Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm Still Here

Once again, my friends, I am overwhelmed. After removing this post this morning, as I had said I would, I had some time for reflection... And you know what? I've decided to leave it up.
Thank you for receiving my "news" with such overwhelming kindness and generosity of spirit. I received many, many lovely comments and emails yesterday, that lifted my spirits and truly made me feel that I am most definitely NOT alone. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I have saved every, single one, and will no doubt, be re-reading them often, in the days and weeks to come.

xoxo CGF

* * * * *

This is the post I've been avoiding.

The post where I try to explain where I've been, lo' these past many weeks.

And it's hard.

Because, as I mentioned several months ago, just as all hell around me was beginning to break loose: I don't "do" the needy, depressed, self-indulgent thing, as a rule. On the rare occasions that I do, I have a really, really hard time admitting that I'm feeling needy and depressed, except to my very closest circle of friends.

And, even with those friends... I have an even harder time admitting when what I really need is HELP.

I was brought up by two of the most wonderful, stoic and steadfast people on the planet. My parents were, and continue to be, pillars of strength. To be truthful, I never once saw them waver, throughout my entire childhood. They brought me up with the intention of empowering me with my own sense of strength. I have always striven to be the sort of grown-up that my parents wanted me to be... and worked so hard to shape me to be.

It's a wonderful thing, to know that you are Strong. It is a gift, to have a family that raises you up to believe that you can do anything, endure anything, survive anything. It makes you bold. It makes you confident. And it has helped to make me as a pretty well-adjusted (for the most part), happy person.

But, as it has turned out, lo' these past few months, I am not actually as strong as I thought I was. And even more amazingly, admitting that fact has not resulted in a cataclysmic end-of-the-world scenario.

My own little family and I have been through quite a time. It has actually been slowly spiralling downward for a little over a year now. When something like this happens, it often begins almost imperceptibly. You do your best to believe that things will get better, then make up your mind to carry on. You put out the little fires around you, scuff the dirt over them a bit, and keep going. Sure, there's some soot left on your shoes, but it's hardly noticeable to anyone around you.

The trouble is, sometimes those little fires don't go out completely. Sometimes they burst back into flames again, and with each larger recurrence, it gets harder and harder to put them out. Your feet get burned, and your hands, too. It hurts. But, if you're like me, you don't want to let on to anybody that you can't handle the pain and anxiety it's causing you.

The massive wildfire of the economic crisis is now blazing out-of-control in the United States, and the repercussions are affecting the entire world. It's been like watching a long, slow-motion train-wreck, with no caboose in sight. My husband and I are spent from the stress and exhaustion of trying to maintain our small family business during this terrible time. As things have become more and more irrational and negative in this world of ours, so has our own "little life".

The struggle we have been waging to stay afloat has taken a terrible toll on my physical and emotional health. It has also taken a toll on our marriage. And no matter how hard we try to hide our feelings and fears, all of this has taken a toll on our children, as well.

It has not been a happy time.

Being scared wears you down. Living in constant fear of the unknown-- fear of things that are happening around you that are completely beyond your control-- inevitably steals from your ability to be strong, or even to feign strength. I don't care if you're on Wall Street, or, like us, The Little Guy, trying to eke out a decent living in The Great White North.

Living this way eventually wears you down to the point where you just can't do it anymore.

It wore me down to the point where I "caved" by the end of the summer. The "role" I had been playing simply became too hard to portray anymore. The load became too heavy to carry by myself.

I went to my parents' home, handed over my three little girls, and lay down.

I couldn't get up again for nearly a week.

During those seven days, I really needed help. And I got it-- I got the compassion and support that I so desperately needed. Not just from my mum and dad, but from several close, trusted friends, as well.

It's been a long road "back". And I know in my heart that I'm probably nowhere near my actual destination... But I hope I'm on the right path-- for now, at least. There may well be a few unexpected detours in my future, still. I'll just have to wait and see.

Physically, I'm doing better. I've gained back some of the 25 pounds that "worried" off of me, almost imperceptibly (to me, at least). I've got a few more grey hairs, but at least it's not falling out anymore.

Emotionally, it's still a bit touch-and-go at times. But, with the tremendous support of the circle that I was able to "let-in" on my troubles, I'm getting there. I'm talking about it a bit more, and not feeling as though admitting that the panic and fear that I carry is such a colossal failure in my own character. I'm not just living day-to-day anymore, but minute-to-minute, and second-to-second. And I'm really trying hard to forgive myself for having to exist this way, for now.

I used to be the five-year-planner... The person who could always be depended upon to arrange things, and take up causes, and throw major events... Now, I'm teaching myself to be "okay" with letting other people take up these mantles, and cutting myself a break. I don't have to be The One, anymore.

I'm concentrating on other things, instead.

On a course that I'm taking, which will qualify me to be a specialized teacher of people with learning disabilities (I hope to be able to begin taking students before Christmas).

On my children, who continue to be my life's delight, and who are thrilled that mummy's smile is being seen a lot more frequently these days (hell, who WOULDN'T smile at a four-year-old who is loudly singing the new Sunday School hymn, "He's Got The Whole World In His Pants"?!)

