Honesty and Hard Questions: Why Holding a Mirror to Your Life is Hard

Earlier today, J., my therapist, asked me why I wasn’t doing the things I know I should be doing to better my life. I answered him in silence. There was no adequate answer I could give, which got me thinking: Why do we hold ourselves, and our truth, back from being exposed?

I am done holding everything in. This part of my life is painful and ugly and frightening and disgusting and I want no part of it anymore. I hate this part of my life. The part where motivation is external instead of internal. The part where hoping for better is something not innate, but rather another skill I have to learn. The part where “faith” right now is just a word.

“Things will get better. It won’t always be this way. I won’t always be afraid,” I say. I want to believe it. I want so badly to believe it, but the past has a way of holding me hostage. And I let it. I let it because it’s comfortable like a pebble that’s stuck in your shoe and you feel it pound your foot with every step. Annoying and painful, yes, but it’s nothing you can’t survive.

Survive. I’ve been in survival mode so long I don’t know anything else. I’ve made excuses and blamed people, more than myself, for the way my life is and that’s pathetic, which is to say, it’s wrong. There’s no step-by-step book that teaches you how to take control of your life, how to stop blaming people for your mishaps and choices, how to stop self-destructing. There’s no road map for any of that and damn, I wish there was.

I’m in my mid-20s with an idea of what I want, but no specific way to get there. I am not the only one in this position. Yet, there’s hope of a better future without the pain of my present mental and emotional circumstances. Do I really believe that I am beyond hope? beyond help? Do I honestly believe that I am not worth recovery? No, I don’t. I’m just paralyzed by fear. Fear of successful recovery, fear of my demons going away, fear that if I actually take control of my life I’ll have no more excuses, no one to blame if I screw up, or make a mistake or wrong choice.

Now, hard question: what next? Continue criticizing all the bad without appreciating the good? Sit here and do nothing for fear of taking a wrong step? Or take a step towards healing, towards recovery, towards owning the wrong choices and mistakes, and see where it goes?

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