I know I haven’t been around much lately, dear reader, but I’ve had some important things to attend to.
First off, I have stopped giving advice.
Having always inserted myself into the well being of others as a personality trait, I can attest to the fact that this is a significant change.
I have started keeping track of the things about myself that feel different since losing Isaac and this is a big one. I have thought it through and my conclusion is, my mama bear instincts were in such excessive overflow & abundance, that it was a natural reflection of who I saw myself as to never mind my own beeswax when it came to “helping”, encouraging &…enmeshing!
I can’t say it just fell off me. On the contrary, it was something I had to let go of, intentionally, in order to focus on healing. And it wasn’t an easy thing, in fact it was like ripping off the grizzle from the muscle on a steak. My connective tissue was very attached to your connective tissue, and hers & his and theirs.
It is really easy for me to distract myself with other people and other issues than to confront my own. I doubt very much that I am alone in this. I think humans naturally avoid emotional pain and discomfort as much as possible.
I was finding myself in the center of some big dang deals for people that I love. It was becoming clear that I was fixating on them and resisting my own crap.
My crap was there waiting for me, right where we left off. I was unprepared for it to come in all weighted with heavy sorrow, like a sack of cement thrown at my guts. I fell hard. I lost sight of the sunshine. I could hardly hold my head up.
While I was buried I had the realization that I had been here before. Which seemed impossible as I have never faced pain like I have by losing my beautiful beloved boy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it for awhile. But then I began to recognize familiar patterns of thought like well worn ruts on a two track, habit and behavior changes I’ve known before. And that’s when it hit me that I was depressed again. The surest sign was an increase in anxiety and appetite with a tendency toward isolating myself. It seems both inevitable and ironic that my old familiar friend would show up now. I was, despite shock and agony, hyper vigilant about my emotional well being throughout the first six months of Isaac’s death, fearing depression almost as much as facing life without Isaac. We’ve spent some time together, depression and I, long before I lost the love of my life. And it isn’t pretty. Last spring when it popped up again, I just completely focused all my energy on staying afloat, on swimming. I had all the time I needed to devote myself to it. And it worked. I was able to pick myself up and “just” be a grieving mama again.
This time around it was probably easier to get to me. I had spent so much time forcing myself to feel better as we approached the anniversary of losing him and showing signs of progress/ ability to move forward, that I think I was an easy target. I wasn’t on guard, I wasn’t keeping depression at bay with hyper self awareness, self care, and kindness. In fact, I was pushing myself and ignoring my needs at every turn.
The thing I have learned over years of dueling with my shadow, is this: while usually uninvited & unwelcome, and sometimes utterly full of shit, she always has something to say about where I’m at with my self alignment. She may not bring a good time with her, but she does come bearing “gifts”.
I’m in the midst of unwrapping them now, and I have yet to fully see what each has to do with the next , which to keep and which are not true for me. What I do know is that I may never outrun depression on my tail. Living in fear or denial of this dishonors who I actually am. I am done carrying shame over it and the subsequent self loathing shame brings. I have carried it long enough.
And I am tired of it and the truth is, I need my energy to fight.
Depression is but one aspect of my experience. Losing Isaac, while an enormously awful and unbearably heavy ache, is yet another. It is hard to accept that, because Isaac was my whole world, but his death cannot be if I am to be healthy….this is both heartbreaking and freeing, though I have yet to feel fully liberated from it. I am beginning to see it is the truth.
And more and more I see that I am not alone; the world is grieving, the world is wounded. There is more to me than depression and grief and finding myself and starting over. And there is more of life that needs me, my unique penchant for love. And taking care of myself to the best of my ability is my best offense in no longer resisting the wisdom of my spirit. And it is truly the only way I can help myself or others.
Taking my own advice for a change.