Hit Me Softly: Go Gently into that Good Day

I had finally leveled every brick in the wall I had been building my entire life. And although the adult in me knew better, the teenager in me lay beneath the rubble, angry, raged at the father who died and left me alone. Alone with a stepmother whose addiction and pain I was far too young to understand or handle. Alone with those who would take everything he worked so hard for away from his only child. Alone to navigate through the fall down the rabbit hole from an upper middle class life to near poverty. Always alone. Always struggling. Knowing there was a better way to live and confused as to how to obtain it. I was exhausted in spirit and flesh. I loved him dearly; missed him incredibly. And I knew. I knew now, as a mother, that he never dreamed he would go so soon. That he thought he had time. Time to get everything in order so I wouldn’t be without. Time to show me the ropes. Time for him was not to be. I wept for the time we needed and didn’t get. I wept for the grandchildren he would never hold. I wept for his voice that I couldn’t hear anymore. And finally let anger go.

When I returned to my room after group therapy that day, I found out that my roommate was in ICU – having attempted suicide.

I would not see her again for the remainder of my stay.

Sunshine Clouds 1Ernie brought my daughters to see me – especially on Halloween. He had remembered it was my favorite day to share with my girls. He also went into my room at the house, opened the bottom drawer of my dresser, removed all the bills that I had systematically placed in it to “be paid later” and paid them all.

For weeks (months?) I had been taking my bills, opening the drawer, and placing them inside. Sure that I’d be able to pay them “soon.” Soon never came. About two months before my emotional breakdown, I had applied for bankruptcy – for $1200 worth of debt. It might as well have been $12,000.

I found out the reason my period stopped. Indeed, my tubes had been tied after my last daughter was born, so I knew I wasn’t pregnant.  It stopped because I had lost so much weight that I had no body fat and my reproductive system was shutting down.  My body had been trying to warn me that something was wrong.

I began to sleep better. I began to eat better. I began to feel sort of, kind of, somewhat whole.

Sunshine Clouds 2

One evening when I was sitting in the lounge area, a nurse came in and told me that my “husband” was in the lobby and wanted to see me. “Husband?” Curious, I followed her to the lobby.

My {second} ex-husband, along with his new wife, had stopped by the house and were told I was at Charter Oak. By this time, I had been there seven weeks.

“Is there anything I can do?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “Perhaps if you had taken your visitation with the girls more seriously and came ALL of the times that you could have. Perhaps, just maybe, if you had paid child support – what little I asked for – on time and faithfully. Perhaps, if you had been the father I thought you were, despite the disappointment you were as a husband. Perhaps if you were more considerate and didn’t come here tonight with one of the women you cheated on me with. The one who finally gave you the son you always wanted. Perhaps, those things would have helped. But, now, no, there isn’t anything you can do for me.” And I walked away and back to my room, leaving him scorched by my words. Words left unsaid for far too long. Words the good girl had kept to herself in her attempt to handle it all.

Sunshine Clouds 3

After that I knew that I had healed enough to move out and move on.

As much as I didn’t want to be at Charter Oak. As much as I wanted to be home with my daughters and back to a normal routine, somehow I had instinctively known that I needed to be there. I needed to get better because I wasn’t ever coming back. I would not be a repeat patient.

At the end of eight weeks, I checked out of Club Med and went home.

Everyone is unique; everyone goes through their journey alone. This was my initiation to depression. You may read about Katherine Mitchell’s journey here. You may also read Allie’s journey here and here.

The aftermath and final thoughts on depression here.

8 comments

  1. Since I live with depression, Robin, I’m glad your story ended well (ie. i know how it could have gone). You are fortunate to have gotten the help you needed and to be able to afford it (via insurance) – I always worry about people who either don’t have access to resources or can’t afford it. It’s good you are writing about it, maybe it will help others – because one thing I know for sure is that you can’t resolve it alone or by trying to bottle it up.

  2. Thank you, Valerie, for being brave enough to join the conversation. It is of great interest and with much appreciation that you’ve mentioned uncandidly that you “live with depression.” Indeed, that is all we can really do — live with it — and use whatever tools we have to get through those moments (or days). I touch upon this in my following post as I attempt to wrap up (somewhat) this mini-series on my journey with depression. Blessings.

  3. I again honour you Robin for sharing your truth. We do need to let go the stigma of such a real issue so that everyone can get the help they need. Again I think your fluid writing leaves us all in the grip of it’s narrative.

    • I think what helps in the sharing of it now is time. Time may not necessarily heal all wounds, but time does give depth and perspective. Thank you for leaving a comment, it’s SO appreciated.

  4. There is so much courage here, Robin. Your honest, truthful and beautifully written words will inspire so many others.

  5. Robin, I am so glad I read your story. All this time I never fully knew from where you came. I think it is remarkable what you have been through. Reading it tugged at me and made me weep from the pain you endured and also because I can empathize with you on some levels. Right now, I am in the midst of the counseling and the medication. The good news is, I am finding myself. Since childhood I have been under the dark spell of depression. Not on a constant basis, but like you wrote, it can come and go, tripping you up and bring you down. Then comes the hormones (or lack thereof) and your brain chemicals put you in a tailspin and all of the past and hardships crumble you. I was not aware until the recent past how clouded my life has been because of it. It is painful to think “my life could have been so different” without it but I continue to move forward. I can say that the ‘best’ part of this journey has been the realization that I could not heal without putting all of my trust in the Lord and drawing near to Him, the release from it and the renewing of my mind (which is a non-stop daily awareness and effort of relying on Him). The worst part is realizing how much depression causes one to focus on themselves, which I have grown tired of. I thank you and admire you and your courage to write about it and share your pain with others who are feeling the same way. Your sharing is helping others and that is part of the good that has come out of it. We are both so very blessed to have the amazing husbands that we have who, without their support, it would be so different. (It makes me love the both of them even more!) Most importantly, I can testify that my healing has and continues to come from Christ, who strengthens me. Love you lots.

    • At the time it was all happening, I can’t honestly say that I “prayed” like I normally was used to doing and do now. However, I knew God was with me and He knew what was in my heart. My walk with My Lord has always been a quiet one, but it’s always run deep. Thank you for your sincere words here. They are really appreciated –> and, yes, we are truly blessed in more ways than we will ever be able to measure. Blessings, Dearheart.

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