This was my big realization after a long chat with a good friend yesterday.
I've been in a numb and neutral state.
There are exceptions. There are always exceptions.
Grief. Grief so strong and thick, it bursts through my numbness uncontrollably like a breaking dam. But gets pushed back when the wall closes again.
Anxiety. Anxiety that sits heavily on my heart, in a completely physical way, and vies for control of my brain, so often winning the fight. A constant presence under the numbness, usually receiving the ambiguous label of stress, even when I can't quite identify it.
There are other emotions that sneak through the numbness. But they are just small glimpses. Not fully felt. Doubted and second-guessed. Not strong enough. Unsure. Not fully realized.
This numbness, although sometimes manifesting itself in dark days where I hide, is mostly an illusion. An illusion of okayness. My soul might know all isn't well, and maybe it is crying out for help, but the numbness is too strong to let those cries through.
It is dangerous, this illusion.
I am falling, drowning, full of fear, stuck, and I don't do anything to combat it.
This is existence without living.
I think it comes from running and hiding too successfully for far too many years. I mastered those techniques, and now they have taken over.
But, more than that, I think it comes from neglect.
Neglecting myself; neglecting those things that nourish my soul. I'm still waking up at 5am, but instead of writing morning pages, and praying, and listening as the Lord speaks to my heart through His Word and His Spirit, I am busy. Busy in a scattered, distracted, frantic way. Some of this is about scheduling and discipline and changes that I have already taken steps to take. But the heart of it is the neglect.
The neglect that the numbness has covered for months. Occasionally losing control long enough for me to dig deep in writing or feel a moment of joy seeping through the cracks, but that never lasts long.
The illusion is strong.
It pulls me deeper away from myself and hides all the things that really need my attention, good and bad.
I am left existing, but not really living.
I am left confused when those closest to me try to point out the changes that are so apparent from the outside, but not at all visible inside this cage of numbness. The key sitting, unseen, on the table by the door.
Yesterday I saw that key.
A glitter of hope shining on the table, and the peace that accompanied it.
This is me. Picking up that key. Putting it into the lock. Opening the door. Not shrinking back from everything waiting on the other side. Hoping to feel again. Hoping to reunite with my true self. Taking a step of faith. Knowing that if my faith is in the right place, I will fly and not fall.
This is me. Reaching for life and opening myself up to all the feelings that have been hidden away. They are so much stronger than I imagined.
This is me. Meeting myself as if for the first time. Trying not to run away.