We all have patterns of self-destruction. Each one of us is the protagonist in our own story, and there's no good story without there always being a chance that in the end, the protagonist becomes their own downfall. We live in the tension between trying to make better decisions but constantly battling old demons, and sometimes it feels like we’re just a few poor choices from total destruction.
I recently had a weekend where I "relapsed", as my therapist put it. At a wedding (classic), surrounded by love, and friends, and pretty trees, and stiff drinks, I hit the Big Red Button. The “Warning: Danger!”, the Doomsday Device Activation. I ignored my instincts and acted out of trauma, which if you didn’t know, usually just leads to more trauma. And it did. And the days that followed were a swirling and suffocating spiral of confusion, depression, sadness, frustration. I couldn’t see up or out, I couldn’t remember how I had gone under, all I knew was that I had. And I think that happens sometimes when we begin down our destructive paths, when we forgo good decision-making. When the waves come, we forget what happened and how we got there, making it more overwhelming. All we can think is how to stay above water.
After some time, too much time, I was able to contextualize, which I think is the beginning of the end of the worst of it. To at least be able to look back and go “Oh here was my motivation, here’s why I made these awful decisions.” It’s often not just the one point in time as well; in my case it was a weekend but it was also the culmination of a series of weekends. And though contextualizing doesn’t abate the pain or make the waters subside, as I said, at least it’s the beginning. Then comes grace, grace for the mistake(s) made, grace for hitting the big red button out of pain, grace for misguidedly trying to heal old trauma. Grace so I can calm down and breathe and try again to do better. I mean that’s the only way the protagonist can move on right? To release old wounds with grace and move forward.