After making the difficult decision to stop enabling my son’s addiction, I began the grieving process. There were days when I refused to get out of bed in the morning. Other times, I considered it an accomplishment if I was awake by noon. Daily tasks of life felt impossible. I had difficulty making choices about simple things (Do I want cream in my coffee this morning?). The crying seemed endless, and when it did stop, it was only a matter of time before I started again. My heart was breaking and I was the one who broke it.
As is the case with depression, nothing felt right. I forgot how to have fun. In an attempt to cheer me up, my husband took me to dinner at a restaurant we had been wanting to try. I didn’t want to be there, around people, out of the house. I did what I could to get through the meal but I wasn’t fun to be around. Guilt swept over me and I left the restaurant in tears. I cried all the way home.
I had been in a similar place before. The darkness of depression wasn’t unfamiliar and I remembered there had always been a turning point. I kept waiting for a shift but it eluded me. Dread and fear became my constant companion. What if I wasn’t able to get control this time? Had I finally encountered the event that would break me? Somehow, I was able to comprehend I didn’t want to be relegated to the shadows forever.
Although I was floundering, I began setting up plans to lure me out of the house. I signed up for an exercise class twice a week. The local food bank was accepting volunteers and I submitted my application. When I didn’t receive a response in a few days, I called the volunteer coordinator and scheduled my first visit. I now volunteer there twice a week. Lunch dates with friends filled in some gaps on my calendar. Honestly, there were many days when I didn’t want to do any of these things. There were a few challenging days which overwhelmed me so forcefully, I canceled plans for the safety of my bed.
I was frantically searching for something, anything, to urge me towards the light. There was meditation, music, journaling, practicing mindfulness (attempting to anyway), gratitude, walks by myself. I reached out to a friend and asked her to be my life coach. (She introduced me to Abraham Hicks, whom I now have a love/hate relationship with.) A visit with a therapist confirmed what I already knew but didn’t want to accept; I was on the right path. It still felt like a piece was missing. After careful consideration, I started taking antidepressants.
I’m beyond fortunate to be married to a man who loves me unconditionally. I’ve been so lost the past few months and he’s been there without fail; my guiding light through the storm. He’s held me while I cried and wiped away my tears. When he didn’t know what to do or say, he was simply there, by my side. His patience and tenderness remind me of who I want to be and of the life I want to live. His constant reassurances of “it takes as long as it takes” feel like permission to heal in a way that is best for me and no one else.
As much as I would love to report that I am completely fine now, that would be a lie. Like anyone else, I have good days and bad days. The sorrow is still unbearable at times, but I’m finally beginning to notice rays of light. Writing about the situation has been cathartic. My goal is to surrender to what is, and not focus on “what if”. I’m constantly hearing the Indigo Girls singing in my head, “There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line, and the less I seek my source for some definitive, closer I am to fine”–
Photo by Oscar Söderlund on Unsplash