We Are VERY Fragile.

I really cannot say much about this topic right now because I am in the middle of trying to deal with this very thing but I wanted to bring it up because it is incredibly important. I think we find that the floor of the base need for “security” falls out from under us again and again and again when our bodies either harm themselves or fail altogether. This is made exponentially worse when we have issues rooted in early childhood when we have either been abused or neglected or when we have had to parent our parents and have not really had that base solidly formed completely to start with. I think this compounds with later experiences in childhood and adolescence – they can be anything from absolutely horrific and traumatic experiences to things like constant bullying. For me, family issues aside, I think my “security” floor was pulled out from me time and time again when those who bullied me (because of the actions of my parents) caused me to find myself alone with no one to help fight for me. I think I did learn some things during those long years like learning HOW to make friends when one day your best friend not only stopped talking to you but started sabotaging you, telling the school administrators that you were throwing backpacks in the aisles to try to trip them (I was such a shy and terrified kid I would NEVER have done such a thing just for fear of what the teacher would say) to sending me death threats and literally making a voodoo doll of me trying to get me to die when I was going to be valedictorian (the reason I graduated high school a year early). But learning HOW to make new friends can only go so far. My bullies made it their mission in life not only to make my life miserable but to isolate me, taking my new best friends away one by one … I think in total I lost somewhere around 6 or so best friends because they had been lured away from me and then I became a sort of “nothing” and “no one.” This has obviously been paralleled by my experiences with “friends” through my years of chronic illness. If I had to phrase it as succinctly as possible in the way that it FEELS, I would simply say “I am unloveable.” “I am not worth anyone’s time.”

Deep down I know that must not be true because I do a lot for a lot of people who need the help; both now and in the past. But I still feel that way in my heart because that shaky ground has never been solidified – especially now that I am an “adult” and all the people I have ever “loved” have gone off and married people who seem (in as “objective” of a way as possible) “uglier,” “dumber,” “boring,” “needy,” “calculating,” among other pejorative definitions. I know in many ways I am correct in those assumptions, but I think at the same time I also use them to try to make the ground underneath me feel like it is there at all.

This is just a very small example of a very BIG problem those of us with severe chronic illness face. We have no security. Although we might have a roof over our heads and food to eat, &c., it never feels like we are just “okay.” It never feels like we are “safe.” The “safety nets” that hold us together – that literally keep us alive – are fragile, at best. And there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.

Where I am going with all of this is that we are EXTRAORDINARILY FRAGILE PEOPLE. We might come off as incredibly strong for getting through every day when the “average” person would have slit their wrists a few weeks in, and that is true, but it does nothing to make us feel like we are “safe.” The truth is that at any time the floor can fall right back out from under us; others often force it. Even just trying to feel “okay” can turn horrific very quickly – for instance, tonight I was showing a picture of what I thought was great minimal makeup to someone. I never got a positive “oh, that looks great!” Instead, the responses were “do you have a breakout? a bug bite?!” and then even after explaining that I was just showing minimal makeup and concealer to try to hide my eye bags and dark circles from more crying than any person should ever have to deal with in a lifetime, the only response I got was “there’s a shadow on your forehead.”

When you have no floor that is guaranteed to be stable beneath you; when you have the very BASIC BASIS for something like CPTSD, something like that just throws your world into hell. It literally feels like the one thing you felt good about has been trampled and kicked into a pile of mud-covered garbage. We are NOT okay. I think that is the first thing we have to admit if we are ever going to find any sort of acceptance. There is nothing wrong with that! I think it is actually the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves – it is, however, extraordinarily painful. However, with this in mind, we have to be treated like we are thin glass figurines that are painted with paint that will fall off when touched. We are EXTRAORDINARILY FRAGILE. Right now I have not only been crying for hours but I have done things I cannot say here and I have also turned off my bathroom light so I don’t have to look at my f*cking ugly face in the mirror. No one who has been through the hell I have been through and the worse hell that so many others have been through should feel that way; no one DESERVES TO BE MADE TO FEEL THAT WAY (and you know how I feel about the word “deserves!”). If you can’t say something nice, seriously SHUT UP. That is at least where I am right now. I don’t know if things get better from here; I hope they do because otherwise there really isn’t much of a point. But I do think 3 things matter here: 1. We have to admit the hell we have been through and how not only chronic illness but traumatic childhood experiences have created the inability to feel safe, 2. We have to admit that because of that WE ARE NOT OKAY, and 3. those around us who care about us and interact with us frequently have to treat us as if the paint will fall of and the figurine will break with anything that is not thought out well.

That is all I have for right now because I am an absolute mess. I am off to wash my mask off in the dark which is ridiculous because I shouldn’t be spending so much money on such an ugly face, especially if it doesn’t matter when it comes to getting what you need out of life in general.

❤ Always, Beth

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