Sometimes after some loss, loss of a loved one, loss of a dream, loss of a way of living, we find ourselves looking in the mirror and the person looking back looks like us, but doesn't feel like us. Times when we do the things we always do and hear our voice and see our actions knowing them as our own, but they still feel empty, void of us. The alive self in us is missing and what remains is pain, confusion and hope that often feels less and less every day.
What is so haunting about this is that we can remember ourselves, we know that we were whole in the past, that this is not normal and it does not feel okay. There is such a deep ache and fear beneath these times that it often seems as if they should not be happening, like something is wrong and that we are probably the one that made it go wrong.
This idea that this 'should' not be happening is especially painful and this is important...this is the thing to hold onto; the truth is it 'should' be happening.
Think of it like this. We are a boat in the ocean and the chaos and pain is a storm. Storms 'should' happen, they should be intense sometimes, especially when big changes in weather have happened. No one would say that a storm in the ocean shouldn't be happening or that the boat is failing by not stopping the storm. It is a cheesy metaphor, but is not inaccurate. We do not get to control when the storm starts, ends or how it goes. We just bounce and maybe even thrash about until it is done.
So basically, if it 'should' be happening, then the awful internal story about how we're a failure for being a mess for so long is not true. If thinking we are failing is not true and it hurts us to think it, we could maybe stop saying that to ourselves.
When we find ourselves saying 'I don't know what's wrong with me" or "I don't know how to make it stop", we could note that these are just scary facts of a reality, that we are in fact scared and sad, but that we are not failing.
In reality, something we do not like and that feels sad and scary if happening, that is not the same as failing at life. Finally, (warning this may make you want to smack someone) what if some things that are awful feeling are just the right things, what if the things that feel bad are not a sign something is wrong.
Instead, maybe some of the important things in life just hurt and are scary...then nothing is wrong. Then we settle in and look for quality people and places to hold us while we weather the storm, maybe that is all there is to be done. Maybe it would be the slightest bit easier if we stop pretending we have a choice..
May we find the people and places that help you weather our storms.
*NOTE: these times can be so devastating and painful that folks may not want to live through them. If this is genuinely where you or a loved one are at, it's time to get help from a professional.