Like most people in the world, I have some exceptional skills in certain areas. I have always been very musically inclined. I have an aptitude for words and language. I have a knack for business planning and strategic thinking.
And I am exceptionally talented at hiding pain.
Yes, as unusual a skill as that might be, I have one of the highest pain tolerances of anyone I know. I've spent months walking on fracture ankles, had surgery without full analgesics and anesthetics, and even failed to notice when I was registering full contractions on the monitor.
As strong as my ability to mask physical pain may be, it holds absolutely nothing to my ability to hide emotional pain. I am a master of repression, a queen of self-confinement, an expert in hiding emotions that I don't want to share.
And even when I do share, I do so with a reservedness that general results in my loved ones underestimating the severity of what I am trying to convey.
I don't know why I do this, but I've done it as long as I can remember. I'm sure it had something to do with growing up with an aggressive father, or maybe it's a result of the sexual assault I lived in my early teens. I couldn't tell you. What I know is that it is a 'personal strength' that, for the most part, does me absolutely no good.
There are times when I am not as successful at hiding my pain. I act out in ways that those who know me well can recognize and flag. Sadly, it often takes them too long to pick up on it and, by the time they do, I'm much further gone than I could have been had I just been upfront with them.
It's a vicious cycle that I've been fighting for years.
And I'm trying to break it.
So I'm going to start with this:
Lately, I've been feeling very sad.
Not an "I just watched 'The Notebook' and gosh that made me teary" kind of sad either.
The kind of sad that sits in your soul and ruminates. And as it does, it begins to expand, spreading it's tendrils far and wide until every single part of your being is connected by one feeling, and one feeling alone. The kind of sad that sits so heavily inside you that it squashes any tears that try to come. The kind of sad that can not be lifted by any amount of joy that surrounds you.
I call this kind of sad "The Abyss". It's like a deep, dark hole in your heart that never sees any light.
I don't always feel this way. Sometimes, I am so full of joy that I am downright exuberant. After all, I have nothing but beautiful things in my life. There is truly absolutely no reason to feel anything but truly and deliriously happy.
And most of the time, I do.
But then there are those other times. And lately there have been more of them.
Because I've just had a baby, I suspect it may be Post Partum Depression. Or even Seasonal Affected Disorder, given that I've been basically house-bound for 5 months. I admit, I do feel better when I get fresh air, and- yes- having a newborn and a high-needs toddler is definitely overwhelming.
But then there's a nagging voice deep inside me that says "You've felt this way before, and it wasn't the sun or the baby...You've felt this way before and it was just 'you'."
And that's the voice that tells me that I probably can't handle this one on my own. That no amount of sun will make it go away. That it won't just disappear when my hormones level out. That it's bigger than what is within my control.
I've learned from the mistakes of the past, and I know that the first step to feeling better is to admit that I can't do it on my own.
And so, with this, I come clean to my friends and loved ones. And I promise you that I'm working on it. Because my life is truly beautiful- and I want desperately to get back to a place where I can appreciate it fully.