The futility has been sneaking in over this past week. It has been building just outside of my conscious awareness. This is what futility does. It doesn’t want to be noticed. It reminds me of the frog in the water as it heats up. It doesn’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. Maybe that’s depressing, but isn’t that the point? That’s exactly what futility is. It is depression. It is hopelessness. It tells you that nothing is okay. And while it is a flashback, our parts have some incredible skills. They can take the most intense futility on your best day and give you a convincing story about why it is about this moment. They do it so well.
The futility makes it hard to move. It feels like I am walking through 4 feet of mucky, swampy yuck just to do the most basic tasks. But I don’t need to tell you what it feels like. You know exactly what it feels like. You know what it feels like to be paralyzed. And that’s why we have to move. We have to move just enough to hear its message. We have to write down the real story about what it felt like to be trapped in a world of nasty, abusive people. We have to hear out the parts who think they are obligated to uphold the “contracts” with abusive people from childhood. But to start, it helps to hear what it sounds like now. What is the flashback being translated to right now? Here are some examples of what I am hearing.
“I’m never going to get better.” Just when I start feeling better, something happens to remind me that I’m not. There’s a dysfunctional behavior or an intense emotion I can’t stop from impacting my life. The very cyclical nature of recovery makes this inevitable. You feel better and then you feel worse. And every time you start to feel worse, the futility will come with it to tell you it will never get better. What a perfectly orchestrated train wreck! Thank you, universe. You are so clever. Now I have to take twice as long to work through how I feel because there is a layer of “why bother” on top of it. Sometimes I have conversations with the universe when I feel this way. I say they asked too much of me. I say this just isn’t possible. The obstacle course is not possible for a human being. And I’m not going to play the game anymore. Giving up seems like a much better idea. But what if the goal is not some perfectly healed person? What if there is no finish line to emotional development? I don’t know.
“It’s never going to get easier.” Living life as an adult is really hard. But living life as an adult with depression feels impossible. I am trying to figure out how to get the basics done. That long list of tasks like car inspections and census responses just makes it all seem totally pointless. And then add in a few massive crises in the world around me. Why am I trying? My controller has this completely distorted view that one day, all the things will be done. So when that never happens, they bitch and moan about how my futility is the cause of it. If I just pretended my past never happened, I would be able to get all the things done. But guess what! I tried that! I tried that for years and the stuff didn’t get done. Why? The stuff is never EVER going to get done. That’s the point. But the futility loves to tell me that means there is no point. I should just give up because the stuff will never get done. But what if the stuff is never supposed to get done? What if that isn’t the point of life in the first place? I don’t know.
“There’s no place for me here.” When it feels like I am an imposter, it can be so difficult to live in the world without wanting to give up. It is so convincing too. It helps that I talk to people all day long who are fighting this same fight. But some days, it can feel like the zombie apocalypse where 0.0005% of the population is awake. And maybe it’s okay to have surface friendships. It doesn’t feel as bad as it used to. But I have parts who are screaming for authentic conversation, real deep discussions about the human experience. And so many people want to talk about their new car and the floors they just put in their living room. I don’t care. I know that’s mean. But I don’t. And most people run from what I am talking about. And I get why they do it. Emotional healing is the hardest thing on the planet. I hate it. It’s messy and it’s unfair and it sucks. But I can’t live in zombie land. And my futility says to give up on this place. But what if there are enough of us waking up? What if we can tip the scales if we don’t give up? I don’t know.
When we hear these stories start to repeat in our minds, it is time to wonder. We won’t always have the strength to wonder. But if we can let ourselves consider where these messages might be coming from and what might be underneath them, we can hear the real story. It’s not easy. Some days, it feels impossible. But it must be possible. It has to be.