I am here – The long process of mending

A normal person.  I had the question posed to me today “What is a normal person?”  Well to be honest, I have no idea what is considered normal.

The only standard I can go by is my own, the way I’ve always lived my life in comparison to others.  The only problem with that is the perception of others that view me.  They see this emotionally broken person waiting for someone to come in and mend it, to put me back together again.

The problem with that scenario, is what if I’m not actually broken just battle weary and scarred? I appear to be broken but in actuality I’m stronger internally because of what I’ve been through but the outward scars are always going to be there until they are only slightly visible. That is the only thing some people will always see.  Secondly, no one can save us, we each have the ability to save ourselves.

I say this because during this conversation this morning that I pointed out the fact that I’ve lived with depression and anxiety for over thirty years and managed.  It wasn’t great, there were major and minor issues through this whole journey but I’m still here.  I still exist. I still live. I still work. I still laugh. I still sing. I still dance. I still cry. I still get sad. I still get happy. I still have hope. I still dream. Most of all I still have all this love in my heart to give to others.  So then what’s the problem?

The problem is that because I wanted to protect my family, I kept the depression and anxiety hidden. I wanted to them to have a “perfect” life.  The childhood that I never got to have.  I gave them everything they ever wanted, made rules that I thought would help them develop into these awesome men and women. Guess what? They did.  Yet despite this, all they can see is the “broken” person now before them.  I am no longer the mom they grew up with and because I decided to change who I was, to finally start finding my true purpose, try to find happiness with another is now causing turmoil.  It has changed our family dynamic and I don’t know if it will be the same again.

I accepted who I was, the way I felt and the thoughts about myself a long time ago.  When I accepted this I also asked God & the Universe to forgive me for not being able to find peace with the ones who hurt me but asked for guidance instead.  I’ve been guided this whole time with the same faith, hope and belief in finding the good.  I still feel that way, even today.  So I guess that’s not normal.   To have belief in myself, to hope for a better future and to have faith in where there is a will there is a way.

Why would I hold onto these ideals?  I hold on to them because I experienced the power of these positive thoughts first hand, it is called my life.  During each downfall in my life something kept me going, kept me motivated and helped me through the obstacles put before me.  Even in the darkest moments in my life when I lost hope & the will to continue on faith and belief stepped in to pick me up and pushed me to keep moving forward.

My life has been called tragic by some.  I survived so many times when I should have died instead.  I fell into darkness too many times to count but always found my way back into the light again.  I was hurt and it caused so much pain I didn’t think I could take another breath but I came back up for air again.  Each moment that was supposed to stop me only made me more determined to push back or push through it.  I’ve taken every hit that life has given me, gotten back up and asked for more.  So I guess that’s not normal either?

In my splintered way of thinking I believed that it wasn’t always going to be that way, that things would normalize or balance out again, I would look back and say “Wow, I can’t believe I made it through that.” That’s how I’ve lived my life for 46 years.

Then on November 15th, 2013, I made the worst and best decision all at once.  I was existing but not living my life.  I was so unhappy, so depressed and could not see myself living past my youngest son’s graduation from high school.  I just knew that once he was off to college that my purpose at that time as wife and mother would be over.  My husband would divorce me and it would be over, I already knew that.  I was in a loveless marriage.  I was married to man who didn’t love me and had been cheating on me for years, he left me alone. I only found out after he passed away.  I had been living with the guilt and loneliness of my own infidelity believing that it was the reason for the slow death of the marriage not knowing the truth.  I blamed myself for everything that ever went wrong in the marriage and within my family, I felt guilty all the time.  The depression and anxiety became masked behind this facade I portrayed as being “that mom”. The one who went to every school function, PTA mom, Soccer mom, Band mom, Orchestra mom and made every event a celebration.  All the while continuing with my own plans of retiring from the military.  I was slowly drowning in the depression and anxiety.

I had to completely break down before I could be built back up again.  So I took matters into my own hands knowing that I faced tremendous obstacles ahead of me.  I hadn’t worked in over 7 years at that point but I had a strong resume because of my military experience and education.  I went through multiple jobs, financial difficulty and homes then the slow spiraling down into the darkness started because I wasn’t ready to handle it all.  I thought I was but in reality, facing the changes alone became more than I thought I could bear.  So I made a mistake in choosing a terrible relationship to be in.  It wasn’t right, it wasn’t okay and it went against everything that I believed in.  I didn’t care.  I didn’t want to face things alone.  I was tired of being alone.  I had been alone in facing life for almost 8 years at that point.

