You know the feeling… the feeling of raw, unfelt, emotion.
Messy. Tear-stained. Snot-filled. Emotion.
It is what makes me curl up with my knees hugged close to my chest… like the fetal position sitting up.
I hadn’t felt that way for a long time. Months. I almost forgot.
The feeling isn’t a bad feeling. Painful. Hard. Aching.
But it isn’t negative, because I am feeling.
Anorexia is about not feeling.
Anorexia is feeling hunger to avoid feeling emotional pain.
And Monday night was not anorexia – it was life. Life hurts. But life also heals.
Monday night I got the call from a dear friend, more of a “little sister” type person, who I have cared for, listened to, and carried emotionally over YEARS. I’ve feared for her life more than her. Loved her enough for her to be mad at me. And the last months have been TOUGH.
Monday she called me to say goodbye because she was going to check herself in to the psych hospital.
Once, only once, did my therapist ever suggest that if I didn’t get something turned around, she would have to consider referring me to a psychiatrist. And, don’t get me wrong here, I understand fully and respect immensely those who fight try to fight a battle for a long time only to find out that they needed (not through any fault or lack of their own, but simply because of the hugeness of what they are up against) more support through psychiatry. I admire those people, because I would find it very difficult to accept.
And that day my therapist said to me, “If you really feel that way, we need to look into other options.” It scared the S*** out of me. And it also forced me to question myself. It was a turning point in finding myself.
But back to Monday night.
I cried as I hung up the phone.
I tried to be strong for her. But it hurt. I hurt so bad for her. I was scared with her. I was scared for her little girls, for her husband…
And as I hung up it hit me… heavier and harder than a ton of bricks… My mom went through that.
My mom was admitted to the psychiatric hospital when she was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder. (I just finished studying my chapter on mood disorders so I understand the distinction now.)
It is hard for me to wrap my mind around my mom. My mom who was “normal” according to me until I was 16, only to discover she has bipolar. My mom, who I proceeded to treat and act like nothing had changed for years… My mom, who now I sometimes see as sick and feel guilty for thinking of her that way… My mom, who I’m trying to accept with her illness.
That mom – she was admitted. She lived that horror. She was scared. She didn’t know what was happening.
She never talks about it. She pretends she is perfectly fine now. So does my Dad. I know different.
And I’m always frustrating and trying to accept her as she is – without wondering who she once was.
I can’t figure it out. But one thing I do know, I ache for her more now than ever. I hurt for what she had to go through even if it is blocked from her memory. Because I do know her, and I cried on Monday for that woman I know and love who had to go through that.
Mom, I know I’m not perfect at loving you. I’m still learning. But, Mom, I want to wrap my arms around you and never let anything happen to you again. I adore you. XOXO