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Sunday, June 2, 2013

There is No Before

Not to long ago, my life came to screeching halt.  So much so that I checked myself into a mental health facility. I have to admit I still get embarrassed about it. I stopped writing because I knew I couldn't go on writing my life holding such a secret. Who voluntarily checks themselves into a mental hospital?  For me, it was that..or die.

I can't say that I was suicidal.  When asked by one of the multitude of therapists, I replied, "All I know is that I can't live like This." I was trapped.  Trapped in my own body.  Trapped in my own sadness. Trapped in a little apartment with a lot of stuff. Even my environment was fuel to my brain's fire. Almost 5 years earlier my husband and I squeezed the furnishings of  a 3 story house into a 3 bedroom apartment. There was no where for me to rest, to find peace. My three little children were always at an arms length.  There was no secret place or quiet space for me to take a deep breath and get it together.   The apartment was a simply a physical representation of my mind. Every corner was filled with clutter, noise and chaos.

Prior to my hospital stay, I had been keeping my disintegrating mind a secret.  Especially from my husband who I felt bore too much as it was.  That was a costly mistake, because when the rubber met the road and I was in total despair and anxiety, he couldn't understand. And when I went to tap into that faith and core belief about myself it was gone.  I was even separated from myself, making me profoundly alone.

I always struggled with depression.  For as long as I can remember, but 6 years ago my life took an unexpected turn when I became pregnant with identical twins and lost one.  My heart caved in.  But I was determined to be healthy, happy and at peace.  The most important thing was to create the life for myself, my husband and my children that I always envisioned.  A simple life full of music, love, creativity and faith.  I had learned the stark truth that life was short.

Almost five years passed and my grief did what grief does.  It ebbed and flowed, flickered and burned.  But I was better.  I was getting myself together.  But that was the problem, I was always trying to get myself together. I couldn't focus, couldn't get anything done, felt like everything I touched turned to crap.  The only thing that kept me was my husband.  He took up my slack, he worked more when I couldn't work at all.  He put the kids to bed when I was crying in my pillow.  He stroked my hair and rubbed my back.  He listened to all my secrets. We cried and grieved our daughter together, knowing that the experience was different for each of us. I kept going and kept burying the sense that I was not myself.  I was still 'off'.

My husband was shocked when I fell apart right before him. He watched me shake, cry, scream and  finally run out of the house with the car keys.  I remember crossing the threshold of our apartment thinking that it might be for the last time. But I came back hours later and crawled into bed.  The next morning after the kids were in school he called me from work and said the most important words of my life, "You know you have to get some help...right?"  I hung up and started calling hospitals that had good mental health facilities.

Lately, I have noticed how many times people equate their healing to what life was like 'before'...before the breakdown, before the divorce, before the death and loss.  "I just want it to be like it was before."  But before doesn't exist.  The breakdown, the divorce, the death and loss happened.  How can you move forward when you think your healing is behind you?

There is no before...there is only now.





6 comments:

  1. I really relate to what you wrote about your apartment being a physical manifestation of your mind. I feel the same way about my home. The kitchen table is covered with magazines and junk mail, our office is basically a storage room. Things are never tidy and settled. I start to get things together and then I find myself depressed and it all falls apart again. I'm anxious daily too. The anxiety is a killer. Anyway, it really felt good to read your article and see I wasn't alone. Good Luck to You!

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  2. Good luck to you too! Don't beat yourself up too much, that never works. Sometimes we have to deal with what's going on internally before we can focus on the external.

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  3. Thank you for sharing. My situation is very different from yours. But I can relate on so many levels. As Indigo Blues said, it is nice to know I am not the only one. I hope things have gotten and continue to get better for you and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much. Things have gotten tremendously better. Getting out of that environment was half the battle.

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  4. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure that wasn't easy. I hope you are very proud of yourself and that you continue to ask for the help and support that you need. Take good care of yourself :)

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    1. Thanks GetrealMommy (which I pledge to do every day - get and stay real). I need a reminder to ask for what I need. And I am proud of myself and not ashamed to say so. Good blog title!

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