So I’ve been binge watching The Biggest Loser for several days now and there was a phrase today that really hit me hard. Jillian was talking to one of the contestants at his old homestead. It was basically a big hole in the ground where his childhood home had burned down. She asked him what happened that day that he stood staring and realized it was gone. His reply: “I died”.
I really could relate to that feeling. I remember dying over and over again throughout the first decade of my adult life. Every time I was rejected by someone I loved, I died. Every time I would feel angry for the way I was treated but held those feelings in, I died. Every time I would apologize for the sake of ending the argument, knowing I would NEVER hear an apology from the other end, I died. So many many many instances like that killed me.
I feel like I should add a little disclaimer right here. I have a tough relationship with my parents…my mom especially. I had hidden it and pretended all was hunky dory for years until I just couldn’t anymore. Things are still sometimes weird or rough but for the most part, things are better. So if you’re reading this, please don’t think I still carry around that anger anymore. Most days, I truly don’t.
Back to the part where I died, so I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I literally felt dead inside. I was a shell of myself and I fought horrible visions in my head when I would close my eyes of killing myself. They were graphic and yet I didn’t even cringe when they happened. My feelings were so numb all the time. I had to shut off my eyes and ears so often to guard myself from the knives and daggers being thrown at me. I spent days in bed and made excuses for my lethargy. On a typical day I would wake Albany up and get her off to school. Feed Bowdy, turn the tv on and go back to bed while he entertained himself in the next room for several hours until lunch time. Then I would muddle through a quick meal and then curl up on the couch until Albany got home after school. I don’t remember putting forth any effort into my appearance unless I absolutely had to. I would make a point of knowing how many solid dats I had stayed at home. There were times where I would go 8-10 days and not leave the house. I seldom cleaned. I didn’t really cook. I mostly made quick convenience meals filled with carbs and salt.
I felt like I didn’t matter to anyone. I felt like no one cared about me. That no one liked me. And if they did act like they liked me that it wouldn’t last long. I didn’t trust my feelings and was paranoid all the time. I smiled in public but my heart was dead and my mind was numb. I tried not to think because thinking meant feeling and feeling was painful.
I’d say this went on for at least a year. I started seeing a therapist that let me talk for an hour and get my thoughts straight. She was so kind to me and always understood my feelings. She never made me feel negative about my feelings. She taught me that it was OK to feel the way I did about things. I wasn’t wrong or a bad child, mother or spouse. It didn’t happen overnight and I can’t say there was a breakthrough moment or anything. But in time, my anger didn’t scare me anymore. The vivid slideshow of my bloody wrist didn’t play as often in my mind. The good days started to outnumber the bad ones. My sadness started to feel ok to me…like I could cry if I felt like it. It was ok to get emotional during period week. It was ok to feel things.
I called that time in my life the period where I lived under a black cloud. I’ve also referred to it as falling in the black hole. Last week, I felt that way again. It came out of no where and I couldn’t shake it. I was sad and mad and bitter and then numb. I tried to tell Tim how I felt but the words didn’t come. I stood there looking out the window at the crazy winter birds on the woodpile while he wrapped his arms around me and just held me. I turned around and buried my head in his neck and sobbed. I was so scared. I didn’t want to go backwards. I had come so far and I never ever wanted to feel that way again. I had worked so hard to feel ok about myself and really try to love myself that that self hate scared me.
He didn’t say much of anything to me and didn’t know how to help but by letting me sob on his Carhartt tshirt without any judgement or fear of being hauled off to the loony bin was enough. He was there for me. He loved me. He would do whatever he could for me and that saved me from dying inside that day.
I’ve been really moved by a Taylor Swift song called Clean lately. I even cried as i belted it out in the car today. In the lyrics it’s clear that she’s talking about being over a guy after a breakup but I can relate to them in a completely different way. After feeling so scared of the black cloud last week, I’m feeling over it. The song says “And that morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean” I felt that way about the black cloud. I woke up and just started to feel better. I let myself feel feelings and emotions and cry it out. I had to face the fear of drowning before I realized the rain was what washed the bad away. I have been so moved to write lately. Not just a blog entry about my feelings but a real song or poem about the darkness. I feel like people could really relate to my fears.
I will never be cured of the random bouts of depression but I am so self aware that I know I can manage it on my own. I’m so much stronger than I ever thought I could be. I’ve faced so many demons head on and come out on top without too many scars. I’m doing ok…just another thing about this journey to appreciate. Night y’all.