About a week ago I posted a very bleak, dark blog about my struggles with my own darkness, I know no other way to describe it, and the constant struggle to find the light. Some days I don’t see the darkness, but on other days it can be all consuming.
Two weekends back we spent a lovely day out with friends, our beautiful girl was drinking and eating solids like an absolute champion and I am so unbelievably proud of her progress and accomplishments, yet, there in the middle of a fantastic time in a busy restaurant I was consumed by my darkness. She refused to finish a bottle and I immediately panicked and had visions of hospitals, surgeries, regression and a thousand other irrational thoughts and fears. I couldn’t maintain composure. In a public place I ‘lost it’. The look of shame on my husbands face, the horror and embarrasment on my friends faces, it shattered me. In a single moment I had single handedly ruined a fantastic day for everyone. I had upset my daughter, I had disapointed my husband and I had embarassed my friends, not to mention what those near enough to hear must have thought of my parenting skills. I had placed everyone in a terrible and uncomfortable position and I knew it, but I couldn’t stop it from happening. I was so deeply ashamed and it was finally time to accept that I cannot conquer my demons alone. We all need help from time to time, it doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human.
In the week following this we went away as a family for a mini holiday. It was what my soul needed to reflect on what I had allowed my life to become, to consider what my options were going forward if I didn’t make drastic changes, and what those changes needed to be.
I realised that a lot needs to change in my life. I’d lost myself in the past few years. My shitty pregnancy, illness and C’s early birth were not the start of the issues, and while they were most certainly a massive collective contribution towards the present situation, they were not the start, but they have certainly become the crutch to which I am unwittingly clinging to.
It’s time for a change though, and to approach life with a different perspective, to begin focusing on the positives instead of the negatives of the past. To appreciate the blessings instead of embracing the darkness when it encroaches.
So, as I selfishly sit in the sun, on my own, enjoying a few free minutes to myself over a hot cuppacino, I am compiling a list. This list is varied, it contains wrongs I need to right, things I need to change, things I need to accept as being beyond my control. This is my life afterall, our life in fact, and I am in the drivers seat.
I’m under no illusion that the darkness won’t rear it’s ugly head still from time to time, probably more often than I’d like to admit, but I realise that is a part of the healing process. It is how I handle it’s presence that will make all the difference.
Yesterday I found myself meeting one of my greatest sources of hurt and fears face to face, quite literally. And while I could have embraced all the hurt and pain that I now associated with this one person I chose to move forward. The situation is what it is, what is done is done, no further anger or animosity would change our current situation, all it would do would add further fuel to fire the darkness. And so I accepted that we are all human, we are all flawed, we all make mistakes and decisions we will come to regret. I accepted that we need empathy, for ourselves and for others and that letting go was the only way of moving forward. That is exactly what I did, I walked away, feeling lighter, brighter and more positive. It was honestly incredibly exhilirating and refreshing. It felt good to finally let go of a great source of hurt.
Depression, Post Partum, PTSD, these labels are there to assist us in diagnosing and addressing our problems, they shouldn’t be used as justification for our choices and actions though, something I’ve found myself doing in recent months. The grip they hold on our psyche is immense and it is so very easy to be all consumed in them, but we are in control of our own destination, we are responsible for the consequences of embracing them instead of fighting them.
Holding onto the guilt of our past actions won’t take us forward though. We are only able to change the present and the future. And so I will take it one step at a time, to find the path that I have wandered so far from. One moment and memory at a time. I need to do this, not only for myself, but for my daughter, for my husband and for our family.
So I start with a cup of coffee, a call to a specialist and maybe even a lick of paint to a wall in the house to make it feel more like our home, definately a kiss and a tender moment or 5 with my daughter and husband to let them know how very loved they are and a promise to myself to not allow me to wander from the path again. If and when I stumble I’ll need to step back quickly, before I get lost in the darkness again.
One step at a time.