A Spirit Story from 2017: Mommy Make IT Go Away!
(Trigger warning: Depression and f-bombs. If you don’t like swear words, my writing isn’t for you.)
“Mom, what are we doing? I mean, what the FUCK are we doing here? Working for…what? With the world this fucked up? What is the point of life?”
Andy asked as he puked in the sink.
I felt like I was going to puke.
In my nervousness, I began to ramble to fill the space that neither one of us wanted to be in.
As I white knuckled the kitchen counter, I said, “I don’t know why we are here. Maybe it’s to learn how to love. How to love ourselves. How to love and serve others better. Maybe it’s for our Soul’s growth. Maybe it’s to work out our karma. Andy…”
He looked tortured.
Like a wounded animal.
“Mom, will I EVER feel better? Will I EVER feel happy again? What the FUCK is wrong with me?” Andy begs me to give him some sort of solace.
Relief from the shitty feelings that he can’t escape–because they are part of him.
The part that is desperate for love and healing.
The room was silent as my husband and I looked at one another in response to Andy’s questions.
“We are here to make the world a better place.” Dad says.
Andy stops and listens. He trusts Dad.
“Andy, just hold on. This is temporary. I promise you will feel better. The sun will shine again. It will.” Even as I say this, I realize my words must sound like complete bullshit.
I took a big breath and said, “I’m not going to try and tell you what to do to make it go away. I think we should just sit in it for a while. Together. Dad and I are here. There are people that love you, Andy.” I say as tears flood my eyes.
Andy pukes again. “I feel like I’m dying.”
On paper, life looks wonderful for my son. It’s like a check list of accomplishments. Being on the honor roll. Check. Finding his passion to become a Police Officer. Check. Getting engaged to the love of his life. Check.
Bullying didn’t break him.
Not having a Dad until he was 10 yrs. old didn’t break him.
Anxiety and depression didn’t break him in the past.
Drugs and alcohol didn’t break him.
Or did they?
All I knew was that “IT” was back again. One year later.
The black mass.
This thing called depression can swallow a man whole. And, it was again…and, again for my son.
Andy continues,”WHY??? I have everything I have ever wanted. EVERYTHING! An amazing family, fiance, school…I’m sober! What was all of it for if I’m going to feel like shit again? I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to do!”
My chest constricted as I listened to my 20 year old ask questions that I knew I couldn’t answer.
This was HIS journey. His feelings just ARE what they ARE.
It wasn’t up to me to decide what they meant.
It wasn’t up to me to try and ‘teach’ him something I learned that helped me in the past.
This was about me being there for him in all his terrifying confusion and NOT knowingness in the moment.
Not letting someone feel their shit makes things worse. This I know.
If I have learned anything, it is not to run from what we are feeling. Not to try to ‘get away’ from the feelings or put on a ‘happy’ face.
I knew this from my own battle with depression.
In order to heal, we have to FEEL what we don’t always want to feel.
In fact, learning to accept whatever comes up speeds up the healing process.
Embracing the yucky, crappy feelings of fear, rage, remorse, guilt, sadness, etc. is vital.
My son’s feelings needed to be felt. Heard. Validated.
And, he needed to figure things out for himself…in his own time.
Andy has an incredible therapist, doctor and family that would lay down and die just to prevent him from feeling this agony ever again.
The hardest part for a parent, though, is that you can’t make it all better for your child like you did when they were babies.
You can’t wipe their nose and rock them to sleep after a fit of tears. You can’t tickle them until they smile that toothless smile.
You can’t make the boogie man go away because it is not in his room, it’s in his head.
There is no guidebook for what to do when your child unexpectedly dives into a black hole.
There is no one tool that can fix your child when she/he/they go ‘there’ in their mind.
That place that we don’t like to talk about.
That place that comes with judgment, diagnosis and labels.
I couldn’t make THIS better. And, it sucked.
All we could do for my son was sit next to him. We didn’t speak much other than to comment on something his cat was doing. We were just present for him in those brutal hours/days.
Occasionally, I rubbed his back…if he let me.
