childhood full of existential dread, or something

CW: alcoholism, death, suicidal thoughts

Edit: just want to add this addendum that I am feeling ok in my life now, and am quite happy at times. The state of the world and society is easy to drown in, but I am doing my best to educate myself and teach my kids. I just wanted to share about my journey of repressing my emotions, and how it is okay to feel. If you are in the depths of any of these feelings, I encourage you to seek counseling if that is an available option to you.

I can’t personally say that the term “empath” has resonated with me. The only thing I know is that for as long as I can remember, existing in the world was painful.

I remember me, a young Moth, unable to reconcile the feelings of anxiety and dread I felt. Shame and guilt were present a lot as well, which led to me thinking the tiniest mistakes were catastrophic. At a young age, I didn’t think I could survive a whole lifetime like that.

There were small respites, of course. I was a kid after all. Things like playing sports and making crafts gave me little slivers of peace. But no matter what, the world seemed a place full of shadows and unknowns. I’ve carried this feeling with me my whole life.

I know part of the problem was related to the lack of genuine connection. It seemed like I was living behind a glass wall, and I just couldn’t reach the people on the other side. It grew easier to pretend as I got older. Don’t underestimate a preteen girls’ desire to fit in.

As I have shared in the past, I turned to alcohol to cope with trying to survive in the materialistic world, filling my life with mostly shallow connections. By that point I had turned into a morphed version of myself, wearing the masks I thought I needed for that human connection in the first place.

The years of blacking out dampened my soul. It made me feel less than human. It helped tie me to this capitalistic society and took away the mystery, the magic. It was like tying a blindfold around my heart, choking my intuition. It was hopelessness disguised as human connection. Drinking propped my ego up on a pedestal, as it fed my soul lie after lie. ..until finally the priestess within me went to sleep.

It was at that point that it was evident that I would die if I didn’t stop. And still I didn’t for a long time. I remembered that feeling as a kid, the never ending dread that I had been dealing with for almost 20 years at that point — and I got to the point where I didn’t want to survive. I came to terms with the idea that I wouldn’t make it past 30; I reached a point where I had nothing to offer anyone else.

A number of things helped my soul rouse from her self-induced sleep — and it was long before she felt safe to emerge in the world again. Sobriety doesn’t mean instantly feeling comfortable in your skin. I will be celebrating 5 years in December, and I still have time-halting moments where I have to take stock of where I am.

The dread doesn’t bother me as much now, although it manifests emotionally and physically. The emotional and physical pain, from years of repressing my emotions with alcohol, reminds me I chose life. It reminds me that, if nothing else, I am raising little humans and that is enough.

I find my little respites, like I used to. They are more frequent and endure longer. My spirituality holds me, and gives me the lens with which I’m able to process these thoughts.

These moments I take this as a sign from Mother Mary that I am on the right path. After a good cup of tea, an illuminating journal session, an evening spent crafting, a Saturday spent with my family, a journey to a world within a book, a meditation or rosary prayer; all of these experiences remind me that life is ridiculous. We have to find our joy, and the impermanence of things is what make them so beautiful. Life is absurd, and at the end of the day, you can just try to leave the world a bit better than how you found it.

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