I’m trying to become more and more aware of what triggers (if anything) the free-falling into despair for me. Part of DBT is the ability to observe, name and describe emotions- but more than that to be aware of those things that spark us into our life traps (in the schema way of thinking). Disappointment is one of those triggers for me… I think I’ve always been slightly aware of this, but in the past few weeks since being discharged from hospital, I have observed the acute onset of pain that descends upon me when I perceive or experience disappointment.
In some ways I can recognise that it was a major disappointment that sparked my initial crash in the summer of last year. I had travelled to Southern Africa and expected a longer-term opportunity to open up for me to stay there… it didn’t. I could accept that reality- however, I wasn’t prepared for the way it shook the very ground on which I was standing. It felt like every dream I’d ever had disintegrated… my future ceased to be… my meaning pointless. Hyperbole? Melodramatic? Actually, not to me… very real, overwhelming and crushing pain. I still remember it vividly.
Since leaving hospital I am riding on the wave of disappointment, moments of hope only to be pulled back under the water when the wave settles. I was looking into beginning a course of study- all the places were taken… again no big deal, possibly it isn’t the right timing- but in my mind the course represented a possible new beginning- something to focus on- a reason to get out of the house- new people to meet- possible new career move. And for some reason I find the disappointment of that not working out very hard to manage… to stay standing on the surfboard…
Today, I had a meeting, where I was placing some hope into financial help that would enable me to stay off work for a while. The help looks unlikely to materialise- fair enough…. what is harder to stomach are the consequences… again the disappointment of a glimmer of light being snuffed out. Tough.
So why do I say all this? Because, I recognise in this moment that life has been in many ways one long disappointment and God seems to bearing the brunt of that for me at the moment. I feel physical pain when I consider my brother- and the way I perceive that God has not answered my prayers… I can’t bear the pain of disappointment at broken relationships and being surrounded by broken people where God seems to have remained silent. Were my expectations of God too high? I don’t think so… but I can’t square up the tension at this point in life… I just hope that I don’t stay under the water for too long. It hurts.