Progress is a fickle thing. With each arduous step forward, I find myself slipping backward. I thought to compare myself to Sisyphus, tasked with apparent forward progress just to watch his efforts slide back down the hill and have to start again and again. But Sisyphus was cunning and unapologetic. He was prideful. I am not.
In fact, with all the progress I display, whether it's casual optimism like, "Yeah, things are going great," or simply silently suffering through my fear and feelings of worthlessness, there is no better. There is no ending. Perhaps there is no progress at all.
I know I am approaching danger when I start to hide, figuratively speaking. I stopped writing in September. I moved away from the more raw, honest work to a half-optimistic, half-bullshit attempt at hope, at "healed." The truth, of course, is that although it can get better for a time, it can also get worse for a time. It is a constant internal struggle between accepting me as I am and striving to be better than I am.
It is a constant effort to navigate my life at an even keel, cautiously optimistic about any "progress" yet fully expecting the storms. And the storms come. I got to a strong place where I weathered the storms on the deck, sails and steering managed, knowing that if I wanted better, I had to go after it. I had to fight. Though I make it though each storm now, I find myself retreating below deck, pulling the covers over my head, hiding, hoping it will pass. I spend much of my time in a room with curtains because I'm anxious again of what is "out there." I'm not terrified, I can leave the house, but I'm glad I can see out and no one can see in. It's progress, I suppose, but I still take steps back. Frequently.
I am fearful again of sharing where I am at. What once felt so therapeutic, so honest and freeing, seems risky. I have something to lose again because, though I struggle, I have come so far. I have new people in my life who know nothing of my spectacular fall from someplace better. I am doing everything that I can to move in a direction of peace and love. Acknowledging the darkness that sits so uncomfortably inside me makes me feel like a fraud. How can the two exist together? They do. Perhaps that is the nature of my affliction and why I can't find balance. Perhaps that's why there will always be a hidden, internal conflict, and progress will always be a struggle between will and nature.
But, as a wise friend shared with me, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." -Maya Angelou So, I will tell me story again.