I am sick. I have been sick for over a week and I can’t seem to get well. As I get physically worse, my mental state deteriorates as well. I am sad. I am overwhelmed. My brain doesn’t want to work right. I look around and wonder how I will ever crawl out of this mess?
It is in these low moments that I feel defeated. The lies begin to creep in and take over. The uglies show up.
I can’t ever truly escape the uglies, but it’s so much worse when I’m vulnerable and weakened.
Hope floats out, while darkness settles in. And my thoughts turn to running.
No, not running as in going out for a jog. The other kind of running. Running away. Whenever times get tough for me – whether it be from illness or sadness and depression, I think of what it would be like to run. To walk out the front door and not look back. To go someplace quiet and secluded and only for me. To be able to rest.
Of course I feel pangs of guilt at the thought of leaving behind my beloved littles. But I am so tired. And they would forgive me. (Probably not.)
I don’t feel like I have rested in over a decade.
It began with my first deployment in 2003, when I really learned about the evils and ills of this world. I listened to the stories our air crews told – like the story of the young woman in Iraq that we airlifted out for emergency care. Her husband, without any proof, determined she was cheating. His punishment was to push her into a burning pit of feces. 80% of her body was badly burned. She didn’t make it.
I watched good people go into harms way every day. I worried over my friends as they flew in and out of places where they were in harms way. I cried as I read reports of more of our young men and women killed.
My body and soul became weary in a way that I did not know was possible.
Until I had children. And one of them died. I wanted to die. I was never allowed to lose myself in the grief that threatened to destroy me because the other children needed me. So, I moved on, got better, found “happiness.” I coped.
That is where I live until moments like this break down the walls. In my period of desperate weakness, the uglies set to roost.
The uglies are my demons. The lies, the inadequacies, all harbored in low self esteem that I do my best to push as far down and out as I can. The uglies tell me that I am alone and no one loves me. That I’ve never been loved. I’ll never be good enough. I’m not smart. I’m invisible. That I could go away tomorrow and no one would notice. That I’m a bad mother, a bad friend, a bad person.
The uglies strip me of my best qualities. In these times I have little to no compassion for others. Compassion – the one gift I feel that I truly possess, I have to fight to retain.
But the scariest uglies are not the lies. The uglies that hurt the worst are the truths. These are the hardest for me to reconcile when I am vulnerable and in this state. The truths that I feel inside of me that can never be spoken, can never be shared, can never be.
Those are the thoughts that if spoken, if shared, if breathed into existence beyond the confines of my wounded soul would destroy the people I love the most. I would be truly alone.
And then I would die…
Thankfully, these times are fleeting. They are deep and come on strong, but are usually short in nature. Even as I write about it, I feel the fog lifting, and a sense of me returning. The extreme exhaustion remains, and I know that I can’t keep the uglies at bay for long when weakened.
When I am well again, I will cover them up and hide them deep. I will re-emerge from the dark cocoon that only I know exists, and for my loves, I will smile and do what has to be done.
The hollow will not win. The uglies will be beat.
Until they come round again.