Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today I smiled...

It is interesting how you have certain ideas about yourself, and then a lesson creeps up, smacks you in the face, and shows you that some of your preconceived notions were completely wrong. When this happens, it shakes your axis. Makes you wonder if anything you believe to be true really is or if you're existing in a parallel universe.

Last week, for whatever reason, with all ready too many reasons to be sad--Father's day and my dad's birthday coming up--I decided to read Jill Bialosky's memoir of her sister's life and death History of a Suicide. The book, Bialosky's writing specifically, is hauntingly beautiful. The subject matter, unfortunately, was too much for me to handle in what was all ready a fragile state. I cried for days. Relived my brother's life...and death. Asked all the same questions that I'd all ready asked 150,000 times 100 more times.

Brad asked me, "Why would you read that book? You know it's going to make you sad." I don't know why I felt compelled to read it. I guess because I wanted to know how someone else experienced this kind of tragedy. I needed to know how someone else felt, and dealt with, and got past that kind of horrific grief. And that's the part that made me the saddest was that she never "got past" it. There was a quote in the book, and I can't remember who said it or the exact wording, but the idea was that time doesn't heal grief it just makes living more bearable.

People who haven't directly experienced this can't understand why, if I talk about my brother 15 years later, I still will tear up. Suicide takes one life and destroys  many. I have a wonderful husband, a good life, three terrific children, but always over my head hangs that black cloud. Part of me will always be broken.

So in the midst of missing my dad, reliving my brother's death, catching my husband smoking--yep, putting that right in the same category--I found myself in a depression out of which I could not snap. "Think positive thoughts," "Choose to be happy," "Count your blessings." I did all of those things and still found it was an effort to smile. What do you do about that? I prayed, read, prayed, willed my despair to go away, begged God to lift it, and finally, when I found myself feeling like maybe the world would be better off without me, went to the doctor. Don't get me wrong; I wasn't suicidal. I would never destroy the people I love that way, but I found myself wondering why I was here when I wasn't bringing any good to anyone.

After telling all of this stuff to the doctor, taking the same mental health screener I used to administer, I was prescribed a "anti-depressant/mood stabilizer," and joined the ranks of the medicated. I have only taken the pill for a few days now and can't say that I notice any difference. I feel less sad, but not exactly happy. I feel some hope. Is it the drug? I don't know. Maybe. I think it is the knowledge that I have taken a step to get better rather than actually being better. I'll take it. Whatever it is. Today, I smiled without forcing it.

3 comments:

  1. Oooo, what'd they give you? My coterie of pals have mad experience in the field of mental health medication (shocking, no?). Or would you rather just be surprised? We're all here for you. Just 400 or so miles away. Road trip?

    Oh, and I never hear that phone ring since it's on vibrate to avoid going off during a Monkey Girl nap. Email me and I'll give you my work cell phone #.

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  2. I can't say I know your specific pain, and my heart breaks for you because I cannot imagine, but I do understand what was said about time not healing grief, but making it more bearable. That is so very true. You are in my heart, thoughts & prayers always.

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