I have wondered at times whether my excited, childlike delight in my new surroundings, and my need to immerse myself in the local music and drama scenes, is a form of denial; whether I am, to put it another way, putting off the need for healing indefinitely.
Am I merely plastering over the cracks? I remind myself that I am still on a low dose of Amitriptyline, that the pain still comes in waves and that fearful thoughts still afflict me. Although I have only had one really serious panic attack since late December, the anxiety the thought of them provokes continues.
I know that the divorce – indeed, the marriage itself – has damaged me. I know that I am vulnerable, often too open and trusting, often afraid. I know that the terror my ex, at times, provoked has not gone away, even though I have not seen him since I moved on December 20th 2016. Certain habits, a characteristic watchfulness and a censoring of my own thoughts and words, still leaps to the forefront of my mind – and writing this kind of post can easily provoke palpitations and a tear-blocked throat.
Having said all of the above, reading my posts from last year has forced me to see how far I have travelled, both physically and emotionally. I wanted to weep for the Alienora who experienced the Primal Scream moment on a dog walk in Burrington, and the woman who lay huddled upon her single bed, shaking with distress, for so many hours; the me who crept nervously around the former home, picking at bowls of Granola, cuddling a felt tiger (a birthday present on January 9th 1959, when I turned one) and swallowing back oceans of tears.
So, I recognise, all too clearly, that, despite the progress I have made, despite the love of true friends and the hungry immersing of self in new world, I am still carrying raw wounds and that my need for healing continues.
Was I broken? Perhaps not completely. But the cracks were, to me, very apparent. I felt like a porcelain jug that had been dropped from a great height and then put back together again haphazardly. In all probability, I will never be glued together perfectly – but, to use my oft-repeated phrase, the light shines through the cracks.
But I hold to this truth: That we heal most effectively when able to feel our open wounds with every atom of our being; when we give ourselves time to grieve, to mourn, to look honestly at the sequence of events that led to our placement in the emotional ICU. On the physical level, if we cut ourselves and do not clean the gash, infection can set in. The same applies to emotional and mental wounds, which is one of the reasons why I have written so much – both on here and in my journal (now in its forty-fifth year) – about the gaping and bloody maw of pain in my soul.
Healing does not mean that the pain vanishes, that the cut leaves no trace behind. How can it? The body holds faint cicatrices from its sharp engagements with knife and stick, glass, stone and scalpel. The same goes for the mind and emotions. Perhaps healing is more to do with acknowledging the rents and bruises as an integral part of our humanity – and of feeling them with a passion equal to that we expend upon joy and pleasure and excitement.
Sometimes I find myself crying for no obvious reason. I believe it is my body shedding the accumulated toxicity. It is release. It is the small steps of healing. To heal is to know that, no matter how excruciating today may be, this too will pass.
I am at the start of a journey: A journey of healing.