Yesterday was two years.
I feel the way I imagine a hiker lost in the woods does. You follow a direction, you're making good time, you might even be enjoying the fresh air and the world around you. You're scared, but you're pretty sure you're figuring it out. And then you see the tree you marked a few days ago and you're plunged right back into despair and terror.
I think, anyway. I've never been lost in the forest. But I've definitely been here before.
My natural response is to batten the hatches and hide. To curl up and hang on until taking a shower or grocery shopping or having a normal conversation with other people doesn't paralyze me with anxiety and the utter apathy lets up a little.
I've been told I'm strong.
I fake it, a lot. I feel it, every now and then. Mostly I'm just holding on by the skin of my teeth and I truly don't understand how everyone around me doesn't see it.
For me, being strong is action. It is taking the bull by the horns and wrestling it whichever way I want it to go. Strength is getting things done. It isn't crying every time the wind blows. It isn't hiding and staring at the walls and waiting for the storm to pass. But times like these, I just can't. It is all I can do to keep breathing, keep praying for light, keep my brain from going over all the mistakes I've made and will make again.
It isn't any easier yet.
I bounce back a little faster maybe. I know there will come a time of reprieve, when I will feel stronger, have more hope. Be able to pat myself on the back now and then.
I wish I had the strength to get back up right away. To trust in peace and security and all the things I know to be right in my little world.
See that's the thing that all the inspirational stories don't tell you. You may win the war but you will not win every battle. They gloss over the parts where you feel so broken and pathetic and awful that you wake up wishing you didn't. So maybe there is some strength in admitting that. Acknowledging that you won't always want to fight on, to keep going. That you won't always be able to. That you may get knocked down and lie in the dust awhile. You may get grimy. No one, especially yourself, will want to look at you. You will hurt and hurt and hurt and day by day you will try a little bit more.
Until you see that damn tree again.