Denial is a hell of a drug…
When I was a itty bitty little Alise, I had one unshakeable belief. God? Nah. Santa and ‘nem? Nah, B. Tooth Fairy? Lil’ bit. I truly believed in my tiny mental mind that if I closed my eyes real, real tight that no one could see me. This little untruth was very beneficial to a socially awkward, abused, and sensitive child. I could find solace in darkness and anonymity. For what it’s worth, as strange and false as it was, it got me through a lot of painful and embarrassing moments.
It followed me into teenage years and young adulthood. Can’t tell you how many performances, presentations, and first meetings putting weather stripping on my soul’s windows got me through. Lawd, that was so corny. I am at times self-aware. Go figure.
I was wondering aloud, because I talk to myself, (my mother always says talking to yourself is sometimes the only way you can have an intelligent conversation… she is a gem) where this childhood revelation would take this post. I really just emotionally vomited that first paragraph. Why did this memory just Deebo its way all up into my conscious?
Queen of Denial
In a time of major financial turmoil I would actually NOT open bills, because if I couldn’t see it, it didn’t exist. Amazing how the things we believed in as a child wholeheartedly can turn out to be metaphors for our lives. At least mine anyway.
I would live a lie until the wheels fell off to avoid the reality of a situation. Prime example, is when I was at the height of my struggle with bipolar disorder on the tail end of the manic episode from Hades. I was in denial that my life was falling apart and I let the shame attached to my situation take over. I had lost my job, was facing a looming eviction, and down to about $50. In fact, up until 3 days before being evicted, I was having house guests over and putting on a happy face. As long as I didn’t accept the fact that my life was in all manner of shambles, I was just fine. Until I wasn’t. 3 days later I was in a psychiatric ward following a suicide attempt. Shit got real.
The thing about denial is that it starts off small. Usually a situation at that stage is pretty manageable. At some point it reaches a point of no return. It never ends well. When you put on those blinders you will never ask for help. You have convinced yourself that you don’t need it because everything’s just fine.
One major thing I focused on in therapy is teaching myself to honestly assess situations when things may not be going the best. Learning that messing up is inevitable and that you aren’t a bad person because of it was one of the best lessons I have learned along my journey. It’s no small feat shaking off feelings of shame that tend to surround our mistakes, but it isn’t impossible. Getting into a habit of caring for yourself and self inventory is invaluable. Therapy is the best safe space to make that thinking shift.
You’re worth it.