Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Road to acceptance

is a long one. It is. Not going to lie to anyone or paint a nice, glossy, rosy ass picture and act like you just wake up one day, open a window, feel a breeze on your face, hear birds singing outside and suddenly, it's all better. It isn't. Same shit is still on the inside of the window and on the inside of the person.


I'm going to preach about this a bit today because I need too.
And this is my blog so I get too.

I am finding that many people in my life do not want me to go through the process that I need to go through to deal with all this crap - the palsy, the odd looking face, the 2 brain tumors, and the tumor on my eye, and my slowly losing my vision in that eye. I gotta tell you - that all this wonderful bullshit has left me a bit, raw, this past year. Any given day I have a myriad feelings going on; some of them good, some of them very dark.

And here's what I think. That those feelings - even the bad ones - are OKAY. And reasonable. And right. And THAT makes a whole lotta people a whole lotta uncomfortable.

I'm not sure if it's because they don't want me to have to hurt and feel pain and be sad. Or, if it's because my feeling those things and, *gasp*, actually talking about it, makes THEM feel things or remember things or relive things and THAT makes them uncomfortable. So they want me to be quiet. To just "move on already".

Well, I'm trying. I really am. But I gotta tell you - it's hard and I am struggling. Some days a lot more than others admittedly, but the struggle is there almost daily - to some degree. And again, I say I think that is ok.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
Friedrich Nietzsche

 I love me some Nietzsche - I do. He gets it right a lot of the time. If you aren't familiar with him - go get one of his books - read it now. Your brain and your soul will thank you for it. But I digress.

So yes, to live is to suffer. But the trick is surviving it and I absolutely believe that to survive it, at least for me, I have to find some meaning in all of it.

That is what I'm trying to do. Find some meaning in all of this.

For me, this process resembles a long tunnel. Once I get out the other end of it - into the light again - then I'll have made it through. But the tunnel part or the darkness, that is the grief, the sadness, the FEAR, the pain, the anger, and the absolute Rage I feel at times. But I have to go through it before I can make it out the other side. I think everyone has their "tunnel". For me it has to do with my tumors and the palsy, for others it is maybe the loss of someone, infertility, or addiction. And here is something else. Everyone has to walk through their tunnel ALONE. No one can do it with you. And no one can do it for you. You have to face it down on your own. Scary as hell - right? You bet. But, BUT it is what you must do. It is what I have to do. And I'm trying.

There are days I'm on the other side. And it feels great. And it is a step toward acceptance. But then there are days that I get pulled back IN to the tunnel. Thats ok too. I believe it is a natural part of the healing/acceptance process; two steps forward, one step back. This really seems to upset people - the people around me. It's like others think that once you've gone through the tunnel and emerged on the other side - you stay there. And maybe some lucky ones do. But I think it is more natural and real and logical that you get pulled back in or under sometimes.

Here's the trick. Recognize it when it happens. Embrace it for what it is. Feel what you must feel. All of it - especially the ugly parts. And remember that you WILL emerge from the tunnel again and into the light. Eventually you will be spending more time on the other side - in the light - than you do IN the tunnel in the dark. Maybe one day you won't ever be pulled back under again. Or maybe you will. And that is okay too. It is a process. A painful process; a struggle. And for me at least - this is how I approach it.

This brings me to the Pleasure Principle and Mr. Siggy Freud. I like Freud - I think he got a lot of things right too - especially this one. He says that the pleasure principal is universal and that it guides us in virtually everything we do, whether we are aware of it or not. The pleasure principle, in simplest terms, states that people are driven to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. In other words, we are willing to do things that will bring us pleasure and we are unwilling to do things that will cause us pain. Makes sense - right? The obvious thing here is physical pain but I submit that this also applies to emotional pain. And here's the rub. I also submit that humans will do MORE to avoid feeling emotional pain than they will to just feel physical pleasure. And this ties back to what I've been rambling on about - my attempting to go THROUGH all of this crap and how uncomfortable that seems to be making everyone around me. Well, truthfully it is making ME pretty damn uncomfortable a good lot of the time too.

So the going through it sucks. And I think it runs in the face of what, at least subconsciously, we are driven to do - to avoid pain at all costs.

But you still gotta do it - even if it hurts - to come out the other end and feel better for it. To find the meaning and the pleasure in life again, like it or not, you gotta wade through the pain. Sometimes the pain is only at your ankles, sometimes it's up to your eyeballs - but you gotta get through it anyway.

A good many people have told me that I just need to go see a doctor and "get on something to help me through it". Well, ok. Maybe. But I only agree with the pharmacology aspect of it insofar as I'm also doing the psychological work of feeling and dealing with it. Otherwise you just tossed a blanket over the pain. You did nothing to get to the core of it - the heart of the problem. If you don't get to what is actually CAUSING the pain - the pain will never go away. It just festers. Gets deeper. Harder. Colder.

And so do you.

So no, I'm not taking a pill to numb it away. Here is where, I think, most addictions come in to play - be it pills, alcohol, or some other drug. Because in drugs - whatever drug it is - you get the pleasure principle double whammy - avoidance of pain by numbing it AND pleasure from the high. You toss in a genetic pre-disposition to addiction or an addictive personality and there you go.

I don't want to go down that road.

I have to stay on the one I'm on - bumpy and rough and full of razor blades sometimes. But I have to walk it - through the tunnel and try to make it out the other side. With any luck I'll spend more and more time on the other side and less and less in the tunnel. But I have to feel this. And accept the pain for what it is if I ever hope to accept the reality of all of this.

It is what it is. I'm just trying to survive it.

Please don't anyone tell me it's time to "move on" anymore. That is just code for "aren't you over all this yet?" No, I'm not. I'm still dealing and struggling. I may off and on my whole life. Or maybe I'll be through with it next week. But whichever it is I'm trying to embrace that. And allow it to happen.

It is the only way I know how to heal.

We are never so defensless against suffering as when we love.
Sigmund Freud

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
Kahlil Gibran

We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.
Marcel Proust