She asked me when the wheels came off and I couldn’t pinpoint it. In summary, months was the answer to the timetable. Something had happened, but what? We started retracing my steps. I broke down when I recounted the month of October and that was when she stopped and set the paper and pen down.
“Stephanie, trauma is not linear. It never goes away. Some days you’re in acceptance, others you’re going to find yourself right back in the grief. You were exposed to your trauma. You faced your abuser down in Court and then you isolated yourself away where it was safe.”
I told her what I thought I did wrong or should have done better, or at least different. I talked about all the digestive issues, my hair falling out, the fatigue —oh my god THE FATIGUE, the brain fog… the break up.
“Be gentle with yourself.”, she says.
I thought it was a prudent reminder that I could work into my DBT/CBT skills. I must confess that since putting this into practice, I have lost count of how many times I’ve had to use it and it hasn’t even been 12 hours.
I also kept my promise to journal.
“People talk about depression all the time. The difference between depression and sadness is sadness is just from happenstance—whatever happened or didn’t happen for you, or grief, or whatever it is. Depression is your body saying f*ck you, I don’t want to be this character anymore, I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me.
You should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.”
Got to have all my kids under one roof and all to myself, laughter abound.
Almost a year ago now, my then boyfriend, didn’t come to Thanksgiving dinner. The following week he was dealing with the blues. The following week, he would go with me to put Takoda down and they had been best buddies. Trying to think of anything that I could do, I got up and went to the garage in my pajamas, only to come back, stand on my bed and string up a strand of multi-colored Christmas lights. I smiled and proudly said, “TADA! There’s Christmas lights and you can’t be sad under Christmas lights.” It didn’t matter to him. He called them “cheap dollar store lights”, laughed at them and rolled over and went to sleep. That was the last time he was ever in my home, room, bed …
Within the coming month, with EX making a reappearance and strides in the kids life, I welcomed the distraction from my broken heart and settled into to doing what I do. EX didn’t have a car, so I would drive him to NA meetings, the clinic, therapy. As the holidays were getting closer, the kids began to hint and suggest, that instead of EX staying at a shelter, he could stay with us and rent the unoccupied room in the basement and despite my better judgment, I made the offer. I asked EX to keep me company while I wrapped presents in my room Christmas Eve while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”. At some point, EX looked at me and said, “Damn, Steph, you look so beautiful in the Christmas lights” and when I looked up to tell him “Nice line/try” he was crying. He said, “This moment, right here, right now, with the kids all under one roof, us wrapping presents and the way you look under those lights, is my favorite moment, ever. Thank you for it, Steph”
A kid with the initials “B.J.” is obviously not. THAT is irony.