Since I was a teenager, I've found it hard to switch off my brain and go to sleep, because for the longest time, I've dreaded being alone with my thoughts. When I need to to sleep, my mind decides to replay just about every horrible, shameful, painful, bad and depressing incident in its back catalogue, repeatedly; to the point where I used to be in tears and unable to sleep, staying awake for hours with the TV blaring, just so I didn't have to think about these things.
I used to think that these things would never change, that I'd never be able to not feel like this, I just assumed that it was how my brain was wired. Therapists gave me endless tips and tricks to dealing with these negative thoughts, but they never seemed to work that well. I was lying in bed last night, trying to will myself to fall asleep, and with a sinking feeling in my stomach, my thoughts drifted to one of these incidents. For some reason, no amount of mindfulness, meditation and rhythmic breathing has ever been able to take my mind off this incident..
But there was nothing. There was no deep stomach ache of guilt, the tears never came and I didn't want to vomit or claw my hair out. There was just this hardened little lump in my throat, and then it went away. I was instantly reminded of this quote by Rumi - so much that I got up and went to my notebook and wrote it down several times.
Don't turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place, that is where the light enters you.
I'm not religious, I believe in people changing things for themselves, to make a difference. Last night when I felt like I was sinking into this horrible place, that would put me in bad mood for days, I realised that something had healed over the wound. There was nothing there except scar tissue, a small something that told me how I used to feel when I revisited that place. No tears, no shame, no guilt, no black rabbit hole... It felt like just a bump in the road, a small skip and then it was gone.
There is little I can attribute this to, except putting my stock in time as healer. That old pithy saying, time heals all wounds, that I've never really believed in, suddenly feels true. I've been working on learning to look after myself, my health, my mental health and suddenly it feels like all my hard work is paying off.
So I just want to let you know that if you're feeling like this: hopefully it will get better. It will all pass one day, and you'll barely notice. You'll be snuggled up in bed on a lazy Saturday morning with it snowing outside, listening to Dusty Springfield with a smile on your face because you know you're getting better.