The Depth of Hurt
Beneath and deep within is a black stone. A seed, or a pit, no bigger than a pit maybe, but burning like a piece of coal. Once ignited, like coal, it cannot be put out. It continues to burn. It is possible to grow some kind of hard shell to contain it. It’s affect on the host organism can be insulated. It cannot be cut out though – only insulated through much effort, discipline and total commitment.
The host can move forward, but retreat is never an option. Reflection is to be avoided at nearly all cost. I find that I don’t envy those who can have walls covered with photographs of their past years and those others they shared those years with. Knowing that I cannot do that without more pain than I know I can tolerate, I don’t have anything to remind me of my past.
It is possible to live without a limb – an arm, leg. You can live without eyesight or hearing. Even if these conditions happen later in life due to accidents, the spirit can revive and overcome. There are things that can happen that can be more devastation than any of those other conditions. How is it possible, you say, to have anything more horrible happen than – say – loosing your eyesight? Loosing a child to cancer. Loosing a child to suicide. Loosing any loved one to suicide.
There are many things that can hurt worse than a physical injury – no matter how devastating at the time. It is far more devastating to loose contact with the mortal and normal world from the standpoint of a mental illness. Often because in the beginning, the symptoms for unnoticed and therefore uncontrolled until the person’s life is ruined. Marriage lost. Job lost. Family lost. Sanity lost. And the person affected can’t figure it out, doesn’t understand, is left isolated and socially condemned.
Often, finding on this condemnation so complete the mentally ill cannot find the road back. They become so lost even a path with blazes on every tree goes unnoticed. And because it is their mind that is ruined, as opposed to a limb or a sense, and is therefore not obvious, empathy is nearly impossible by those surrounding them. Only sympathy is possible and then it is often begrudgingly given. Noting that sympathy, a more accurate synonym would be pity, is one of the most destructive emotions, or forces, that can be inflicted by one person on another – no matter how well meant.
Sympathy states simply, “I am superior to you and feel sorry for you. I will help out of, or from, my superior position.” Whether a person is disabled physically or even mentally, they recognize this as being not only duplicitous, but degrading. They might be nice about it, even appreciate it on the surface, but honestly inside they are saying, “Fuck You! ” And, “Either help me because I need it and you want to, or leave me the fuck alone. I don’t need your pity.”
The hurt can be so deep, so encrusted with time pushing backwards that at times it seems even possible it is gone.
Then it isn’t, the host – the person surrounding the hurt – feels it again. It’s there. The deep knowledge that it is always there, returns. So, what then …
The Aboriginals say, “Always face the sun, then you will never fear the shadows.” Maybe that’s an answer.