I’m having a slow-motion breakdown lately.
It’s not so different from what a lot of people experience, but the difference is that I’m talking with you about it. I need to talk about it, because that stops it from getting out of control.
I spent so much of my younger life pretending that everything was OK with me — so much that I believed it was true — that I can live a perfectly normal life while I’m breaking down inside. I can move through the world as I always do. I can say and do all the right things. The people around me have no idea that anything‘s going on.
I had to learn that pattern as a child, because any hint of weakness or pain or unhappiness was met with sharp disapproval from my father. I learned to put a happy face on everything. I learned not to show people what I felt. I learned how to be numb to what I felt.
As I eventually learned how to be emotionally healthy, I became more honest with myself about what’s going on inside my head and heart. But I never unlearned the habit of acting as though all is normal. So I wear the mask people see in public.
But I sometimes have to talk about it — or else cracks eventually show up in the mask. And I could eventually lose control in a way that I’ve never allowed to happen. So I need to talk about it. Right now.