On my family, who have been more supportive than I ever could have imagined... And most especially my brother, who has, at long last, ended his world-travels and now lives a blissfully short distance away (let all the Little Girlies in residence say, "SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!"... and this Big Girl, too, actually...)

And, last but not least, I'm trying to concentrate a little bit more on Me.

Myself, The Person. Not just "The Mum", or "The Wife", or even "The One Who Cooks and Cleans and Drives and Does The Laundry". But rather, The Person I used to be before all of this-- the one with interests and ideas, and needs of her own. Maybe needs that I never even realized I had. Amazingly-- to me, anyway-- needs that are important, and deserve to be fulfilled.

It's all still strange and unfamiliar territory, these days.

And more than a little bit scary, sometimes.

But, I'm still me.

I'm still here.


I've run the gamut, A to Z,
Three cheers, and dammit,
C'est la vie!
I got through all of last year... And I'm here...
Lord knows at least I was There,
And I'm Here! Look who's Here!

9 comments:

Leeann said...

You know, you could have written this for me (and a lot of other Mom's, I'm beginning to suspect.)
Please know that you aren't alone and that the feeling of the world closing in around you happens to some us, too.
I'm glad you're on your "way back up" and that you trust all your readers enough to share this level of deeply personal writing. It's comforting to know that other Mom's are weathering the same storm. Even if we don't have the courage to voice it.

canape said...

You are brave to voice it, even if only for 12 hours. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I'm sorry it has been so difficult lately, but I'm glad to hear you are on the road back.

Much love to you and all the girlies.

shawn said...

I'm very glad YOU'RE still here ... and guess what ... the here, where you are is not unlike the here that many of us find ourselves in ...

In the United Church we begin our creed of faith with the words - "we are NOT alone ..." While I don't feel particularly welcomed nor connected in the UCC any more, the sentiment of being connected to circles of love, care and ultimately family remains ...

YOU are NOT alone ... many of us have been in that place of fear, weakness and uncertainty ... and we've journeyed forward one wondrous step at a time ...

Thanks for your honesty ... thanks for your candour ... and know that as you move forward - YOU ARE NOT (nor have you ever been) ALONE.

And you are still remarkably strong, because only the truly strong can admit to thier weakness and do something about it ...

... I've known THAT about you for over 20 years ... and that's what makes you a marvelous human being!!

painted maypole said...

i'm glad you're here, and of course, you do know "owe" us an explanation at all."He's Got The Whole World In His Pants" my prayers continue for your here and now, second by second, healin and restoration and rediscovery.

and even though I had tears in my eyes "He's Got The Whole World In His Pants" made me laugh out loud.

mrinz said...

I am so pleased that you are still here, and not only just hanging in there but moving along with your life.

I too have stamped out a few fires along the way and unfortunately they also burst out again and had to be deal to at a later date!

Great to hear that your brother is back home again - family are so very important.

lots of love
xxxx
Dorna

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Thanks so much for sharing this post, although I will say too that you owe absolutely NO ONE an explanation. You have to remember that emails you receive are only from concerned people :)

You have been through a really rough road and it sounds like you can see the end, which is good.

I wish there was something I could do to help!

Thinking of you....

xo
MTM
P.S. I'm curious as to where your brother is living and what he's up to these days! The girlies must be SO excited to have their Uncle back in town! I know how much they love and adore him. How could they not?!

shawn said...

Don't under estimate the strength it takes to admit to one's weakness and one's vulnerability ...

I'm glad you chose to leave this beautiful and poetic posting up ... they are words that ring true for YOU, and for many others who have found themselves running hard aground the shoals of life ... often as a result of things way beyond thier control.

You've uttered a truth amidst your words ... that everyone has moments like this, and everyone needs OTHERS to get through it ... you were blessed to have your family ... and we've been blessed by your candour and your openess and the eloquence of your words ...

Keep moving forward "old" girl ... one step at a time ... be strong, get well, be whole ...

Nan said...

In the early 80s, we had a "Crash" here. My dad's business went bust along with many others, and things were very weird. Stuff was sold, (dad's boat!) and I saw my parents fight for the only time. We kids were old enough to understand what was going on, and young enough to be selfish and miserable. When I look back now, I am really grateful for the lessons we learned: we had been spoiled private-school kids, with EVERYTHING. We learned that you don't need the stuff. I hated ballet anyway. So much was sold and lost. We watched my parents build up a new business, and helped. We worked really hard! It made us stronger and more resilient. I am so sorry about what your family is going through now, but your girls will look at you, as I did my Mum, and see that when the going gets tough, tough women do a course and make changes. They will learn to appreciate their lifestyle. This comment is pretty badly written but I hope you get what I'm trying to say! Everything will be okay.

shauna said...

Sweetheart, I'm so sorry to hear that you've been having such a hard time for such a long time. Like LeeAnn said, this could've been my post. I have struggled with fear for YEARS! It's just been lately that I've decided that I'm done. I can't do fear anymore. I don't know if it's that easy, but I'm going to try and replace the fear with hope. We can journey together!

Love you to pieces!
Shauna

 
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