Last night, while working my way ALL THE WAY through my big-ass pile of filing (this was a HUGE step for me) I came across my medical records from when I was 9. Several decades below the surface, not bad for a day’s work. No, I don’t just randomly hold onto crap like that, but these were fairly serious health issues, and sometimes you need to be able to refer back to such things…although I haven’t in years and years.
When I was a child, I had some health problems that were the direct result of my not-knowing how to healthfully deal with stress. This affected my mobility and my immune system.
A few weeks ago, my therapist said to me “you need to learn to relax because your stress will kill you”. At the time, I said to her “oh, I know, I have already had health problems because of stress”. Stated simply, as a fact, because it IS a fact.
So I suppose it was just another nail in a pretty solid coffin when I came across these old records last night. And I suppose they are what I needed to make more than a factual connection between past and present.
The records describe more than just my literal health issues, they also describe me in whole, at the time. And at the time I was a 9-year-old-child. A 9-year-old-child who did not know how to be a child. Turbo-perfectionistic, highly self-critical, and totally able to put forth a well-mannered and people-pleasing exterior while my stress attempted homicide on my auto-immune system. I finally became so sick that I couldn’t smile in the middle of the massacre anymore, and I succumbed to pain and depression.
My parents were not horrible people who drove me to this, so don’t even go down that path.
I’m sort of sitting here with the picture of that child in my head and realizing that in some ways I have not come very far. I still insist on holding myself and everyone around me to lethal standards. I am far harder on myself than anyone else though.
And my therapist is right. This will kill me. I have two choices…learn new tactics and live and give myself a whole new life, or hold tightly to what doesn’t work, and die by my own hand.
I am in no way suicidal–and I can take a hint.
I know she’s right. So right now I’m just going to sit surrounded by the artifacts of my gradual road to self-destruction. Let myself sit with them long enough to imprint my mind deeply with their jagged teeth. Really feel them this time, instead of deflecting raw feelings with polished fact.
Then I’m going to ask her for help in finding the next step.