Today I must begin to live the breadth of my new life. The one where I struggle with depression while raising two boys, commuting and working full-time. I’m afraid. I’m not ready. But I’m also worried I’ll never be ready.
These past two weeks have been hard, but in some ways they haven’t. I spent the entire time focusing only on me and my family. And I’ve realized how lovely that can be. And I’m worried that the little piece of serenity that I so briefly wrapped around my life will quickly trickle through my fingers in the same sea of tears from which it came.
My husband texted me one morning last week and said “Next week it will be easier to navigate to work. Less low lying cloud.”
Immediately I thought how wise he is and how deeply I hope that he is right. Because the tailspin I was living only a short time ago still weighs heavy on my heart. Not forgotten at all. And while it has started to lift to my great wonder and surprise, I now see clearly how strong a hold it had on my life, how it permeated in ways I didn’t even realize. So I fear it even more. I don’t want to go back there. Ever.
I just finished reading Lit by Mary Karr, an exquisite and soulful memoir. Though I’m not a recovering alcoholic, I was struck by how intensely I could identify with her thoughts and words because. For her alcoholism was just a way of anesthetizing herself from her own depression. It took me quite a while to read it. I was quite overwhelmed by the emotion and the rawness of her honesty. On Thursday, as I neared the end I read this:
When you’ve been hurt enough as a kid (maybe at any age), it’s like you have a trick knee. Most of your life, you can function like an adult, but add in the right portions of sleeplessness and stress and grief, and the hurt, defeated self can bloom into place.
I felt an awareness dawn and settle comfortably over me. It spread quickly and can only be described by a deep sense of relief. It was like Karr, through her own journey, had presented me with a reason, an explanation for myself. A reason which described the very heart of my struggle in a way that had until now been so elusive to me.
In my dawning awareness I realize I have been given a gift. A gift that, despite feeling paralyzed by my inability to cope and terrified that the path forward would lead only to more sadness, that maybe there was a way to reach self-awareness and forgiveness.
I couldn’t help but feel the first spark of optimism that maybe there are answers, now that I understand, now that it all makes sense, now that there is a reason.
And so I take another step forward today.Image: ‘Having got up so early…‘ via a Creative Commons license.