Is it possible to fix what’s broken?
People consider the question, shrug, and say, “Sure.” For one, there’s always glue. When I was little that meant milky Elmer’s Glue. Now I use contact cement. Great stuff.
Too, there’s always duct tape. I especially like that it comes in colors these days, unlike when I was a kid.
Sometimes the hardware comes out. Nails. Screws. Nuts. Bolts. All that kind of stuff.
But what if we were talking about people?
How I’d have answered for most of my life compared to how I’d answer now is its own answer to the question.
For most of my life I was broken, someone huddled against a nuclear winter that included abuse, nonexistent self-esteem, unrelenting inner demons, and it all wrapped in depressive duct tape and a mocking ribbon.
I’ve talked about that struggle before, but the little known fact is that my pre-school self tended towards happy, or so I’m told. Despite nearly dying at birth and having life come apart before I was three, I clung to my smile.
Even so, by the time I was eight years-old I was breaking. At fifteen I broke. Though my heart had, unbeknownst to me, hidden away a last reserve of hope, I was convinced for the following 30 years that I couldn’t be fixed.
My young self embraced negativity.
If you do this, beware, for I trapped myself there. Consider whether you see yourself in the place I so long dwelt:
- I spent as much time alone as possible in increasingly confining places. At first it wasn’t my choice, but eventually I sought it.
- I embraced the darkness, literally and figuratively. Depressing stories and dim lights dominated my life. These days, when I venture to that place for my novel I revisit a world I knew all too well. It’s difficult to do.
- My self-talk began as poor and then deteriorated. Frustration became chiding became disdain became self-hatred. Such unrelenting abuse is a daily torture that wears you down.
Don’t go there. Don’t.
And if you already have? Is it possible to fix what’s broken?
My answer now is unequivocally, “Yes!”
For my child self who lived long before computers and internet there were few paths leading to help. These days, though it takes effort, there are multiple paths to the sunlight. A partial list includes:
- Resource sites.
- Online groups.
- Medical professionals.
- Public and private organizations.
- Phone hotlines.
- Support groups.
The appropriate path depends on the person, circumstances, and severity. There’s no right or wrong and a combination is likely required. Some worked for me and some didn’t. As a severe case, my transition took many years, and I must remain forever alert, but fortunately I was also taught to perform maintenance.
And so I practice mindfulness, meditation, and often head out the door for walks that inject happiness into my soul.