The Unbearable

I am reading Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems: Volume One. Recently, I came across these stanzas in a poem called "The Moths:"
If I stopped
the pain
was unbearable. 
If I stopped and thought, maybe
the world
can't be saved,
the pain
was unbearable.
I'm going through something very difficult right now. It's so painful that I can't write about it. It is so devastating to my psyche that I resist even thinking about it. I actively suppress my thoughts of it because my mind cannot absorb it.

I find myself confronting the unbearable. I listen to music and watch films and read and play mindless computer games. I do whatever I can to lose myself, to numb myself, to put myself in another world or another story besides my own. Call it denial. Call it what you want but it's the only way I know how to save my life right now.

The unbearable cannot be changed and so it becomes what we must bear because we have no choice. My body and mind say I cannot endure this, but I will endure it. Through some mysterious process, I will keep living and I will live with this thing that is unbearable and a part of me will die and I will grieve what I've lost and I will fear the next loss, the next unbearable event.

I also came across these lines from "Landscape," in the same Mary Oliver book:
Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.
The doors of my heart are closed. I do not trust people. I will never again trust people after the things that I have been through. I can't. I feel myself recoiling from the world. I feel myself becoming bitter, resentful, and angry. I want to stay tender. I want to give of myself. I want to make a connection, but after a lifetime of constantly being abandoned and rejected and disappointed by people, I don't think I can.  Opening my doors leads to suffering and I have to protect myself. I have to keep myself alive. I am the only one who can do that because no one saves us. We're lucky if we can save ourselves. I am trying so hard to save my life. Every day, I put all my energy into saving myself, into surviving. There is nothing left over. Nothing. Maybe one day it won't be like this but, for now, it is.

The unbearable. How do we bear it? How do we keep going? I don't know. We may bear it but there are always consequences. You change in ways both subtle and obvious. The anxiety and depression intensify, you find it hard to leave your room, you stop engaging with people, you struggle to find meaning in life. People are always ready with their cliches of "it could be worse" and "it gets better" and "be thankful for what you have" and every other dismissive remark. The insensitivity in the world today is shocking and shattering. So you stop confiding, stop sharing. What's the point when you'll only be told that your pain and your problems are not legitimate, that you need to be positive? People have legitimate struggles. People are trapped in abject situations that they cannot escape. There isn't always a silver lining. Things don't always get better. Sometimes, things get worse. They get unbearable and you get scared and you don't know how to cope with having so little control over your own life. You don't know how much more you can take. You can feel yourself unraveling. You ache to feel hope again.

Sometimes, it feels like the doors of my heart got torn off and I have no protection anymore and life keeps battering me and I just want it to stop but it won't stop, it will never stop. Maybe if this hadn't been going on for ten years, I'd be stronger. Ever since my father died in 2006 when I was only 16, I've been unmoored and destabilized. I can't cope. In one instant, I was shattered and I've never been able to put the shards back together. I became something unrecognizable to myself. I can't heal. I can't repair myself. I can't bear being alive without him. I can't bear the loss. I can't bear what his death revealed to me, mainly that death is emptiness and darkness, it is the ultimate unbearable thing. I can't bear the loneliness. I can't bear the fear. I can't bear the knowledge that he's gone forever and that what happened to him will one day happen to me. I can't bear losing everyone I love. I can't bear to even write these words. I can't bear to think about the past and I can't bear to face the present. Maybe when you have even just one devastating event in your life, everything after it becomes unbearable. All of life is the unbearable.