In Krav Maga, we talk about working with the flight or fight response, but my disabilities take it into hyperdrive. I always smile when my teachers say to flip the switch. Oh, they have no idea what happens when I lose control. Much like Bruce Banner, they wouldn’t like me when I meltdown. This is not a sensory overload meltdown but an actual emotional meltdown where I am pushed to the breaking point. I can felt my vision narrow as I actually disassociate from my body. Everything seems to be fuzzy and tinged with red, voices seem distorted and my pounding heart is the loudest thing I can hear. It’s this primal fear-soaked rage, an animal in a trap, trying to get free. It’s a terrifying state to be in because I don’t feel in control anymore.
I had my first meltdown in a very long while. No, I will not say why, as it’s not really pertinent to the story. It happened and I was left to endure a fear-filled and painful miasma. Friends who nobly tried to talk to me only made me feel cornered because I’m no longer a rational human being, I’m feral, I’m wounded and if I don’t get to a safe place where I can process, I will lash out. Still, I know they are precious links to my true self, so I’m grateful in a way to have them, even in the pain.
Finally, I get to sit down alone, and I’m able to breathe normally. I start crying, on the train as my anxiety sits down with me. Hello Darkness, my old friend.
I told you this would happen. It was only a matter of time.
I force myself to breathe.
I warned you. I tried to keep you safe and isolated where no one would hurt you. But you had to put yourself out there. You open your chest and give people your spirit and then you’re surprised when they smash it to the ground. Why can’t you learn?
Happily, I have my head down, no one can see me crying. I just have to get home.
You know you’re a mess, but still, you insist on pretending you’re normal. How many times must you burn your hands on the stove before you accept that you do not belong?
I try to tune it out by mumbling poetry, but when the voices are in your head, they are hard to ignore.
You think fighting me was a victory? I’m your only friend. I keep you safe from harm. It’s the people who give you false hope, they are your enemy. Now, they proved it to you. You know, you can just admit you’re wrong and stop trying to prevent me from sparing you from pain.
I give up on trying to answer back. I’m too exhausted. So I walk home in the cold, and the icy tears hurt my cheeks. “It’s fine,” I tell myself.
But I’m not fine.
As soon as I get home, I go to the shower, my body aching with the aftershock of the meltdown. The adrenaline that surged through my body is quite toxic and I feel like I’ve been tossed through a spin cycle. I miss the numbness of the previous week. At least that felt manageable. This is just overwhelming pain.
I fall to my knees and just sob as the hot water washes over me. I feel worthless, I feel ashamed and I feel defeated. I’m spiraling and my anxiety is winning.
You’re such a drama queen. You totally flipped your lid over nothing.
I know. I’m so deeply ashamed.
You humiliated yourself. Everyone was staring at you acting like an idiot.
I know. I am remembering the incident, it’s playing over and over in my mind.
You are so strange. Why are you surprised people hurt you? If you were worth their respect, you wouldn’t be crying like this over what happened.
I want to answer back but I have no words.
Accept it, you’re a doormat. You will be thrown out when you are no longer of use. Run away while you still can, before they hurt you more.
I reach into the mental toolbox that Krav Maga has given me, and I find nothing. I am truly well and defeated.
Maybe that’s all my training can give me, a sense of reality.
Sometimes, you hit rock bottom.
Sometimes, life is unfair and cruel.
Sometimes, your opponent is just bigger and stronger and kicks the stuffing out of you, no matter how hard you try.
In those times, you can only do the best you can with the cards you are dealt with, and try to survive to fight again tomorrow.
It’s a good lesson in dark times. Sometimes, reality just hurts and there’s nothing to be done. You lost.
So, lick your wounds and go to fight the next day.