BUT IT’S WORTH THE PAIN
The process of letting go of older versions of myself has been one of the most difficult and painful passages in my soul’s journey through this material world.
Which is actually a powerful statement, as my life up the the initial stages of this metamorphosis had been wracked with emotional pain and spiritual agony. To the point that at times, each millimeter I crept took an act of will that would have made Nietzsche proud. My mantra of “Keep Going” was one of the few positive coping strategies I had.
Yet while the ongoing spiritual transformation has not been nearly as excruciating, as it involves healing rather than staying sick or regressing, it has been extremely challenging. And certainly not without suffering.
The initial shock of recognizing that I ha(d)ve Bipolar Disorder, and finally admitting I have two serious addictions, shamed me to the core and terrified me. For many moons I felt subhuman, isolated, and hopeless. My identity and ego had been tied to my academic success and being a “good person who had it all under control.” When my illnesses came into full bloom, that persona was no longer sustainable.
Even once I shed that false “perfect” self and embraced that I was sick, I “became” a new self. Drinking alcoholically and riding the highs of mania, I spent several years running wild, harming others, self-destructing, and wracking up serious consequences.
Finally, I hit rock bottom. Life had bludgeoned me so hard, and beaten me so far into the ground, that I had no will to go any further. THAT’S when I got serious about recovery and self-care, spinning yet another cocoon in which, finally, I could morph into my true self.
And over the last 10 years or so, I have made a great deal of progress, by the grace of my Higher Power, intensive therapy, a great support network, medication, and spiritual fitness. Yet it remains a journey, with still more evolution to undergo.
My current goal in therapy is “earned secured attachment.” It seems I tend to be Anxious Avoidant in my relationships with others. Meaning I don’t trust that people are reliable and am unconsciously waiting for them to do something to “prove me right,” so I can say fuck you and cut ties. I am experiencing significant growing pains as I strive towards that goal. Change. Is. Difficult.
And then there is the fact that there is comfort in the familiar. Applying new thinking and behavior requires courage and effort. Remaining the same old sick person? Advantages: it’s the path of least resistance; it’s grooved into my mind, heart, and soul; and I know it works. Until it doesn’t. And it ALWAYS eventually doesn’t.
Lastly, there is that sometimes intense siren call of temptation to cozy up with a self-destructive substance or behavior to blot out pain, sadness, or some other “bad” emotion I don’t want to feel.
Craggy, deadly shore-line be damned. When the enchanting voices of the Sirens begin summoning me, if I am not spiritually fit, I am powerless over their allure.
In those moments, I rely on prayer, reaching out to my accountability partners, spiritual readings, meetings, and the Higher Power of my understanding to prevent myself from embracing and reverting to the older version of myself.
Sometimes the most painful thing is to let go of an older version of self.
But it’s worth the pain.