I go inward when I have emotions that are too much to handle.
That’s the reason my blog has been offline the last few weeks, (which is sure to mess with my algorithms, another gift from the depressive episode that keeps on giving!) Going inward is actually not as bad as a depressive episode, it’s a coping mechanism and not the worst one I’ve ever leaned on. There’s a lot of wisdom to be found when you tune outside voices out and listen to your own heart. For however long that takes, and sometimes it’s a while.
In the past, I’d disappear until I felt like myself again. But in that case, I was shutting myself down a lot more than I was being myself, until numbness took over. Instead of being the best of myself, I turned into someone I didn’t know, or particularly like. I let fear take over. I hid.
The difference between going inward and shutting down is so subtle I don’t blame people for worrying about me. In both cases, I’m offline. I’m not connecting as much as I was. I’m unplugged, even from the people, places, and things I was most involved in. The difference is subtle, but huge. In shutting down, I’m unplugged from those things because I don’t think I deserve them. In going inward, I’m unplugged from those things because I’m reevaluating whether they deserve me.
Yikes, that sounds aggressive even to type, doesn’t it? Especially to someone who’s spent her life doubting her own value. Does it make me sound like a huge b*tch? Good. It’s about time I learned to stand up for myself.
Part of what I’ve learned by going offline is that I’ve shouldered weight that’s not mine to bear – a lot of it, actually. I’ve taken the blame for things I didn’t do or cause. I’ve jumped in to fix things I didn’t break. I’ve assumed I was the cause for things I was just a bystander to, or worse – a victim of. I’m so desperate to keep the peace (typical Libra) that I’ve sold myself over and over and over.
So now, in isolation, I get to decide what to do about that. Do I want to go forward apologizing for being myself again and again? As Dr. Phil would say “how’s that working for ya?” Not good, Dr. Phil. Help a girl out.
I’m not, actually, in isolation. Part of going internal is knowing who you can trust, even (especially) if that circle is super small. I recommend a small circle, actually, because trust is so precious and hard to come by. I’m not looking for advice. A shoulder to lean on goes a lot longer than a lecture about what to do. Because the path, sometimes, is individual. Your heart knows the way, but sometimes your world has to be dark (& quiet) for that path to light up. Someone to hold your hand on the way, though? That’s more than invaluable.
That path? I don’t know where it’s leading me. I usually don’t write about things until I’m far enough over them I have some perspective, but in this case? Well, I don’t mind if you walk a while with me. Maybe you need to do some reevaluating as well. Those people, places, and things important in our lives will fall back into place, one by one. Or maybe they won’t and we’ll find entirely new paths. That sounds scary, but it’s a lot less scary than losing ourselves by shutting down.
Take my hand. I won’t let that happen to us this time.