I received this last night from a fellow member of CoDA:
I hope you are feeling way better today than last night, it was visible, at least for me.(…) The other thing that I can’t get out of my head is your telling us about your humiliation, feeling that the world is watching you, waiting to see you fail at what everybody is expected to master : Life. – What is ‘succeeding at life’ ? How is it measured in the first place, and who is authorized to judge success or failure ?Let me tell you a little secret: Before the meeting started, I overheard a few women talking about you. Yes You. “Where is (Innerlight), is she coming ?” “I would miss her” “We all would” “She said she would probably take it easy, she is too busy with her private program” There you have it. Everybody likes you! Me included. THAT is the best proof that you have already succeeded at life ! What more can a person wish for, than being loved by many people? Please put that on your balance sheet, on the credit side. Judging from the few times I have heard you speak, I cannot say that I know you, but you have a lot going for yourself. The most obvious are your intelligence and charisma. How could you not succeed ?
First of all, I want you to know that it is extremely comforting for me to hear that people were talking about me before I came in. I can’t feel this or know this unless someone tells me. It’s also extremely comforting that my dis-comfort was visible to at least one person, and that there is a response, instead of disregarding or dismissing it as not serious. So thank you for taking the time to write.
I remember that you first wrote me about the program wanting to learn more about the condition of your partner at the time – more her than you. Without having met her, I think I am probably similar to her in many ways; and you may be looking for some insights and answers, as well as coming from a caring place. I appreciate what I hear as you wanting to understand something in me; also though, in my experience, the people I am most taken by / pissed off by / obsessed with are reflecting something about myself that I am desperate to understand … So, I am responding to that curiosity in you, hoping that my experience may shed some light on whatever that curiosity is in you. That’s the beauty of CoDA to me. So …
You ask how I could not succeed? Well, I ask myself that question a lot, and I am just as baffled as you are, and that’s what makes me feel humiliated and hopeless to the point of wanting to off myself.
You have managed to capture the essence of exactly the dis-ease in me. The disparity between external and internal realities. The fact that I am gifted in so many ways, AND that I also spend birthdays and holidays alone, have no family, career, home, job, etc. I have a community life, and I participate in things, but struggle for friends to do things with, that other people often take for granted, like go to concerts or on camping trips or Sunday brunch, etc.
All my life this has happened. Sometimes it seems I have no excuse for not succeeding and yet I keep getting stuck at this place.
If I was missing a limb, or more obviously mentally ill, it would be so much easier to forgive myself; but seem to have everything and not be able to make something of it after several crashes and re-starts, and therapy and self-help work?
As our fellow member George put it, I’m apparently fine because I ‘think’ about what is going on. And yet, I have to disagree with that statement. As I wrote earlier in my recovery, “I am alive during the operation of living.” Just because I can articulate it all doesn’t mean I am any safer or in any less pain than the person who can’t. In fact, I would almost rather be the person who is not aware of all this.
I am not crazy enough to belong in the psych ward; yet I am not sane enough to thrive in life and provide for myself. This is a very dark place. There is a part of me who is willing to die in order to communicate this pain and more-importantly, end it.
I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II, General Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Mixed Personality Disorder for this condition — the extraordinary contrast of realities in me and the paralyzation this creates. It is disabling. In these moments, I truly do feel disabled. It is not a nice feeling.
If I did manage to off myself, people would be baffled and bewildered and dismayed and probably blame me. The part of me that is hurting just wants to be heard, so desperately that it may kill me.
For the past month or so, I have been hearing a scream in my mind. There is a part of me that is screaming with this paralysis and humiliation I feel that has been gradually and steadily building up in my mind again. It is familiar.
What is not familiar is me talking about it with fellow people in recovery. I am noticing where my thoughts are going, and speaking them so that they are not a secret. That is something I have never done before. I am aware of the crisis line number here. And so, I give it over to my higher power to solve, and that is all I can do for this moment. One day at a time is all there ever is.
It’s been healing for me to write all this.
May it be of service in the Greatest way.
Be well, and let’s all take care of each other, everyone.