Most of the time I live in a self-contained bubble of distraction. I avoid my negative feelings by consuming a constant stream of media. But when I have to be around people I’m forced to face how I really feel, and I don’t know how to cope with it.
Emotional suffering is strange – I want to say that it hurts, but if you asked me what the pain was like, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. It’s hard to articulate what the distress consists of. I suppose a series of encounters triggers parts of my brain that I mostly try to suppress, and suddenly, I’m feeling those parts of myself in a way I normally try to numb. All of that longing, regret, loneliness & despair. They remind me that there is no hope, that whatever hope or meaning there was is long gone. That I’ve wasted my life, and there’s no way to get that time back, or even to avoid wasting whatever remains. That I am completely, utterly alone, and always will be.
I don’t break down and cry, though I imagine I may appear even sadder than normal. I don’t hurl myself into oncoming traffic or jump off a bridge – experiencing despair doesn’t totally compromise my judgement or make me impulsive. It just…hurts? The protective bubble that I try to keep inflated to shield me from the sadness is punctured, and for a while I have to face the full horror of myself. Still, in a few hours I imagine I’ll be returning to ‘normal’. The vividness of the feelings is already fading. It’ll go back to being a shadow at the back of my mind.