Things kept progressing for another year, the divorce was finalized, the bad relationship finally ended and I thought I would be okay but I never realized that I was still spiraling down.  It was so subtle that I never noticed it.  Random thoughts would pop into my mind about myself.  Then as things continued to come in waves of good and bad, the thoughts became stronger.  I fell into darkness again.  This time the reality of my condition became clearer to my children.  The mask I had been hiding behind their whole lives was no longer there.  It was now time to face the depression, the anxiety and the suicidal thoughts openly and honestly or so I thought.

I began to realize that others did not want to know or hear what I was facing, thinking or feeling. It made them uncomfortable. This didn’t stop me though.  I became focused on making myself better.  To make myself more capable because I had to be able to live life again.  To be more confident in myself.  To be more proactive in making my own life decisions.  To be capable of being alone.  To make myself more assertive.  The changes I started making did not sit well with my family or friends.  I ran into negative thoughts on my progress.  I realized that toxic people had to go.  So I made more changes.

Then this year, I thought I was finally moving past the mourning over the dead marriage.  I hadn’t.  I thought I was over the grief of the death of my ex-husband but I wasn’t. I thought I was ready to be in a relationship again. It didn’t go well.  I thought I had moved past the hurt caused by others.  I hadn’t and the thoughts were still there.  I thought that I was getting better.  I wasn’t ready and went into the darkness once more.  I wasn’t mentally ready yet.

I came back a third time with a renewed sense of strength and new sense of purpose.  I came back with determination to change how I felt about myself and the progress I wanted to see.  So I started changing again.  I started focusing on my overall health and wellness.  I started focusing on my goals again.  I started enjoying things again.

What I didn’t expect was the reaction from my children.  They no longer viewed me as this person they can trust.  I’m no longer the mom they once knew and they are afraid of a relapse into the darkness.  It is keeping them on edge and I don’t know how to help them.  I can only say that I’m fine and be as reassuring as possible so many times.   Every discussion now ends either in my feeling getting hurt, them thinking that they’ve hurt my feelings or they get their feelings hurt instead.  I, as an adult and their parent, shouldn’t have to feel like I’m being scolded like a child because of what I said or did. That is not their place and I wish they would remember that.  The life I have lived so far, the things I’ve been put through and the things I’ve done to get all of them to this point should be remembered and respected.  I deserve at least that much and I have freaking earned it.

I love my children but I do not live my life to be judged by them.  I’m done with worrying about what other’s think about me.  No one has any say in my choices. My children each have a life ahead of them waiting to be lived.  I can only be here in the background to support their decisions.  I cannot make choices for them or anyone else for that matter. I can only hope that I’ve raised them to make good ones.

So until they realize that, this continuous looping back and not solving problems will never end. The continual making assumptions about me and being reminded of past mistakes will not solve the problems.  If they want to be treated like an adult then we need to start having frank, open and honest discussions.  The only ground rules to the discussions is to remember that no one is perfect, opinions should be respected, stay humble if you’re wrong, actively listen, no bringing up the past it cannot be undone and in the end we will always be family.  We need to remember to love and cherish each other because right now, we only have each other and for how long, we don’t know.

It has been a tumultuous 3 years and my heart is still mending from the past, it has been ready to let it go for a long time.  I had to be ready first.  I had to be mentally ready.  I had to be emotionally ready.  I had to be physically ready.  I had to be spiritually ready.

Things take time especially when you’re talking about years of not facing the issues. Years of burying them afraid to face them.  The issue, the depression and anxiety, didn’t just happen overnight.  It has always been there and it will continue to be but will lessen in intensity over time.  It is just a part of me and I can’t change it.  I can only continue to work around it and push it to the side when I need to.

So I will continue to be here. I will continue as long as the universe lets me.  I will keep seeking another to share life with who will hopefully be willing and ready.  I will always be there for my children because they continue to be the light in the darkness for me.

I am here, I’ve always been here.

 

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to visit.

Have a good weekend!

Suzanne

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