Tuesday, March 18, 2014
An Acceptable Human - Part 2 Guest blog from Lizzi R of Considerings
Today, I give you Part 2 from Lizzi's original post Flashbacks to another Me.
I am, once again, in complete awe of Lizzi. She has been through and over come so much. Her emotion so raw you can feel it while you read. She apologized for her post being "so long." I never noticed. I was caught up in her, as I know you will be.
This post affirms, for me, why I write - to turn my crap around for even one chance at helping a person who may be going through the same, or similar. I am again grateful to Lizzi for this post and for gracing me with her words.
I now give you...
An Acceptable Human
by Lizzi of Considerings
I remember the feeling so clearly: “I’m better!”
I couldn’t tell you where I was, or whom I was with, or what I was wearing or whether it was a sunny day or not, but one day, about ten years ago, this sudden realization took hold.
It was freedom to know it.
Having been in the thrall of Depression for 12 years - having undergone intense trauma at the hands of someone else’s, only to be left with my own - this feeling was a golden, shimmering wonder which unfurled in my heart and mind, quite without expectation of it ever happening.
I’d been taking my meds and going to counselling and Getting On With Life. I was gradually checking the boxes on my way to turning into an Acceptable Human, without ever really being certain that it could happen.
But one day, BOOM! There it was. I was better: a sense of security grew as I gained confidence in my job; mended relationships; the new parameters of my world; and (to an extent) myself.
But Depression did return to me.
While we were dating, before he’d even proposed, Husby got sick with an autoimmune disorder. Once we were married, his dwindling mood dropped into full-blown clinical depression, and the cloud of darkness once more settled on my life.
We were battling for a diagnosis (one eventually being found, damning him to a life with a banjaxed hypothalamus and a global endocrine disorder) and the Depression took deeper root, robbing him not only of his job and his sense of self-worth, but of his quality of life; leaving him scrambling rationally through piles of twisted logic, concluding that he didn’t want to be alive at the end of the day. Or at the end of most days.
Three times Depression tried to make a widow of me – the first two times undisclosed until I sat in the doctor’s office with him, having forced him to attend to seek further help. The doctor was stunned on hearing him calmly and dispassionately relate what he’d done. She looked at me and asked whether I’d known, and I remember laughing hollowly and telling her that I was hearing it for the first time – same as she was.
And the Anger returned as well. This time not directed at me, but at him (and cruelly so, for I knew that it was the Depression I hated. It was the Depression which was sabotaging our marriage; his life; my world (again) – not him). He was so tangled up, he couldn’t dissociate, and my kick-backs at the Depression landed each time on him, and each brought him lower, which made him worse to live with. I tried so hard to separate him from it; to build him up and support him and make him feel better.
But nothing I did worked.
And I got weary of always being the enemy. Of not being wanted. Or desired. Of being cared for in snippets. Of always struggling. Of needing to take charge.
Of not being a good enough wife for him to want to be alive to be married to.
And yet you see how my own shadows – those distant ghosts from childhood - didn’t allow me to dissociate, either.
I was so used to inhabiting my worthlessness that it had become part of me, and even though the Depression was his, I took on the responsibility and somehow made it my fault – if blame could be taken, I alternately took it and fought it.
In spite of this, we were going through the motions of being married, and trying to keep up with the timescale of our expectations, which at this point included children. So we tried.
And failed, losing two babies in the earliest stages of pregnancy.
The Abyss opened up under my feet and tried to swallow me again. Because this, also, I took responsibility for. It wasn’t his illness. It wasn’t happenstance. It wasn’t damn bad luck.
It was because I didn’t deserve to be a mother.
Because ultimately, I didn’t deserve anything.
I’m bad and worthless and need to somehow be better before I earn the right to have something as wonderful as children. Nicer. Kinder. Prettier. Thinner. Cleverer. Usefuller. More capable. More confident. More worthwhile. But never valuable, because valuable is unattainable, and so I shall never have children.
And a diagnosis of primary infertility for Husby, because of his illness, rapidly cemented those thoughts.
But this time I got help. I recognised the patterns and I knew I couldn’t face a resurgence alone. So more counselling ensued, and the Wise Woman helped me massively as I tried to untangle my feelings, fears, desires and sorrows. Eventually the thing which made the most difference was the day she told me that I was allowed to (and should) develop a positive opinion of myself.
I’d never thought my opinion to be worthwhile, much less understand that I could even hold one about myself. This news was mind-blowing. So in the midst of my hurt, I tried, and I struggled up that steep learning curve and began to allow the positives to drip in and begin filling me up.
I grieved and I drank, and I resisted any efforts to get me to go and get medicated, and I reached out to others, and I WROTE. I decided that this was the most awful thing, and that in my floundering, where I’d reached out and discovered other people’s stories of loss in the Blogosphere, and been so comforted by them, that I, too, would write, and hope that some day, to someone, my agony would be rendered useful, and thereby redeemed.
And as I wrote, wonderful people – friends, family, bloggers – responded; gave me feedback and validation and love and attention and care, and let me know that I mattered to them. This was shattering and healing and confusing and wonderful all at once.
Gradually, the world got lighter again. I found a new job, and not long afterwards, Husby grew well enough to find a new job and began to turn back into the man I fell in love with. I still clung to people, but this time with the knowledge that I would make it back through to the other side.
I have mostly emerged. I still stumble, sometimes, and need to suddenly reach out and grab the waiting hand of one of my friends, but even as I do this, I can do it in a safer manner; secure in the knowledge that they are there.
I’m almost out. I’m almost on the other side, and this time much closer to being that Acceptable Human I always wanted to be.
Healing happens in stages.
Today I watched a video of the much-lauded speech by Lupita Nyong’o, and my soul suddenly plummeted with awful recognition as she spoke of “the seduction of inadequacy”.
This is my next challenge, and my next stage of healing.
And with my people around me, I’ll get there.
Thank you SO MUCH, Lizzi, for sharing your words. I am in absolute awe of your strength and know that even one person reading can be helped by recognizing themselves in your words. Thank you!
If you are someone struggling with depression, please know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Reach out - someone will take your hand.
Please be sure to stop in to see Lizzi. You won't be disappointed.
Lizzi is a Deep Thinker, Truth Teller and Seeker of Good. She works a normal job and has a secret life as the writer at Considerings. Wife to Husby and Mother to two Neverborns, now dealing with the challenge of primary infertility, she is a frequent instigator of silliness and loves to entertain with words.
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