The Downward Spiral

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While not a recap in any sense of the word, this post may contain spoilers from The Vampire Diaries season 6 episode 16.  You’ve been warned.

How do you know you’ve reached rock bottom?  For Caroline Forbes, rock bottom was when her mom passed away from inoperable cancer.  After trying several attempts to save her mother’s life, Caroline finally had to accept that there was nothing she could do.  For a girl who was used to being in control of everything, this was a huge defeat.

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Losing control of one’s life is the very definition of downward spiral.  When things fell apart for me at work and in my personal life, it felt like I was on a downward spiral that never ended.  I think I might still be sliding.

I believe that it takes many things to set a person on this path.  I don’t think that one single event or thing can send someone off the edge.  If you are lucky, there might be something to keep you from going off the deep end.  For Caroline, there was one thing that could have kept her from falling.  One thing that would have made everything she was experiencing more bearable.  She needed just one person to be there for her.  A person that she shared a moment with, and could have used his support in her time of need.

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Stefan was her best friend’s ex, but over time they grew close.  They were there for each other before and all she needed was for him to tell her the truth about how he felt.  She needed to hear that he cared for her.  Instead he avoided her.  He told her they would talk later at a better time.  He was scared of how he felt about her, and therefore he pushed her away.

Caroline couldn’t handle the rejection on top of everything else that had happened to her.  It was too much to bear.  From here her life spiraled out of control.  She couldn’t handle all the emotions she was feeling.  She just needed the pain to be gone.

So she turned it off.

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“Turning off your humanity” is a concept used in the Vampire Diaries to describe a vampire who has turned off their human feelings.  It’s a survival tactic, to give a vampire the ability to eat and kill without feeling regret or remorse.  Since this show is a giant drama fest, turning off your humanity is something done by the various characters to avoid dealing with tough emotions.

Remember that time Elena burned down her house when her brother died?

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Yeah, those kinds of tough emotions.

For me, turning off my humanity sounds like the relief I need from my own head and all the crazy emotions life has stirred up for me.  For weeks now I’ve wished that I could be the kind of person that could just turn it all off and not care anymore.  Imagine how good it would feel to not have to feel the pain anymore.  I wouldn’t have to feel the drowning sadness and the crippling anxiety.  I want to feel nothing, just like Caroline.  She just wanted a year to not feel any pain, or grief, or remorse and you know what?  I do too.

The downside to this, as we’ve seen throughout the shows many seasons, is that eventually the emotions come back.  Eventually they are forced to deal with all the things they’ve been avoiding.  You always have to deal.  You can never actually take the easy way out.  I’ve found that out myself.  I’ve had hours, sometimes even a day or so where I can block out the pain.  When it all comes back it’s worse than it was before I avoided it.  Dealing and processing is something we all have to do, no matter how difficult it is.

Stefan finally admitted his feelings for Caroline, but it didn’t bring her back.  It just set her off:  “Wow, see that wasn’t so hard was it? Only took a couple of years, cancer to devour my mom, me to flip my humanity off, but you finally SPIT IT OUT.”  Events unfolded, and Caroline dragged Stefan down the spiral with her.

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How do you know you’ve hit rock bottom?  I don’t think you ever really do.

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