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Ignoring the call to surrender.
On fighting the urge to completely fall apart without consideration of the consequences of doing so.
“I'm also terrified of other people's narratives. I don't want to be perceived as falling apart. Like, it’s fine that I’m frightened of me. But if YOU are frightened of me then the problem is more real. I don’t really know how much I’m allowed to fall apart. I don’t think I want to find out. At the same time, I kind of do want to find out. After all these years of preserving my facade in daily life, I’m fucking tired. It would probably be a real relief to just crumble. I wish I could trust that the universe has me and that I could just let go. …it would be a relief to just surrender anyway. I think my biggest fear and deepest wish is to surrender.” — Melissa Broder, So Sad Today
I once admitted to my therapist that I often resent the fact that I’m so “
high functioning.” My revelation came after her praise of me for identifying problem areas as it pertains to how I had been feeling at the time and for being self-aware enough to take measures to mitigate them. Or something like that. I also let her know that sometimes my ability to flawlessly hide that I constantly felt like I was dying inside angered me. Frustrated me to no end because of the amount of energy it took, and how I was still expected to not only survive but to thrive and excel and never complain because no matter what, somebody somewhere had it worse.
Sometimes I want the “excuse of crazy.”
Whenever I see a human who is exhibiting obvious and extreme symptoms of mental illness, my first thought is usually “I get it.” I sympathize with their inability to mask their suffering from the outside world, and empathize with their pain, but, at that moment I also envy them.
Sometimes I want to act on the impulsive, outlandish, and foolish shit my brain is telling me will make me feel better at the moment. But I don’t. Because I’m in touch with reality enough to know that although it’s 3 am and I have every urge to go outside in the freezing cold, throw shit and scream about how awful I feel, I can’t do that.
Someone will call the police.
I’d likely be taken to jail or committed.
And, I’m pregnant.
I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I sometimes envy the man on the corner yelling obscenities at the air and to no one in particular. Or the woman whose brain told her she needed to strip butt naked and walk aimlessly down the busy road.
I understand the intense urge to do something totally outlandish and not being able to feel settled until you surrender to it. Like you can’t do anything but that or it’ll eat at you. Yes, I know for extreme cases there are other factors at play such as psychosis, drugs, paranoia, etc. But sometimes I want that freedom of just letting go and crawling out of my skin too because I no longer want to be in it. To randomly curse out the unsuspecting woman too close to me in the checkout line because I’m mad at my brain, not her. But I can’t yell at my brain, though I try to anyway, so I choose her instead.
But I don’t.
Because I know better.
And I know acting out on those rare, but extreme impulses will bring me more harm than good. Then I have a shit ton of guilt about feeling this way because I’m like “Come tf on Ashleigh, nobody WANTS to be deemed crazy and do those things and you are privileged enough to have more control.”
So instead I shop. I retreat. I keep busy. I change my number. I purge my closet. I binge. I fuck. I scream. I write. I do the “safer” extremes to try and satisfy the urge to just act a fucking fool because, in my mind, I want to. But these days, it feels harder and harder to ignore the call to surrender. And I often fear the day I am no longer able to do so.
Originally written in November 2020.