It started innocently enough. I had referenced a funny photo while chatting with a friend of mine and went looking for it. As I scrolled through my phone searching for the photo, I started to see a pictures of a part of my life that brings back a lot of memories – some good, some bad. I was immediately detoured from my original mission.
As I scrolled, I remembered and remembering hurts.
The loves I had loved and lost. The friends who were there and are now gone. The vodka infused adventures when I had to turn down invites nightly because I had so many people surrounding me and wanting me to come out and party. Family get togethers and times of great joy. My many different hairstyles and wardrobe changes. It’s like a rollercoaster ride when I open my photo albums. There’s so much to remember and see. Unfortunately there’s also a lot to grieve and hurt my feelings with too.
What usually ends up getting me are the times I’d rather forget. I can see a photo and instantly be taken back to that moment in time. I’ll sit and stare at the photo and it’s like a flashback to that time. I remember how I felt, what happened or maybe just the ramifications after the fact. Regardless, my brain starts going toward the negative and suddenly the phone scroll becomes a torture mechanism. I could close the phone at any second and walk away…but I dont. I just keep hurting myself. I call this emotional cutting because I’m very aware of the pain I’m causing myself but I just keep scrolling.
I’m sad but I can’t cry
I’m sad but I can’t seem to cry. It’s frustrating. Maybe I’ve run out of tears. This is a fear I have sometimes that I’ll just stop being able to emote. I’ve cried so many tears in the past that I’m just gonna dry up and run out. Maybe i’ve cried out all the tears I’ve been allotted.
In the past, when I felt like this, I would go to the store and buy a big ol tub of ice cream and a couple bottles of wine. Go home, open the wine, forget about the ice cream and be a puddle on the floor of my bedroom in no time. Probably sending out texts to people I shouldn’t be, trying to get consoled by others who were tired of my shit and trying to get new people to like me on dating apps.
Now when I’m sad and I can’t cry, I just have to acknowledge it. I can’t force the tears out anymore by using substances. I just have to sit with it. It sucks, but it’s better than the alternative.
I tend to get this way when I’m already in a vulnerable state mentally. If I’m going through a lot then I’m particularly susceptible to this emotional cutting that I do by scrolling through old memories. I guess it just gives me more shit to feel bad about. When I’m down, I like to make sure I’m all the way down I suppose. There’s no “just a little bit down” it’s an ALL THE WAY DOWN or nothing at all.
So here I am, on a Friday night, scrolling through a photo album of memories beating myself up. So I finally closed the album and picked up my computer to write about it. The next thing I’ll do is go take a bath and remove myself from the situation entirely. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll go to bed early and start fresh tomorrow.
That might seem lame, but this is major progress from a few years ago when I would’ve let this night spiral into something much worse. Old me would get drunk and amplify everything. I’d probably text the people in the photos – old friends, old lovers, people i swore I’d never talk to again – because I loved to wreak total havoc. When I was hurting I wanted other people to either hurt too or to make me feel better. I was 1000% selfish and didn’t give a shit who I hurt…..until the next day. When I sobered up I felt 1000% worse. That’s when long cycles of self destruction and binge drinking would begin. The only thing that would bring me out were things that scared the daylights outta me. Then I’d stop for a bit…but I’d be back.
Tonight though, even thought I can’t cry and want to, I’ll take the higher road. I’ll stop beating myself up and emotionally cutting. I’ll exercise my self care routine and if that doesn’t work, I’ll go to sleep and wake up in the morning when I’m certain I’ll feel different and maybe even forget about these feelings I’m feeling so intensely right this moment. Tomorrow, tonight’s feelings won’t matter.
That’s how I try to live my life now. No matter what i’m going through in the present, tomorrow is a new day. I look forward to waking up. It’s another opportunity to make something of this life. For that, I’m grateful.