Thank you for all the powerful imagery. When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron, helped me escape (or at least picture) some of what you’re describing. She helped me see that coping mechanisms, habits and plans can, when too assiduously maintained, harden into shields/shells that temporarily protect us from pain and uncertainty. And as we twist the soft body of life to support and maintain those structures, they can easily become walls. And over time, those walls can come together to form a prison.