My entire life I’ve carried an image in my head; an image that very much represents the picture I have chosen above. I have always called it “the abyss,” and it represents life and death, sanity and insanity. I remember becoming aware of it the first time when I was in 3rd grade. But, before I continue, I want to make it clear that this isn’t a cry for help, because I feel suicidal and it isn’t a cry for attention either. I am writing this, because I know that there are other “abyss walkers” and I want to let them know that they are not alone and that you can somewhat live with this. Lastly, I’d like to extend a slight warning – the material is brutally honest and may even be uncomfortable for some.
How does one end up at the abyss? I don’t know about others, but I was dragged there by years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse that started when I was about 4 and ended when I was about 18. The trauma I experienced, due to the long period of time it occurred, caused my fibromyalgia, because my brain has “dialed up” all sensory perceptions to super high, at all times, and therefore misfires, interpreting nerve signals as pain and making any type of stimuli, like loud voices/music and sounds, as well as heat, cold or emotional responses stronger, amplifying them and often making them almost unbearable. The inability to no longer “dial it down” but being incapable of registering stress and hence, the ability to walk away or avoid, makes life as if I am living with a giant antenna on my head; one that never sleeps, never stops and has turned me into a recluse, who finds any type of prolonged interaction with most people painful, frustrating, overwhelming and difficult. But the physical, emotional and mental pain are not necessarily the ongoing building blocks to form the abyss; no, what causes the abyss is the overwhelming feeling of not belonging here, on this planet.
When one feels as deeply as I do, nothing is easy. When one lacks the ability to let go and stop “looping,” life becomes an ongoing cycle of torment, trying to stop it, then succumbing to it and starting all over again. Years of therapy and studies in philosophy, psychology and religion helped me get better, but my brain chemistry is permanently altered and trying to change it is what is so incredibly daunting and leaves me feeling defeated and exhausted.
My relationships have been predominantly bad. Not all of them, but the vast majority of them. Fear of intimacy, severe anxiety about being abandoned and the constant doubts I have in myself have been relationship killers. Nothing, though, beats the fact that I send out a signal, a very powerful one I might add, that keeps attracting men who actually confirm my deepest fears. I attract superficial men, who criticize my exterior, sometimes vocally, sometimes in a subtle, passive way, and/or find me otherwise inadequate. I attract commitment phobes, who cannot commit, don’t know what they want and are quick to leave or cheat. I attract a lot of selfish, cruel, severely damaged and cold-hearted men, who cannot feel and usually numb with alcohol, computer games, work, porn and other ways that keep them from truly connecting; men who mercilessly lash out and strike when I speak up or attempt to explain my feelings. Men who judge me worse than I could ever judge myself or others. I attract my father and I attract my mother’s boyfriends, over and over and over and over. So the majority of my life I have felt alone, lonely and abandoned, especially in my relationships. And this dance, this dance of attracting people who cannot love me, then push me away and lash out at me, as well as attracting the same type of selfish, backstabbing and unpredictable people in the companies I often work for, this is what pushes me closer to the abyss.
Everything I do, no matter when, where and how, is near the abyss. I walk as close to the wall as I can, carefully setting one foot ahead of the next, until I get pushed. Then I start slipping. I claw my way to the top again, then slip some more, feeling overwhelmed and rendered powerless when the feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing and fear wash over me. The feelings are so strong that all I can think of is dying, because I am not sure how much longer I can hold on and how much longer I can be the tower of strength the majority of people in my life believe me to be. The absolute fear of potentially being alone forever, because I cannot attract anyone who feels as deeply as I do, leaves me feeling with despair. Was I supposed to have children? Was I supposed to be alone? Maybe I should devote my life to helping others; but isn’t that what I am doing and have been doing anyway? Why are people so shallow, ignorant and selfish? Why…
I know that it is all about loving myself. It’s been a challenge but I don’t stop trying and going for it. I know that I can change the frequency, even though I have failed so far in doing just that. I have, however, deleted any and all dating profiles. My exterior, which misleads people into thinking that I am a wild, crazy party animal who also numbs (I’ve never gotten into drugs or alcohol) cannot be overwritten by a sincere and honest profile that no one reads. My pictures, my looks are misleading, not just in the dating arena, but in all other areas, too. When you live in a society that puts almost all stock in appearances only (the essence of California), it makes it hard for me and all of those who refuse to look mainstream to be “seen.” Why haven’t I simply “conformed” and blended in? Because this look started when I had no identity and had to protect myself from other predators, back when I was a teenager. Asking me to change my look is the same as asking a person with dark skin to be more white.
The abyss is a part of me. I have managed to stay more on the inside by the wall, and less by the edge that would make me fall. It has taught me to avoid severe danger of slipping, by not abusing substances or becoming addicted. The abyss also reminds me how far I have come and teaches me to not be selfish and exercise compassion. For were it not for said lack of selfishness and compassion, I would have jumped a long time ago, instead of keep on balancing, carefully, one foot in front of the other.
I sadly feel incredibly unloved, unwanted and misunderstood. But as a friend of mine just told me “just because you feel that way doesn’t make it so!” I know this, why else would I still be here to talk about it? I ask but one thing of people “don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t assume by looks and appearances and remember that your actions and especially your words can make or break another; especially an abyss walker.”