Just before my vacation, I was talking with one of my friends on a really crappy day. She asked me what was wrong and when I told her how much I was struggling with stress related to Eli’s injury, she listened attentively and then compassionately (and I mean that) told me it was time to suck it up. I know she meant well and I harbor absolutely no grudges, but I think that was the moment where it hit me how tough this road is. Not just tough because it’s emotionally draining, but tough because it is lonely.
I get where she’s coming from. I’m sure that if I was reading my blog and seeing this, I’d be thinking to myself, why can’t this girl see that her kid is fine and move on with her life? Why can’t she suck it up and get over it?
I share the frustration with all of you. If it were as simple as sucking it up and getting over it, it would already be gotten over. I’m not making a conscious decision to hold onto this, in fact, most days I’m making a conscious decision to try to let it go, and yet, the fear and the emotions and the stress remain. The nightmares continue to plague my sleep and the flashbacks punctuate my waking hours.
I think until you’ve been here (and I hope none of you ever are) it’s impossible to understand what this is like. And to an extent, I think it’s like that with any mental health issue. Sure, you can imagine what it must be like to be depressed and what it must be like to be anxious or have post-traumatic stress. But until you’re in the trenches of it, completely incapable of getting out of bed, or unable to sleep all the way through a night because of vivid nightmares, you can’t really understand what it feels like. How hard it is to continue pushing forward when everyone is looking at you and saying, why can’t you just get over it? Why can’t you just move on? I’m not saying I’m an expert in mental health nor that I’ve had the hardest road, just that I had no idea what this was like, how tough it was, until I was in it.
I want to move past this and I am working hard each day to do just that. I enjoy absolutely no part of this. Going to bed each night is torture. I feel like I’ve been cheated out of the experience of motherhood that I so desperately wanted and like my son has been cheated out of the mother he deserves. I want nothing more in this world than to get over it and leave all these feelings and fears behind, but that’s just not how this works.
While I’m sure it’s getting tiresome to hear about this, writing is helping me heal. Being honest about these experiences and getting them out of my head is helping in ways that I did not expect and so at the risk of alienating you, I’m going to continue. I promise that my goal is very much to get over this, and I am sorry, in many ways, that it’s taking so very long to do that.