A Maudlin Career

I see the psychiatrist this week. I see her because I am flooded with thoughts that I’d be better off dead and my care coordinator doesn’t want me to drown in them

She talks with me about how the assessments ad infinitum have probably opened up old wounds. About why I am so sensitive to rejection, that the merest perceived hint of it on my part sends me spiralling into deep waters.

She says that I’ve spent my career trying to understand friendships and groups, and belonging, and I obviously have a good intellectual grasp of how it works. But, I tell her, I don’t understand how they work in real-life; I don’t get how they work emotionally. I can’t “connect” appropriately with others, somehow. She sees this is true. She says my head understands them, but not my heart.

And thinking about children’s friendships, day-in, day-out, is making me ill. That, or I don’t bother to do it, and feel rubbish for not working instead. Because I can’t detach emotionally from the work like I used to be able to do. The memories swim in my mind, and I’m seven, or eleven, or fourteen, all over again.

I’ve spent my whole career, since I was 21,  trying to understand. And sometimes I’m numb to the memories, and sometimes the pain is red, and raw, and razor sharp. The psychiatrist leads me to wonder if my work is useful at all.  But there have been times when I’ve known that I’m in the right career for me. When I sense that this academic path is the one God wants me to tread. But the pain feels like it is too much. And it’s getting more intense, not better. My thoughts are frightening. And I don’t know why God wants this for me.

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