The Illusion of Relief

The illusion of relief goes beyond "self-sabotage" or an internal voice of doubt - the illusion of relief goes deeper. The illusion of relief masks its harm as a justified solution. The illusion of relief sells itself as the only viable option. The illusion of relief looks like a safe harbor in the midst of a storm. The illusion of relief feels like the answer. The illusion of relief feels like relief. But the illusion of relief is not relief. The illusion of relief is just an illusion.

Yet the illusion of relief has me sitting here, typing all this out, and still considering how eating a pizza and a box of cookies in a single sitting would probably be OK because I'm hungry, it's Sunday, and at least cookies aren't liquor. Even having a logical handle on the situation, and knowing that the outcome of taking such action has only ever resulted in rapidly compounding levels of guilt and shame, the twisted aspect of all this is that the illusion of relief still seems like it's worth a try.

The True Burden of Self

A week ago it dawned on me: some clarity around the egomaniac with an inferiority complex dilemma that so many of us share in. There's a voice in my head, looking at me, judging me, critiquing my every action. Rarely does it scream - it exists as an ambient hum, always present yet rarely noticeable. It's in many of our heads, that very same voice. The realization that it exists is nothing new, but last week's insight had never been as point-blank as it was in that moment: "You're the shit, you piece of shit." It gave me a laugh.

Once again faced with the same idea today, a new spin on it struck me. And it's a concept that altogether encompasses my deepest ongoing struggle - that being the challenge of truly showing myself the slightest bit of love. Several days this week I've stood in front of the mirror, early in the morning, looking at myself - dissatisfied with the person who was looking back at me. Standing there, I've been talking to myself, telling myself I care about that person. Looking into my own eyes, I've had to force those words. Each time I've stood there, I've been greeted with feelings of disdain, seeing that person who doesn't meet the ideal of what "I" want myself to be. It's easy to walk away from that sort of shame. To stop noticing. To stop caring. And that's what I've done in the past: I've ignored it, I've withdrawn, I've grown absent. And in a dissociative headspace there's no room for self love.

In that space the most difficult thing to do is to just stand there and feel why it's so hard to say, "I care about you," "I want what's best for you," or just "I love you." To look at that person with love as the ego notices only the flaws, and just to feel without turning away and retreating to food or drugs or alcohol to hide those feelings - that's hard. Hard, but not as harmful as continuing to detach and retreat. Continuing to turn away - to remain absent in my own life - that's the real burden.