I use to absolutely hate when anyone would post “3 months since so-and-so passed” or any type of anniversary post when it came deaths. It would drive me insane that someone would track an anniversary of an event that you’re supposed to just move past.
But now I know and now I celebrate. It isn’t dwelling on the months that passed. It’s celebrating the months I survived. Each month I bathed, went to work, ate, and decided to live.
I’ve survived 2 years now since my sister’s heart gave in to her many ailments. I’ve survived, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. I loved my sister more than anything in this world, but I hated her. Our mother constantly pitted us against each other in her own sick way of watching us fight for her approval- a cheap shot at parenting and a lazy way to encourage us to achieve more. Dusti spent way more time with Dawn than I could stand, their many mental illnesses danced around each other in harmony. Screaming and telling me they had wished I was dead was a popular sport for them.
When Dawn died, I felt free. I could breathe and didn’t have to wait around for the day her body finally gave in to meth she “didn’t” do. I didn’t have to worry about her ruining my wedding day or asking for money while I was trying to build a life of my own. I was free of the Russian roullete she played with the phone- one day calling to say she loved me, but the next phone call was to say I was the worst thing that had ever happened to her.
But when Dusti died, I died too. My heart felt grief for losing my sister, essentially my baby. I took care of her, though from a distance. I made the decisions for her. I managed her money. I looked over her through various small outlets. But my heart also felt guilt for what wasn’t. I felt guilt for her illnesses, her multiple personality disorder that she clearly developed from years of abuse from Dawn after I had run away. I felt like an asshole for her not being in my home, though she often threatened me physically. I felt like I had failed her by not dropping everything I had worked hard for and just pretending that the idea of her living with me was fool proof and sensible.
I started a whole new battle. My body and mind gave in to the crippling anxiety, depression, and soon PTSD. I ate to feel better. I ate myself 30 pounds heavier. I gave myself persistent heart burn for the first time. My skin even changed, developing acne for the first time since high school. My back hurt worse than ever. My hair became unruly and my skin is riddled with stretch marks. So many stretch marks.
I was in and out of my doctor’s office for weeks. I’d make early appointments before work and cry to him about my symptoms. My first appointment, he and his daughter (who also worked there), had read the article in the Sun Herald that Justin had written about my sister passing. They both embraced me with hugs and devoted so much time to helping me.
I wasn’t sleeping. When I was sleeping, I was having dreams of being trapped by my mother in different situations- blunt but symbolic as well. I was screaming and tossing around the bed, keeping Jacob up all night as well. I had no motivation to do anything in the realm of personal hygiene, socializing, or any task for that matter. I couldn’t bear to leave the house. Putting on my clothes that didn’t fit anymore was worse than staying home. Loud noises triggered me to panic, a particularly hard symptom for a live music lover. Picking up the phone to answer phone calls was absolute torture- a weird one for me since I was a social butterfly once upon a time.
I didn’t want to be alive. It wasn’t this morbid situation where I envisioned just offing myself. It was more or less just not wanting to exist. It was wanting to not be a burden to others anymore and not wanting to deal anymore. I literally welcomed the idea of going to sleep one night and not waking up again. Having all of the symptoms I was facing was rendering me helpless and tired, and I just wanted it to be over. There was no hope. That’s what suicidal is, by the way. Remember that next time. It’s a lack of hope, not a desire to kill oneself.
I kept mostly to myself. That’s a very common symptom to someone with depression or PTSD. You can google it- if you care to know. But there are people that still hold it against me. There are people that think that God can fix me. But God can’t fix me. He can walk with me as I work hard for myself. My true path is the path I choose to be a better me, with or without whoever I choose. I practice my faith how I feel best. And that’s okay for me. And it’s okay with you too.
I’m glad to say that now, I’m better. I attend three different therapies. It’s hard enough to tell someone that I attend therapy, but, here I am, telling you now, I see three different therapists, each offering a different management that I need. It’s nice to have them check my vitals, recommend anti-depressants that could help with the lack of motivation and blue days. It’s also nice to have someone justify my feelings and help me pin point why I struggle with the things I do. It’s a work in progress. I still fight every day to not only do the basic daily tasks, but to work above and beyond. Being high functioning and depressed is work. I want to be perfect but I tell myself I’ll never be. But I’m willing to fight the internal dialogue that plaques me.
I can go places now that I know that I can handle being in a crowd. My clothes fit a little better since finally finding a Crossfit gym where their focus isn’t being the best of the best, it’s about being the best you. I can control my emotions without suppressing myself or compromising my values. I still cry a good bit but in more appropriate situations. I have hope now, for myself, my body, and my future.
I have survived 2 years.