Last night I woke up from a nightmare that I’d had a mental breakdown. Worse than anything I’ve ever personally experienced. So trapped and scared and quite literally insane. I could see myself behaving completely irrationally and couldn’t stop myself. It felt like my head was on fire and filled with cement. I woke feeling that fire and cement and trying to figure out where I was and what was real.

Two nights prior to that I had a half-version of that in real life. It was sudden, irrational depression. I wanted to die it hurt so much, and then when I didn’t choose death, I went numb.

Survival.

Tonight my 5-year-old asked me to stay with her while she fell asleep. I climbed in her top bunk and laid next to her precious little body, holding her tightly. She unknowingly constantly presents me with an emotional mirror.

Then, I was flooded with guilt.

How could I leave this? How did I even let myself think those things? How did I get to that space so fast with no awareness that I would affect other people? Or that they wouldn’t care?

In the midst of the gigantic leap into depression I took, I attempted to reach out to my therapist. And that unraveled me more when little-me was fearing for her life, and it became clear no one was coming.

Survival was to decide I’d need to start helping myself, and I (tried to) began a 24-hour shutdown of recovery. I tried to tell myself I didn’t need my wolf pack. If I could survive Saturday night on my own, then, fuck everyone else. I don’t need them anyway. But the more I did that, the worse I felt, and the more depressed I got and the more the eating disorder part in me started screaming I GOT THIS, JUST STOP EATING AND YOU’LL FEEL ALL BETTER!

I felt hurt and lost and well, mostly hurt.

Mixed with guilt and shame and anger.

Having grace and compassion for all parts of me over the weekend and into today that are wanting to show up and have their emotions be heard is challenging.

If you’re wondering–my pack didn’t leave me even though I tried to leave them.

I didn’t want to confront the Mount Everest hurt I felt, shattering little-me’s version of what therapy is. I didn’t feel protected. I felt like I needed to be protected. And I felt devastated that I couldn’t find it anywhere–outside or inside myself.

So I just decided to quit.

First quit life. But I couldn’t find a satisfying out fast enough.

So I proceeded to quitting getting help. No more help. No more therapy. No more team.

No more wolf pack.

I canceled but went to therapy anyway, with the intention of returning things I’d borrowed, and retrieving the blanket, bunny, and book that stay in my therapists office closet.

I don’t know how I didn’t burst into tears the moment my therapist let tears flow, but I didn’t. I felt so far away still. So cold, so protective.

The more we both shared our experience of Saturday to the present moment, though, the more the protectors released their icy grip. And eventually the hurt filled little-me cried out all the emotions. Mutual crying inside the wolf pack is probably the most powerful healer. I don’t feel alone, or wrong, or needy. I feel valued and worthy and loved.

All of my healing is done through connection. All. of. it. And the more raw and real and deep that connection feels to me, the more willingness I feel to be whole, and free, and recovered.

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