up-side-down

There are times in your life where suddenly everything is up-side-down.  You think you have a handle on the world and are bopping along singing the latest pop hit when something comes at you sideways and smashes everything to hell, forcing you to redefine your life within these new parameters. 

Just a month or so again a friend of mine was driving home, thankfully without any of her three daughters, when a teenager ran a red light and totaled her car.  She said that the worst part of the accident was losing her glasses in the impact.  Being strapped to a board in a strangers driveway and unable to see anything but impressions of shapes, while lights flashed and people talked out of view sent her into a near panic.  She walked away with a body that aches and fear trembling in her heart, but alive and safe and able to wrap her arms around her family when she finally made it home.  The next day they went to the tow yard to pull some items from her car and the extent of the damage just about brought her to her knees.  The front end of the other car had smashed perfectly into the space defined by the car doors, pushing with tremendous force into the spot where her middle daughter would have been sitting. 

In those moments, it would be downright ridiculous if your world didn't change.  It is simply expected that everything should shift and people give you space to settle into this new look at the world, expecting you to be afraid or angry or for you to simply refuse to get behind the wheel of a car for a while.  Of course, we are also expected to simply get over it and pick up our lives in some undefined amount of time.  And for the most part, we do.

Sometimes though, the thing that sends you sideways isn't so obvious as the smashed in side of your car and the intense bruising left by an impact.  Sometimes you cannot even see it yourself; you just know that a month or two ago, everything was OK and now it is not.  Not at all.  You find yourself turning on the TV and escaping, even though you have a whole list of things that simply must be done.  Sometimes you find yourself crawling into bed in the middle of the day and shutting down, setting an alarm so you can pull yourself together before your family gets home and finds you like this.  Sometimes you discover the most horrendous thoughts floating into your head and you cannot explain how they came to be.  Sometimes nothing makes sense and you simply become trapped. 

Then, while chatting via IM with the one friend who knows you better than anyone on earth, you ask this question: "what do you see?"

And the answer?  The answer is shockingly accurate for someone who lives hundreds of miles away and only gets to talk on the phone with you for stolen moments every couple of days.  You realize that while the rest of the world can be fooled into thinking you're A-OK, some people will always see right through you.  You realize you best just push your frontal lobe over a smidgen, because some people will always be in your head, whether you like it or not, and might as well get comfortable. 

The really cool thing about that moment, though, is that once you accept that things are insane in your head, you can actually start getting better.  Now that someone else knows your secret, you can start taking action to make it better, since clearly you can't fool them all.  You can reach out and ask for help, even if you really hate to do so.  You can swallow the supplement and make the appointment and let those people who care know that you are broken.  Even if you don't know why. 

And that's OK.  It's not even as painful as you think it will be.  In fact, just those tiny things make it somehow better. 

Tiny steps from up-side-down to on your feet.  And dammit, I'm really looking forward to finding my feet again.