Living (& Dying) With Depression
I have written with frank honesty about my sister who took her own life. I have written about my mom's struggles with depression and even times she tried to hurt herself when I was young. I am no stranger to these experiences. It hurts so very much to watch a person you love be so vulnerable. It takes a long brutal war to make these thoughts go away. The scars, even if inside, are a permanent sign that they have been ill. Just like the letter "A" that used to be worn by those who wandered out of marriage into someone else's bed.
When I was younger, and my mom was found unconscious in her car, she was "away" for some length of time. I didn't understand where she was, I just knew she was sick. I don't remember how the others dealt with it, but I know it brought my dad some level of shame. That in itself makes us both sad now. I remember him telling me, "I wish you could remember mom the way she used to be." Of course he meant pre-hospital, but he never explains further. I don't need him to.
I think now of how bad things must have been for both her and my sister to take the steps they did to make the dark into light somehow. Even of the illumination was the gates into heaven. Have you ever been in such pitch black that you can't see your own hand in front of your face? I think that is what their hearts felt like.
When my mom finally came home, we had to be quiet. We were told to behave, not give my mom problems. It gave this little girl the feeling that her illness was my fault. That is a terrible burden to carry when you are 8. I am so sorry for my mom. How it must have hurt her to see her kids raise themselves. My sister trying to get me ready for school, the older siblings did some to help, but mostly we were on our own. But I didn't want to be alone. That isn't how kids are wired. But it happens. Standing solo just doesn't feel good. In fact, I stood taller the more scared I was.
For all the families with any form of mental illness, I feel so sorry for you. I know the world you reside, and it isn't an admirable address.
And if your parent is sick, be kind, and know they don't want to be that way. If you love someone with heart disease, do you get angered at them when they can't run? But why should there be shame of any kind because there may be a chemical imbalance in a brain? There isn't. It is just a form of illness that carries a stigma. That is what we should be ashamed of as a society. Not the illness, but the response and the painful feeling of disgrace carried with it.
A child watching an ambulance carry her mom away. It was so very sad. I was in a place of solus and worried my mom would never come home. Now, she hurts no more. She has no worries, no grief, or disgrace she is ashamed of. And when my dad says "I wish you can remember mom when she was well." I think to myself, I do remember dad. I see her healthy and smiling, and alive. If only in my heart.