I’m having one of those mornings where this life business seems too difficult. Suicide seems like a good option, or maybe there is some way to “drop out.” Do people still do that? I think they don’t. I would like to drop out just now. Perhaps this could involve lying in bed eating chocolate and drinking actual, brewed coffee. Forever. Or for a couple of days anyway.

I was marking exams yesterday. It took me about 8 hours to mark 36 exams. I have 83 left. Plus some other stuff to do. I didn’t realize 2 days was the “last minute”—our holidays are ending now. The marking has to be finished. I had some idea that this year, it would all go a bit faster. It would be less triggering—I know it is triggering. Every child’s failure is my failure, and the terror of failure is immense. I thought it wouldn’t be triggering this year, and I could mark exams like a normal person.

It wasn’t faster. It was slower. It was slower because for a while I was processing all the emotions of it. I was feeling the rush when a kid did well, or at least had grasped multiplication. I was feeling the crush of disappointment when they hadn’t seemed to have learned anything at all. I was feeling all of it. That was a good sign.

I know as all of this goes on, I am integrating. The more I can keep up with processing the emotions of life, the more integrated I am becoming. I know this is where it’s at—keeping up. But when life is going along normally, when I have actual work to do, I see people and have a social life, then I can’t keep up for very long. I can keep up for maybe a morning. Maybe four hours. Then it all falls apart.

This is an improvement though. I didn’t used to be able to keep up with taking a shower.

The hard part is that when I do keep up, it’s still not easy. A lot of the time, it’s not even pleasant. I think that hadn’t registered before. I was just intent on doing it. My emotional reaction to doing it wasn’t getting processed. I still wasn’t able to manage all of it—only more of it.

I have an idea that the trauma of my childhood and the lack of nurturing at home impacted my neurocognitive development. I think I really did not learn to process emotions properly, and now I am both processing the trauma I experienced and learning how to process emotions generally. There are two burdens from it: the trauma itself, and this learning curve, and the learning curve is steeper because what I have to be able to process isn’t easy. I mean, when I feel the crush of disappointment over a kid’s mark, I am reminded of what happened to me as a child when I failed. I don’t get to just feel disappointed over the mark. I am learning to ski and there are no “bunny” slopes. And I get to do it every waking moment. It’s awful.

It’s maybe more awful because I keep telling myself these lies in order to motivate myself—like thinking I could mark my exams like a normal person, and not also feel terrified of being raped. I keep telling myself it will get easier. That it’s going to get a lot easier. Well, it does get easier, but “easier” still lies in the “soul-crushingly difficult” range. It’s not actually easy. And parts of me understand this. Parts of me know everything that needs to be grappled with, and feel that the experience of being fully alive is well worth it, even if it hurts a lot. Other parts of me are not so okay with it. Other parts of me wish for “easy” or imagine a past that never was, in which I didn’t have to try to grapple with everything. I just dissociated. And those parts long for that imaginary, easier past. So I lie to myself to keep myself working at it, then I start to catch onto myself. I start seeing they are lies.

The fact is I don’t know what being a “whole me” is going to feel like. It is not going to be wonderful—this has started to become stunningly clear. It might eventually be something I can take. One can hope for that much, anyway. One can hope.

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