Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Fun in Dysfunctional

Believe it or not, I really hate being right. It's no fun being confronted with an ugly truth you try to pretend doesn't exist.

It doesn't take long--just a few short minutes out of the space of an hour. A few words, a brief exchange of unpleasant looks, the same old story that's been told over and over again...

I spent years carrying around razor blades and sharp things in my pockets so I could slice little bits of my skin off--nothing much, the thick ends of my fingertips, the soft edges on the sides of my wrists, those mushy fat parts along the insides of my elbows. Just enough to hurt. Just enough to hurt enough.

It took me a very long time to wean myself from that habit and throw away all of my double- edged blades. I think the last one got tossed out about five years ago. Looking back, it wasn't something I'll ever need to do again. But at the time, it was all I had.

It took a long time, a lot of therapy, a little medication but I finally got the control I craved. Cognitive therapy is very good. One of the things you learn is to find truths that you can hold onto. Usually this means positive truths that you can leverage in times of crisis to counterbalance whatever dark and fearful thoughts might be closing in at the moment. I used to keep quite a list of these in key places--the bathroom mirror, the pocket of my jeans, the glove box of my car, a desk drawer at work. My safety net was never more than a foot away at any time.

The list varied from time to time, with one notable exception. The number one truth at the top of each and every version of my list was always the cannot earn worth through what you do. This was my mantra. This was my lifeline. This was what got me through any huge number of sleepless nights and aimless days. It's true--think about it. You can rescue drowning puppies and feed the hungry and put all of your money in the collection plate every day of your life, but it won't make a fucking bit of difference in the way the world, or anyone in the world looks at you.

You cannot earn worth through what you do. Some days you don't even want to try. I'm looking at the walls tonight and wondering why I ever bothered. I don't know if I ever will again.

Maybe the orphan thing's not such a bad gig after all. Can't be much worse. God, I hope I die before I get old.

No comments: