Monday, 3 November 2014

Another Meltdown

I have the occasional meltdown, a cathartic release of the fear and sadness trapped inside of me. They can be ugly, lots of tears. It's not surprising, given what I what I am going through. Even so, the actual events often take me by surprise, erupting from within the chamber of emotions held scarcely in check.

There's usually a trigger behind a meltdown, something that drives home my reality. Sometimes they are alcohol induced, me the drunkard crying in the night. Sometimes they start all on their own, something hitting my emotional release valve. Fairly often, in fact almost always, I can see the triggers and reasons in hindsight far more clearly than in the moment.

I had a meltdown last night, this one aided by a few glasses of wine and scotch. In some ways I wish I was strong enough to let the anguish go without using alcohol to free the taps. I've seen it in action, when I have "a moment or two" while completely sober. In these moments I quickly grab the handles of my emotions, shaking myself back to "normal". When I have a few drinks, I am far less able to grab those handles, too weak to shake my emotions back into line. Out they come.

The most common internal feeling when I have one of these ugly events is fear. I am afraid of what is happening to me, what it means to my days and weeks to come. I am afraid of being alone, having to face that fear, as the song says, "all by myself". This is a nasty ride I am on, my hands barely able to hold the reins and rails. To see myself die a little bit each day, to watch myself slowly disappear into the quicksand of ALS; this is truly frightening.

I am not strong enough to deal with this, nowhere near as strong as I pretend to be. Only a few people have seen me through these meltdowns. Only a few have heard me cry out, asking them not to leave me alone. Only a few have been there as the magma breaks out, overflowing the sides of my life's volcano. These meltdowns are not massive eruptions, nor a steady flow. They happen, I the prisoner of my own weakness and sorrow; they pass.

To those whom I trust with this, I ask forgiveness. It's a tough enough load for me, let alone you. Nobody signed on for this. To the men and women who have seen me through this and are still seeing me through this, I thank you, not just for being here but for keeping this trust. I don't feel lessened that you have seen the weakest me; I feel strengthened when your hands hold mine, safe in your care.

I wish I was a stronger man. Perhaps I could manage these emotions better. Perhaps I could let them out more easily. Perhaps I wouldn't meltdown. I'm not sure. Perhaps not.

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