Shifting

It’s Friday!!! I am going to forecast that I get a lot done around my apartment tomorrow! In the past that hasn’t really ever once happened, but I am excited and hopeful that tomorrow – I will deep clean our home, donate items I’ve been keeping, put away all of our laundry and only then relax.

Many people experience a fundamental shift in thinking when they face a life=threatening crisis and suddenly see their priorities in a different light, or when they suddenly step into a new role, such as that of husband or wife, parent or grandparent, manager or leader.

That shift did happen for me, last year when we lost my Dad. Losing him was the hardest thing I, and my family, have ever been through. He was always the healthiest guy, he was active, no one could ever guess his real age, and he was always jovial. To go from that to stage 4 colon cancer in less than 6 months was devastating, our world got rocked and our family came together and held him until the moment he went to be with our Lord.

Before his diagnosis, I was highly medicated on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, mood stabilizers, I was walking around in a fog but I felt it was better than the pain I had been in before. After we lost Dad I wanted so badly to be like him, I had this burning desire to live life as he did. He never wasted any time thinking negatively, secluded, or angry, he just lived, and he did it so gracefully and joyfully. I wanted that so badly but I couldn’t make it happen in the weight that was my medication. Although numb had been preferable before, I felt I really needed to feel again in order to live this life. So I went to my med doctor, and I proclaimed that I wanted to wean off all of my medications. With my work in therapy and with a schedule charted for the weaning – I was ready.

It took almost 5 months to wean off of all of the medication I was on and it was pure hell. I was extremely sick, half of the time I felt like I needed to go to the hospital because the tremors, sweating, throwing up – suicidal thoughts were also a side effect, but I made it through with the help of my husband, my mom, my sister, and a large part, my therapist. She was a great coach and she really helped me to keep going on the path that I wanted. When I walked back into the med doctor, fully clean of medication 6 months after the initial wean, he was surprised at how much better I seemed and he asked me why it was that I had wanted to do this. So I explained about my Dad, what losing him made me realize about life, and what had been so horrible before in my life – didn’t seem nearly so bad as losing my father. The doctor then told me a saying he had always heard .. “I once was so incredibly sad because I had no shoes, until I met the man who had no feet.”

If someone listens or stretches out a hand or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand, extraordinary things begin to happen. – Loretta Girzartis

Therapy. My family and my husband begged me for years to go to therapy and I always fought it. I was so embarrassed, ashamed, and angry and I didn’t want to talk to someone about it. I just wanted it all to end. Then, after the umpteenth time that I snapped at my husband for no reason whatsoever, he looked at me, tired, exhausted and simply said that I was fighting a ghost. I was fighting a ghost, ghosts of my ex-boyfriends, my rapists, and my bullies. I would lose all control and be an emotional wreck with no instigation from my family or my husband. It was after he said that I was fighting with ghosts and not him, and not my family, that I realized I definitely needed help. I couldn’t do this on my own.

I started therapy a year or so ago. I had weekly appointments and I still do. It was the best thing I could ever have done. Finding the right therapist is key because there are a lot of quack jobs out there, but there are also amazing ones that can really help. It isn’t just the chance to be fully honest, to open yourself up that works – it’s the tools they give you to help you. Therapy and the tools I learned in it, helped to reduce and sometimes removed all of my panic. I would go sometimes days without a panic attack, then it became a week, then two weeks, then a month. There are still flare ups but they no longer send me into a tizzy. I feel my body beginning to panic but my mind is in control and I can focus myself back in. I never thought that would be possible seven years ago. The life I live today, even though it is still hard, was something I never thought I would get back. So I am thankful. I hadn’t realized until now how far I’ve actually come in this last year.

Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be. – Jose Orlega y Gasset – To Your Success

I’m starting to yearn. I’m pushing myself to dream. I have high hopes … to have high hopes again. I want to be successful in getting out of this depression, this slump, this panic-stricken life I’ve been trudging through for the last seven years. To do that, I need to focus on my future, not my past. My past drags me down and beats the ever-loving-snot out of me, but the future I want, fulfills, feeds on love, and is healthy. It reminds me of when someone is having a baby – happy and healthy, brand-spankin’-new. That is the future I want.

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. – Alexander Graham Bell

It’s like this, the closed door..? All of my stuff is in there. I went in through that door with all my happy childhood bags packed and ready to be an adult. I didn’t know that there would be a torture chamber, a judgement stand, and a whipping post lined up waiting, none of us do, that’s how abuse works. It confuses you as to what is actually happening until it’s too late. The earnest need to get my childhood happiness out of that room, to take back what was me that is locked behind that door, that’s what I can’t seem to let go of. How do I just…. let go? Can I rebuild?

Re-Reading

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One comment

  1. Your husband is a wise, loving and compassionate man. My husband and I both have had that moment of watching the other person flailing and raging — and gently saying “Sweetie…you’re not actually fighting with me right now.”

    I started therapy again recently (not in five years) and it’s painful as hell but time to slay some dragons. Best of luck to you.

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