropriate times. Don’t let it throw you.
These are just a new type of growing pain. And if you ride it out, it will pass. And you will find your balance in this new and wonderful (and initially frightening) setting of greater health.
As one friend told me recently, You have been sick and fragile for a long time. Your body and your mind have only recently been able to handle new things. They are still afraid of being overwhelmed and lost once again.
But you are on the right road, and you will find your way.