mental health word cloud, including words like trauma, grief, stigma, genetic, clinical, bipolar

Guest Post: You Were Always Kind To Me

My first guest post for Mental Health Awareness Month comes from @DomSigns. It’s a beautifully written and moving piece.

You Were Always Kind To Me

You were always kind to me, even when the damage done to you raged like wildfire through your mind. Even when the cruel and unmeant words pierced me to my core, I knew that somewhere in you was the kindness.
The core that sat separate from the unreasoned anger, that lost and hidden part of you. I felt so hopeless and helpless against the onslaught. I did the only thing I could and swallowed all of that anger and madness. Took it into myself and held it, held it in a deep and warm and loving embrace, as if by doing that I could show that part of you that was locked away that I was the safe harbor.
Then the storm subsided and the true place in you could peek out safely again and you could see I was still there. And I rejoiced to see that again. That I could see the smile that touched your lips reflected at last again in those pale blue eyes. I thought that I had been the rock that was needed and that my endurance had been enough. But the overpowering rage and misperceptions of the world around you had not been vanquished, only slumbered, restless, like some dark beast and when the world pressed just a bit too hard that beast stirred and snapped its cruel teeth to bite and tear at whatever had disturbed its uneasy rest. So I settled in to wait it out, to make a place that kept the beast in check, to hope that someday it would vanish as it had come or at least subside, growing weaker as the years passed by.

That is when I truly failed, when I lost what my purpose was.
Against the raging tide I found I could stand and battle and by sheer force of will and determination I could, if not win, persevere. But as a watchman I failed and grew complacent that the beast was tamed and I was no longer needed to hold fast. I started hoping that we could go on as if the intervening years were but a bad dream, a detour from our course.
I forgot that as hard as it was for me to deal with the beast from outside, that the real injury was done to you, within you, and that for you the battle might never be done.
That the battle itself had done as much to shake the foundations of your soul in ways that I can’t even begin to understand. So I grew tired of this new version of our lives. The version that had me tread ever so carefully around everything, never knowing what might add fuel to the smoldering fire. This was a battle I did not know how to fight. I felt lost and alone, with no one to hold me when the fear came, and all the while I imagined the tick of each passing second. Some slow and ponderous, promising me that each following second would take longer than the one before. So slow that time itself seemed to have acquired weight, and mass. Others racing by, carrying the years of my life so quickly that they seemed to be weightless and unheeding of my desperation. That is when I surrendered. When I stopped asking what was needed of me and started asking what I needed. Now I am unsure of what I am. I was a hero, or at least as much of one as I could ever be. Now, am I a villain?  A paladin sullied, and shorn of what was right, and good and honorable?

How can I know?

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