I'm fine ......
How many times have you said 'I'm fine' or 'no probs, speak later' and tried to hold it together long enough till they're out of sight and you can then crumble? You can then let go of the hold you have on keeping that fragile exterior in one piece, waiting for them to go on their way so you can hide again? It's ridiculously common, especially for the broken and the damaged.
We don't mean to do it, we would love to let you in but all too often attempts at letting others in previously hasn't gone too well. Our monosyllabic existence is our easiest way to not engage with you. It's the safest way we have of not letting on the hurt that's welling up inside, the tears that are threatening to escape the edges of our eyes or cause our voice to wobble and give us away. Short words, said with a smile are our easiest weapons of choice. Because they are weapons, it's a battle for us, a battle of self survival. So you think we're rude, that's ok, it's better than you knowing how broken we are. Or is it? Which is the healthiest? I can't answer that, I can only explain the single word defence strategy of protection. Each word adds another layer, each smile battens down another hatch till after a little while we can meld into the background and you can't see us at all. That's the plan, that's the intention, hiding in plain sight becomes common place and second nature to the damaged souls that walk the earth.
We're everywhere and nowhere, we want you to see us but equally we're terrified of you seeing us. For me, I don't know where the layers stop, they've been built up so proficiently over such a long time that I am incredibly adept at heading you off at the pass before you even get close to realising. It's only when you look back you might think hmm not sure she is ok, but you have an appointment. And that's the thing, you have a life to lead, we have an existence to cling onto. You have tomorrow, we have to get through today first or even the next few hours. How can we inflict this on others? How can we begin to tell you that each day brings such insignificant things that to you are nothing, but to us are overwhelming. There is no frame of reference to begin to explain it, plus you're not medical and not equipped to be burdened by our cracks. Because that's what they are to me, cracks in reality but the truth is I don't always know what reality is anymore.
I also feel incredibly guilty each time I say 'sure, I'm fine' especially when I can see the hurt in kind eyes that know I'm lying but equally know that to push me will result in more hatches closing, more layers of protection being added. I feel incredibly guilty that you want to help, you want to listen but I don't know where to begin. It sounds so pathetic even in my own head, so how can I make you understand what I can't even understand myself?
I think that's the issue for me, part of me desperately wants to be supported but I'm terrified of the dependency that may create. What if you stop listening? What if you get bored of me being so broken? Then where will I be? So it's easier to muddle along, easier to fake the smile, easier to pretend. That way you won't think eek she's going to cry again, not sure I want that again. It creates a vicious circle where we are almost lying on a daily basis but truthfully not sure if it's for your benefit or mine, maybe both?
The other hard bit is that this odd mix of layers oddly makes me strangely fascinating, I'm not unaware of this and it isn't some strange woman of mystery act it's purely for protection. If I don't really like myself much why would you? I am incredibly grateful to the friends I have where I can be myself, I can say 'sorry, today has been a bit shit' and they just pass the pizza and ask what film shall we watch? They know well enough that I'll say in my own time, no questions, no judgement, just time.
In truth, that's probably all you can give - time. We give out clues but they are minute because we have to sneak them out through the cracks in reality. And that's the other thing, I don't live in a permanent Eeyore state but sadly when Eeyore gets a foothold I don't want you to feel it's your place to bring back the childlike Pooh Bear that is in me. And we're back to 'yes, I'm fine' and the cycle continues, but please know it's not done on purpose - I would love to talk to you openly but I don't know how to so just wait for me to come out of Eeyore's swamp please, just pop back now and then is all I can ask of you.