//building up and tearing down

My insomnia is back. It comes and goes – once a year or so. That’s how long it takes for me to internalize the stress that doesn’t affect me on the surface. I like to think I handle stress well, but then insomnia rears its ugly head again and I realize I don’t actually handle it at all – I shove it all in an emotional closet somewhere until one day I open the door and everything comes tumbling out.

It’s not as though one huge thing happens and shoves me overboard – sometimes it’s that one tiny thought I tuck away, or that one thing someone says to me, or that one extra thing add to my To Do list, that provides the straw to break the camel’s back. This time around, I’ve realized the last straw was an approaching anniversary. A few weeks from now will mark a year since my heart was broken, my ability to trust was shattered, and my mindset drastically altered. This might sound very dramatic from the outside, but it was no small thing for me. It was the worst month of my life, marking the most intense year I’ve ever had.

It was a year of change and growth, a year I discovered more about who I am than ever before, and a year where I gained the most beautiful, incredible, true friends I’ve ever had. It taught me to be a much, much better person than I was before…

But it started by breaking down into small pieces, and the pieces rearranged themselves in a different order. The majority of the pieces fit back in better shapes, but some of those pieces were chipped and painful, and they didn’t fit.

My newfound anxiety – re-thinking everything I said, wondering if I could have said it differently or better, wondering if everyone who spoke to me was secretly saying one thing and thinking another, or maybe spreading things about me behind my back – didn’t fit.

My newfound inability to fully trust anyone – my belief that everyone was out to get me even though I knew that was ridiculous – didn’t fit.

But I think the biggest, most jagged piece was something that I didn’t actually realize until last night, when Arielle said something that gave me a ‘lightbulb moment.’ She knew what particular anniversary was approaching, and she asked if it had something to do with my insomnia. I told her I was certain it did, and she proceeded to tell me exactly what I hadn’t known I needed to hear.

I realized that it wasn’t my view of others that had changed so much as my view of self. When I wasn’t looking, I developed the belief that if someone wanted to treat me badly, that was fine, and I probably deserved it. That something about me brought out the worst in people, and that somewhere along the way, everything I wanted to be had turned inside out. Whether people confirmed this subconscious belief or not didn’t matter. They could pay me a genuine compliment and it would make my day – but it wouldn’t sink past my skin, because – well. I might love someone, but that doesn’t mean I trust them. I viewed every kindness with an unknowingly cynical bent, because I had stopped trusting that most people meant anything they said. I never stopped being honest with what I told people, but I had stopped extending them the courtesy of trust.

I didn’t realize the structure of the wall I’d built until last night. It’s a wall I’ve let very few people scale since last year. And I suppose the thing about seeing the walls you’ve built is that, once you know where they are, you can start the deliberate process of tearing them down. And sometimes, if you’re as lucky as I am, when you start, you realize some people have already been there, working on the deconstruction ahead of you.

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7 thoughts on “//building up and tearing down

  1. I hope this is not to critical.. don’t forget it is the opinion of a psychopath so take it with a grain of salt.

    You don’t have trust issues. You have image and security issues.

    Your breakup didn’t break your trust. It shattered the image you had of yourself.

    Your friends you’ve gained are not those that you can trust. They are those you trust not to threaten the image you are rebuilding in response to last year’s shattering. The insomnia is fear based. You are afraid of another shattering of image.

    The funny thing about trust is it only exists if your are “trusting” someone not to do what they are fully capable of. Anything else is control motivated by narcissism and a need to maintain self perceived image.

    So if you only trust certain people that’s not trust. That means you know what they will and will not do. It’s safe. It’s validating. It’s not existing at all.

    Your insomnia will never leave unless this is addressed. It will just take another form whenever the image you have of yourself becomes threatened. It will manifest itself in many defence mechanisms that will come to rule your personility. You will be nothing but behavior aimed at maintaining image and avoiding threats to that image, in whatever form they present themselves.

    This leads to a very limited and contrived existence.

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    1. This is a very interesting view, although not one I totally agree with. There’s a large element of belief and faith mixed in with trust- no matter how /well/ you know a person, that person is still a human being who might make an odd, irrational choice. Faith and belief come in when you /decide/ to trust someone, and some people make that easier than others. I disagree with your remark that ‘if you only trust certain people that’s not trust.’ But then, we approach things from two very different places and two very different mindsets. I think where we differ most is that all your observations leave out the reality of a soul, which I very firmly believe in. I believe we’re much more than just behaviors and images.

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      1. Well it can be disagreed with as opinion concerning your motivations but the definition of trust is statement. Not opinion. You can’t choose to disagree (take a critical thinking course to learn about fallacy. 2+2 = 4 no matter how much someone wants it to equate to 5).

        At most trusting certain people is trusting your own judgment of sizing up others potential behaviors.

        As for the soul, this limited existence denies the soul.

        The soul is free will. The soul is the ability to choose to grant significance and to deny certain realities allowing for others to come into existence.

        Defence mechanism is conditioned behavior. Ritualistic and void of sentient thought, based solely on avoidance of the negative.

        You are right about trust requiring faith and belief. Two words I hate. Belief equals “ideal that cannot be conditioned and exist at same time”.
        However in order for trust to exist you need to have faith the person won’t do it. Knowing they will not is neither faith nor belief. So in actuality you are aware of trust and are simply afraid to give it.

        I would also argue I am far more capable of realizing the “soul” as my thoughts are not limited or diluted by need for dopamine (emotions).

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  2. As someone who’s been through both a terrible breakup & a friendship destroyed in recent years, I can truly say, walls are so easy to build. I am grateful for the friends God has brought in my life since and the healing He as done…but I still catch myself pulling away when friends get “too close” or accepting rejection as just a part of who I am. I get insomnia and anxiety around those dreaded anniversaries and pain in places where I made memories. Thankful for the fact that healing is a process and love overcomes our deepest hurt in the end. His love and the love of His children. Love these words and your heart, dearie.

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  3. This exact thing has been on my mind the last few days.

    “…re-thinking everything I said, wondering if I could have said it differently or better, wondering if everyone who spoke to me was secretly saying one thing and thinking another, or maybe spreading things about me behind my back…” <– I've been dealing with the same thing. It's like you walk around with your guard up all the time that it comes naturally and you stop thinking about it and these feelings don't need words for them to make a difference – they're just there and you forget.

    Honestly, I'm jealous of your relationship with Arielle and Lauren because I don't have that. Maybe it's something I push away; maybe it's something I'm supposed to be without. I don't know. But I'm really glad you have them because I know it's difficult to get through something like this without someone by your side. And even though you might have difficulty in believing people, I hope you know that I genuinely am happy for you. I've always cheered you on and continue to do so. xoxoxo

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  4. Sorry to hear of your insomnia. I know how upsetting it can be. My late mom had it. She always believed it was because she worked nights as a youth and could never get used to sleeping at night.
    Marilyn

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