July 11, 2014
It is with the utmost humility that I write today’s post. I began writing this morning about the keys to my inner peace, when I received an e-mail from a popular department store with which I had placed an order two weeks ago. Long story short, my order had been sent back to them and blah, blah, blah.
“Seriously?” I thought to myself. “What a bunch of idiots!” Well, so much for my attempts at inner peace. It wasn’t until I was about 40 minutes into my obsessive tracking of my order that I stopped and realized how far off-track my behavior was from where I want it to be.
In order to get where I am going, I can never forget where I came from. And without the proper care and attention to my mental health, I face a very slippery slope. For today, I am re-blogging a post from March 25, 2013. It helps to keep in touch with some things in my past so that they do not end up in my future.
One year ago this week I had a nervous breakdown. To write this is no small task. To have lived through it was an even greater task. Fortunately, I am now a better person for having lived through it. And when I say I lived through it, it is with no exaggeration; there was a point when that just didn’t seem possible.
To be clear, I looked up the definition of a nervous breakdown on a reputable psychology website: a bout of mental illness that is so severe that it directly impacts the ability to function in everyday life. The mental illness can include, but is not limited to depression, anxiety and/or bipolar disorder. Well, dear readers, I hit the trifecta. I write about this not to garner sympathy, but to let others know that it is possible to have your whole life spin out of control and then regain your footing. I also write about this because I deserve an “Atta, girl!”
Imagine waking up in a hospital bed having absolutely no knowledge of how you arrived there. I was pretty sure I knew why I was there, I just didn’t know how I got there. After all this time, I’m still unclear about that. My memory of that day comes back in pieces. Suffice it to say, I was hospitalized for 5 days or so. When I was discharged, I still had a long row to hoe.
I divorced in 1997 and never remarried. I figure that my children needed me more than I needed a husband, so I put all of my energies into raising them. Although my husband was an absentee father, I had a tremendous amount of help raising my children. However, I was, and will continue to be a single parent. That is a tough gig, dear readers. I had put so much of myself into my children’s lives that when they were all grown and gone, the empty nest syndrome hit me severely. Thus, the depression.
My anxiety stemmed from the fact that, well, I was a single parent. That, and the fact that I had worked at a boys’ prison for the past 5 years culminated into an unbelievably high stress level. My job was, I suppose, no different than any other high stress job, so I am baffled as to why I suffered a breakdown while others do not. I saw it as a weakness. And truth be told, sometimes I still do. I mean, I am stronger than that. At least that is what I believe at times. Unstable, weak, unfit, loser, idiot, not allowed around my children were but a few things I was told as I was slipping into darkness. And these were family members. I’m not mad at them though. However, it will remain an eternal mystery as to why, when I needed my family the most, most of them found they didn’t need me. I guess that is the tough love we read about.
I struggled daily to just open my eyes and breathe. It was a chore. But life stops for no one, least of all those of us unwilling to work at grabbing ahold of the reins. It took some serious work to regain what I had lost. And certainly I did not do it alone. My mom, my sister and my brother-in-law were instrumental in my recovery. Their love and support never wavered. Other family members were key in helping me regain myself and others have bowed out of my life. I cannot change my past, but I can make amends to those I hurt. I must forgive others because there is much in which I need forgiveness. Although I believe that I could have done things differently, I do not believe that i could have stopped the train wreck I had become. However, I do and I did take full responsibility for my recovery. And baby, look at me now!
What a kind and merciful God we have. I am blessed and divinely favored. I praise God each and every day that I am where I am today. One year ago, no one, not me, not my mom, not my family, not even my therapist would have believed I would be where I am today. It is simply amazing that one year ago I was in the depths of solitude and now I am reaching new heights. God is good and I intend on living my life in praise of Him. To whom much is given, much is expected. Peace, ~v.