Yesterday I was having a few drinks to unwind. I was also watching Legend of Korra for the first time.
*Spoiler alert: the next two paragraphs only*
In this episode, Korra is recovering from severe injuries received during a battle three years ago. She went from being powerful and physically fit to being in a wheelchair. As if that weren’t enough, she also has hallucinations, nightmares and flashbacks which resemble PTSD. She’s disconnected from her loved ones, doesn’t eat and doesn’t sleep well. She’s been struggling a lot with all of this and is feeling very hopeless and frustrated. I identified strongly with the following conversation between Korra and Katara, who is trying to heal her. It happened after Korra voiced her frustrations with her slow healing process.
Korra: “I’m trying to understand why this happened to me, but nothing makes sense. I’m tired. I’m so tired.”
Katara: “Korra, I know you feel alone right now, but you’re not the first avatar who’s had to overcome suffering. Can you image how much pain Aang felt when he learned that his entire culture was taken from him [through genocide]? But he never let it destroy his spirit. He chose to find meaning in his suffering, and eventually found peace.”
Korra: “What am I going to find if I get through this?”
Katara: “I don’t know. But won’t it be interesting to find out?”
I really identified with Korra. I don’t talk about it much, but there really are times when I deeply pity myself and wish I didn’t have to deal with PTSD symptoms. I try not to do that because of course there’s nothing I can do about the past… but I still remember what it’s like to not have PTSD affect my life every single day. I also identified with Korra’s frustration of feeling weak and not in control.
Some of the things Katara and Korra said really hit a soft spot. I hit pause and started crying as I was reminded of how helpless I feel sometimes. It’s frustrating to have the entire trajectory of my life changed by the poor decisions of a few people. A handful of moments have changed everything for me.
A few minutes later, I tried to pull myself together by giving myself a pep talk. I told myself that I’ve come a long way and that I’m strong. I’ve probably already made it through the hardest part of my recovery, so I must be strong enough for whatever is to come. I also reminded myself that I can’t change the past. I need to accept this new reality.
Somehow, this attempt at a pep talk just made my self-pity even more overwhelming. I collapsed to the ground and cried hysterically until it worked its way through my system. A little while later I was feeling better, but I still wasn’t 100% for the rest of the evening, even once I sobered up.
I’m not really sure what to think of that. Nothing like it has ever happened before. I do try to push thoughts aside that relate to pity and helplessness, so perhaps they just burst to the surface with the help of alcohol? It was so strange… I haven’t had a breakdown that intense since I had depression.
Thank you for reading this article. You can find my backstory here.
Alcohol + Triggers = Misery