It’s easier not to care sometimes.
I do this thing when I’m under a lot of stress. When I’m worried or concerned. When I’m sad or grieving.
I stop caring.
It’s not healthy. It’s not loving, it’s not compassionate, it’s not sympathetic. It’s not grace or mercy, it’s not love, it’s not reality or the gospel, it’s not what Jesus had in mind for me and my life. But it’s how I get through without having to feel sadness. I don’t do sadness well.
The surge of emotions that take me over when I’m faced with a stressor–a new job full of new people and new expectations, two sick parents living in immense pain, an extended family that is unsteady at best and hurtful at the worst, guilt about my own shortcomings and past selfishness, panic and anxiety–I do not handle well. Even though I have been equipped and taught how to handle stress and grief in healthy ways by therapists, mentors, doctors, my parents, I still find myself resorting to old faithful: I just find a way to stop caring.
I pretend I’m fine so I can just get through the day.
I push all of the difficult thoughts away in order to get through the day.
I stop thinking about what is making me sad so I don’t cry at work.
I change the subject when I’m with friends because I don’t want to be that person.
It’s just easier not to care, y’know? I don’t monopolize conversation or make my problems someone else’s problems. I don’t cry in front of people. I don’t break down at work or shirk chores around the house. I go into survival mode.
I’ll think about all this hard stuff later. I’ll care later. Right now, I just gotta get this and this and this done.
Thing is, I get home, or I finish my project, or I finish up chores around the house, and instead of actually addressing the issue–instead of choosing to care and choosing to process my emotions–I find a way to ignore them some more. I jump on Facebook and mindlessly scroll. I think about football or how much I hated the “How I Met Your Mother” season ending or I binge watch “Doctor Who” and “Criminal Minds” until my eyes hurt.
Before I know it, two weeks, a month, six months, a year has passed, and I’m still carrying the same baggage and just choosing not to deal with it, to open it up, unpack it. I still choose not to care.
Because it’s easier not to care–until you’re a year into the grieving process, or a year into dealing with some life-changing revelation, or a year into facing your anxiety problem or your low self-esteem or your fear of intimacy or your financial crisis or your estranged friendship, and you realize it would have been a whole lot easier if you had chosen to care from the get-go.
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