The Peace of No Peace

Today I’m really feeling the strain of the last few weeks/months. I keep coming back to practicing mindfulness, but my mind won’t settle on what I’m doing at the moment. Thoughts and emotions arise, dark and powerful, and I feel like I’m trying to keep my head above water in the presence of a powerful undertow.

I can’t trust my emotions. I feel like I’m losing control, yet Bryan says that I’m doing great today. The child is really testing, pushing all the buttons, to the point where Bryan is losing his temper. (And if you know Bryan, you know that it takes a great deal to really piss him off. A great deal.) I’ve lost count of the number of time-outs she’s had today: throwing things at the dog, lying to us, screaming for a cookie, smearing shit all over her bed. I broke down crying in the shower. I’m trying so very hard not to yell at her or hit her—and so far I haven’t—but the emotions are so overwhelming that I have to find a way to soothe them but I don’t know how to, appropriately that is.

See, if I had some pot, I’d smoke a joint, take a deep breath and carry on. But I don’t. I won’t let myself hide in my room and cut myself or hurt myself—the presence of blood would help soothe the emotions but I won’t do that. I could eat until I feel sick, but I don’t want to let myself do that either. So here I am, writing about it, hoping somehow that these words will help me find my way back to sanity somehow.

I don’t know what’s true anymore, not that I ever really did. My emotions are so far out of whack I find myself questioning every feeling I’ve ever had: did I truly love this person or that person or were they just a warm safe place to hide? What do I really enjoy doing? I don’t know. I would say I like to read, but when I look objectively at it, reading is an escape from my reality. Besides, I haven’t been able to concentrate enough to really read anything substantial for a long time.

Beneath the crazy emotions there is—nothing. Just nothing. An empty space wanting to be filled. There is no firm sense of self to let go of, just a hazy shifting emptiness that clings to whatever is nearest and aches to know itself.

I turn from that and feel deeply overwhelmed by the minutiae of everyday living. Get the child ready for school, provide treats for her class halloween party, what do I make for dinner, pay the bills, clean the house, do the laundry—I feel crushed and lost and helpless and I long to escape, to make this feeling stop, to find some peace. Where is the peace in no peace?