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Heavy heart

November 17, 2009

I had a really good day today. Seriously. I felt on top of the world. Everything about it was good. And I’m at the point in my life where I no longer think one event can negate another. So, if something bad happens, it doesn’t negate any good that’s happened. But it still does get me down a little bit, when such a good day has a hard part to it. I still know it was a good day, and looking at it as a whole, I can simply know that “It was a fabulous day, with one hard part to it”. So that’s a good thing and I know that.

Something I think you should know about me is that I feel things very strongly. Basically, think of it as empathy to the extreme. And, I’m working on it, and it’s significantly better than it’s ever been–and it doesn’t happen all the time anymore (I might write a blog post about it at some point in the future). But the quick summary of it is that sometimes, when someone is having a hard time, or feeling hard emotions, I don’t just empathize for them–I literally am consumed with their pain, their sadness, their fear, etc. I’m learning to manage it, and like I said, it’s not a regular occurrence anymore–it usually now either happens a) when *I’m* already having a hard time or b) when it’s something really really really hard. This was the  case tonight.

My friend Shannon texted me earlier today. She and I have been friends for a long time and while we’re not incredibly close anymore, and don’t talk very often, when we need each other, we’re there. She’s needed me a lot over the past two years. About two years ago, she was assaulted by her cousin. The worst thing in the entire world that a person could do to someone, was done to her, by her cousin. And, when she told her parents, their response was “Shannon, how dare you make something up about your cousin. Don’t ever say that again”. She’s told countless family members, and none of them believe her. Or, those who do believe it, tell her to get over it, that everyone makes mistakes, that she should be over it and forgive him by now.

This makes me livid on a number of levels, mainly because I have quite the trauma history myself and it’s been hard enough dealing with it WITH people listening to me, supporting me, and believing me. I cannot imagine what this is like for her. She has not slept through the night since it happened, and for a while was incredibly sick because she couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, couldn’t function. It’s just awful. Anyway. Her text said “I know we haven’t talked in a while but I’m freaking out. My aunt called me today [his mom] and said that he’s coming to stay with me and my dad for a week in December”. This has happened on several occasions. Their families always put them in situations where they are left alone together. It happened about six months ago and nothing happened, thankfully, but just being so close to him and fearing that something could happen, and remembering what HAD happened was enough to put her over the edge.

So I called her and we talked it through, we talked about different ways she can cope, what she can do to feel in control, etc. Part of me feels guilty because she thanks me all the time for being there and says she doesn’t know what she’d do without me–but the OCD voice sometimes says “How DARE you even pretend to understand? Your situations are not even remotely the same. You don’t know what it’s like to have people not believe you. You’re selfish and awful.” But I can usually quiet that. But the other part of me just felt my heart sink. I felt everything she was feeling, thought everything she was feeling. I felt her despair, her frustration, her wanting to give up, her not understanding why this had to happen. My heart just feels heavy now. And it’ll pass–I don’t let anything consume me forever, anymore. But I also know that it’s important for me to either write about things or talk about them to someone (preferably both) or else it WILL consume me. So this is my way of acknowledging it and removing it from wrapping itself around my heart.


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