I would take it all back. I would lose everything. I would give anything. I would sacrifice it all to find my way back. Back to ignorance. Back to being asleep. Back to the shadowland.
How does one grieve a life?
7 months ago, my life had trajectory. I did normal things. I had plans.
I was moving in with someone I love.
I was choosing to stay.
I had peace.
I was applying for grad school.
I was going out with friends. (Ahhhh summer)
I was anxious sometimes, but I had found control.
I was talking about buying houses.
I was talking about getting dogs.
I was talking about future plans.
I was secure.
I was stable.
For two seconds, after a long and hard-fought battle with anxiety and depression…for two seconds I had peace. I had climbed the mountain. I was just admiring the view.
Then June 28th happened. It is now one of those days that is a scar on my timeline. My body will remember with weariness on those anniversaries. My soul will never forget.
It is so easy to grieve a life lost. The weight of this shadow is like Atlas’s.
The dark has become unbearably dark….
Or has it?
The greatest thing I have learned in 7 months is this: Look for the light.
Find the light even if it is a dim wisp within a blackened night.
On June 28th, I had my first flashback. I hallucinated faces. Memory became reality and reality became blurred. Within the flashback, I ended up screaming out to Mark, “Call Katie, call my therapist”.
The first ray of light.
Katie has been my therapist for 4 years. She saw me through my first adult panic attack, through the initial phases of my deconstruction, through healing my shamed ideas of sexuality, and through age 24-27…this woman has seen some shite. She is the reason I decided to be a therapist. She helped lead my traumatized mind through healing its symptoms so the root issue could come to the surface. She’s changed my life and I do not say that lightly.
A therapist does not fix everything; you are required to do the work within yourself. However, a good therapist can help guide you through that work and be a shoulder to lean on when it gets murky. Katie is a good therapist. Katie changed me. I want to be a therapist like Katie.
Katie answers the phone at 10pm. She listens to me and begins to ask me questions, helping me “ground” myself for the very first time. She asked me to find reality to ground to. I grounded to Mark, and he held me tight while I deciphered reality from flashback. Katie helped Mark all the way to the ER room. She helped me in the most terrifying moment of my life. Mark helped me in the most terrifying night of my life.
Rays of light.
Mark and I sat in the ER waiting for a Behavioral Specialist to come in. I was reeling with the information within my head. One foot was still locked in the terror of the past and one foot had already skipped to the future. I had already begun grieving a life that was exploding before my eyes.
I knew even that night to grieve. The darkness began clinging. I knew sitting on that hospital bed that no matter what, my life had changed permanently.
I had begged anyone who would listen to me that I did not want a male doctor. I was terrified of any male I encountered except Mark, because he was my grounded reality.
Yet when the male behavioral specialist walked in, I immediately knew I was safe. His presence was like a healing balm while my mind reeled.
Mark left the room.
And I told the therapist what happened to me.
I told him what I saw.
I told him what my mind was saying was true.
I told him it couldn’t be true.
Something must have broke.
Something must be imbalanced.
This cannot be real.
And he listened.
He then helped me find a way back to my body.
I know the terms now.
He helped me reassociate.
He helped me feel safe.
And then he told me I had a wise mind. He told me my mind takes care of me well. He told me I had a wise mind.
I don’t remember the rest of the night. Once I had told my story, everything shut off. I had given everything I had.
The next morning, I looked at my discharge sheet from the hospital. Written in clear words at the top were the following.
“Read The Body Keeps the Score, but only when you are ready,
Trust your WISE mind”
Two therapists. One Mark. Three glowing stars on the blackest night of my existence.
When I begin to grieve for my life that I’ve lost, I allow the grief to wash over me like a gentle stream, flowing through my wounds. Feeling heals us. I allow myself to feel.
But then I find the light. I trust my wise mind. I trust the light within myself. I find the stars to guide me.
My life is completely different than it was 7 months ago. It is okay for me to grieve this.
Nonetheless, I will find the light EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. In this new life I choose to live. Life is the messiest, most painful, and most beautiful thing we get to do. I am going to live mine looking for the light.
Thank you for being a part of this light. I don’t even know if anyone is truly following along in this journey, but if you are… thanks for your light. Thank you for spoken and unspoken moments. I hope even a whisper of these words can be light to you.
Look for the light.