Yes, there are meds, therapeutic techniques, etc., but sometimes, you just have to BE with it.
Whatever ‘it’ is.
And, he was with ‘it’.
I was with ‘it’.
My husband was with ‘it’. His sister was ‘it’. His fiance was with ‘it’.
Thing is, my son’s pain always triggers my own pain.
When I was 20, I WAS Andy.
I felt the sadness of the entire world balled up in my chest. Being an Empath, I was hyper-sensitive to the cruelness of some people and disturbing events going on in the Universe.
So is Andy.
I wasn’t ready to experience the gift of life and believe in the goodness in people…yet.
I felt misunderstood, alone and chose the darkness. I could get lost there for days, months…even years. It was a familiar mixture of being numb and out of my body at the same time.
I was in and out of an extremely abusive relationship when I was Andy’s age.
I was exhausted, too.
Tired in my bones. Tired of the cycles. Tired of trying so hard.
I questioned the ‘why’ of it all, too.
One day I walked into my parent’s kitchen and simply told them, “I don’t want to live.”
I was done. Done with it all.
My parents were devastated.
I, too, had it ALL. A loving family, unconditional support, the ability to become whatever I
wanted to be in this life.
By the ripe old age of 19, I had lost all hope. I couldn’t see the point of it all…just like Andy.
I was sent to a psych ward for two weeks. My Mom made the gut-wrenching decision to keep me ‘safe’ during a very dangerous time. And, she was right. I needed protection from myself.
I had already over-dosed.
I remember the Staff watched me shower so I wouldn’t slit my wrists with my pink shaver.
They confiscated the poinsettia plant that was delivered to me during my “stay”.
They thought I would eat it.
I was ashamed. Embarrassed. Guilty for all the pain I was causing my parents.
I felt fucking nuts. Bat-shit crazy.
Yep, maybe my abusive boyfriend was right. I was just a crazy whore.
Today, I realize that what I was….was broken.
Broken from a world I never fit in.
I had lost a career in dance due to injury.
I had lost my virginity in the backseat of a Chevy at 15 to a boy that beat me hours later for being a ‘slut’.
And, a bitch.
Even though I gave myself to my first love and steady boyfriend.
I was broken from sexual molestation as a child.
I was broken from my rape in college.
I was all set with my short life. Ready to throw the towel in at before my 21st birthday.
Just like my son.
But, he was NOT me.
He was floating in a world of pain, but was doing everything he could to not leave this life. He had no interest in leaving. He just wanted to feel better. He held on, when I gave up.
I was supposed to fall completely apart so I could put myself back together again. It was my path.
His path was HIS.
I had to break wide open in order to survive.
He had to survive in order not to break.
My son has a strength that I didn’t know at his age. He is astounding in ALL ways. His resilience inspires me.
We both handle our depression in different ways. Each way is unique and not “wrong”.
Each way IS the path we are supposed to be on. Call it our destiny, calling, etc.
We were chosen to feel deep pain, so that we could one day help others with their pain.
My son began feeling better after a few weeks. Just as I did when I walked out of the psych ward 30 years ago.
Boy, those were some rough days. Rough thoughts. Rough moments. Luckily, they were temporary.
My son is stronger for this last bout of depression. It led him to begin EMDR therapy with his Mindfulness Psychotherapist. It is changing the entire course of his life in a positive way.
If not for the darkness, perhaps my son would not be the best Cop in the world like I know he will be one day.
Perhaps, my son wouldn’t be able to sympathize with the wounded in a way he can now if he had not experienced such suffering himself.
Perhaps, I wouldn’t have met a Shaman and become a Shamanic Reiki energy healer today.
Perhaps, I wouldn’t have created Sarah’s Safe Houses if I hadn’t experienced domestic violence.
So, we are THANKFUL for the darkness.
And, here we both are. Still here in this life, my son and I.
So, what IS it all for?
I believe we have an opportunity to find our Way in life. To discover how to heal ourselves so we can grow as Spirits and help heal others.
To learn how to turn our pain into power, and our power into passions.
Maybe, being in the darkness is where our power really lies.
Thank you, darkness. Thank you, light.