“And you are making incorrect assumptions about things that you just don’t understand!”
I was having a major disagreement with someone significant in my life, and I was taking it hard. It was incredibly personal. The issue at hand is near and dear to my heart, and we had been battling back and forth for hours. Everyone gets frustrated when someone close doesn’t see their point of view, but I was struggling deeply. Not because I believe everyone should support my opinions or the way I go about doing things, but for a different reason entirely.
Deep breath. Exhale. Okay.
In addition to my physical disability, I am challenged by a psychiatric one as well.
My psychiatric issues were diagnosed in my early 20’s. My current therapist would tell you that one of the things it means is that my emotions are extremely dis-regulated. That is, my emotional response to a situation seems much more intense than someone else might think the situation requires. Although I am working very hard to make it different, in the past I have been known to yell and scream, cry and rage when my emotions get more overwhelming than I can handle. And those reactions make some of my personal relationships very hard to maintain.
I have been in counseling for years and have learned many skills and strategies to keep my emotions at bay. Sometimes they work, and sometimes I am sunk. When I was having this disagreement a few days ago, the latter was sadly the case.
Because of some of the things I have been through, it’s hard for me to trust people, hard to let my guard down, and to share deep parts of myself. There have been many occasions when that has backfired, teaching me it was not safe to do so again. The more time went by, the thicker my walls got, until there were very few people in my life that I was really connected to. Eventually, my world got pretty small.
And then a few months ago, this friend came into my life and asked me to start to trust him. Knowing a few details about my background, he assured me that I could depend on him to be supportive. He told me that he wanted to be different than people in my past had been, and to show me that it was okay to trust. I believed him.
Random seemingly unrelated detail. I will connect the dots at the end, I promise. 🙂 As a wheelchair user, one of the things it has been difficult for me to do over the years is work out. Decades of eating whatever I pleased and general inactivity have taken their toll on my body and resulted in me being pretty significantly overweight. After a few months of doing intense, detailed research on how to do it right, I’ve decided that I am going to go on a juice fast starting later this week.
Given that I had opened up with this friend more than I usually do with people, the conflict we had sent me into a tailspin, and my emotions were in overdrive. He was saying things that terrified me. And that rocked my world. Had trusting him been a mistake? Was he going to hurt me like other people have? Was everything positive he had ever said to me a lie? Logic said no, but emotion took over. This disagreement left me devastated and I didn’t know what to do. Talking through the issues sometimes made it worse, proving only to refuel the fire. So I was stuck.
Then at one point he said, “You know, sometimes a disagreement is only a disagreement, and it doesn’t have to have any deeper meaning than that.”
Later in the afternoon, we went to Target. We had not completely resolved the issue, but I needed a break. I had some shopping to do and he needed to buy a birthday card. He is a pizza delivery guy, and he delivers pizza to a family who lives in a house on my street. The little girl who lives there draws him pictures and tells him that he is one of her favorite people because he delivers the pizza. She is about 8. He keeps her drawings in the glove box in his car.
This particular day happened to be her birthday, and he wanted to mark the occasion. So he spent several minutes picking out the perfect card, wrote her a message about how special she was, and enclosed a $5 bill. I was in the car with him when he dropped it off.
Oh. My. Goodness.
What kid on the planet gets a birthday card from her pizza delivery guy? It was one of the most spectacular gestures of raw human kindness that I have ever seen.
Yeah, he is still a good guy. And a disagreement, no matter how intense it was, does not change that fact. I realized in that moment that it is time for me to do my best to look at circumstances individually, and not to allow every emotional situation in my present to trigger my past.
I am starting a juice fast in a few days, to get rid of all the toxins in my body, and throwing out a few that clutter the rest of my life while I am at it. Hopefully, in the process, there will be a new beginning as well.
Because it is simply high time for me to lose the “weight”.