I have obviously been
walking, trudging down crawling along this path for a long while now. There were bucketloads of tears those first years, cry me a river now actually means something other than some fancy song lyrics to me.
You wonder if you are going to one day wake up and crumble in the sheets, a dusty pile of what was once vibrant life. But, it does “get better” those tears do eventually become fewer. For someone like me, who prided herself on not being “girly” or “soft” I didn’t cry a lot. I was a farmer. It was tough. Some days you were bone weary, in the pouring rain, hauling calves out of the mud, warming them and feeding them, milking their poor swollen mothers’ sore udders, or trying to help a poor heifer with temporary calving paralysis, just wanting to go home, get clean and collapse into bed, but that was hours off yet, absolutely buggered, emotionally and physically. I had broken in tough youngsters for the racetrack, taken my share of spills. I had my head split open twice playing hockey. I had fronted to hospital – getting myself there – after being brutally raped by someone I knew and trusted – endured the internal and external stitching, swabbing, testing of my poor, virginal, ripped bits, without a tear shed, yes I went home and wept, but I didn’t in front of those caring hospital staff, and police, they were too kind. Plenty of other life stuff. I was one tough MOFO! Yes, I felt a lot of stuff very deeply, and a few watery seepings could be witnessed in the dark of a movie theatre, or in the privacy of my own company, but I rarely cried publicly. I cried publicly far too much in those early days, I had no filter, no floodgate mechanism, the spillway was open and filling up fast. It embarrassed me – not with close friends, certainly not with Roger, he was my betrayer, but he was also my comforter and healer – at first, but when I couldn’t seem to get a handle on it later, or when it was someone, or something “inappropriate” I would feel deep shame at my lack of control! So, I learned to stay in. I learned to hide my agony from the world, they were scared of it, and more embarrassed than I was. At least I understood the pain, and the reason for the tears, no one else could. I haven’t cried outside of my own bed for a while now. I did the other night coming home from uni.
There is a well-known (knighted, in fact) ex sports star in our country, who was a tough guy, very good at what he did, very outwardly successful. He “came out” – no, he is not gay – a few years ago, publicly about his battles with the Black Dog. The Mental Health Foundation asked him if he would be prepared to help front a series of TV and print ads about mental health, most specifically depression and its group of fabulous companions, BPD, etc. There were some other famous faces involved, mostly everyday people telling their story, but also some people famous in the arts – somehow it is still more acceptable to the public to suffer mental ill-health if you are “artistic” than if you are “athletic.” He hesitated at first, then dived right in. See, he suffered from depression. It first hit him at the peak of his athletic prowess, he was doing well, the best at what he did in the world even, and he all of a sudden felt that Black Dog. He talked about it openly, and so very eloquently and with great empathy, for himself, and for fellow sufferers, for the first time. Then he wrote a memoir, which included all of the fabulous parts of his international life, his lovely family, all he had achieved, but also the depression, and his struggle to understand “why me, why now,” and all of those wonderful things. He is a full time professional coach, a pretty good one, but he also finds the time to front these ad campaigns, and is the face and voice of the depression self-help tool on the MHF’s website.
I was driving home, going through my usual mental checklists, kids, sports practices, dinner, grocery shopping, horse feed, milk, what exam is next, where did I put the study guide, check…….. when his voice came on the radio. As he talked through the steps, which I have heard a hundred times, and directed people to look at the website, and take the online test, I felt that weepy feeling. I was surprised – yeah, like how can I still be surprised by tears? As they slid down my cheeks again – no sobbing, just watery slipperiness – the weighted band around my chest I have tried to breathe through these past five years tightened, and weighed about forty kilos heavier. I know I have a mild form of depression. I have sought professional help for it for these past few years. Nothing has helped. The drugs don’t work, I tried quite a few. The talking therapy, whilst at the time, lightening the load just a tad, doesn’t work permanently, even when I put in the outside-of-the-clinic work. Nothing helps me. It took a long time for me to fully realise this. And why. I can never take away the way I feel about what happened. I can never undo what was done. And I can’t ever stop thinking about it. I accept this. I thought acceptance would help me. It hasn’t really. I have stopped fighting it. I can’t change any of it, so I finally got to that point, the one I had been striving for – you know, I can change the things I can’t accept, accept the things I can’t change, and have the good sense to know the difference (or something close, can’t be arsed Googling the right words) something of the AA serenity prayer, or what most 12 step programs seem to agree on. But, even though I have this – there is no serenity – I’ve been sold a pup!
I know tears are a release valve. I am not worried about crying, I just wish I could a) feel better after a cry (not usually anymore) b) produce them at more “appropriate” moments and c) stop the need for them altogether 😉
Shame is a stupid emotion! No, wipe that, shame is an awesome emotion – if only the right people felt ashamed of poor behaviour (ie: cheating, lying scum, child molesters, murderers – wait that reminds me, watched a Louis CK stand up routine the other night that was really funny, a bit about how murder being illegal is great for preventing a lot more murders than would occur if it wasn’t – heck, I’ve done PHIL106 – it isn’t quite that simple, but his argument was gold, I got to thinking, I wonder how many people would be spared the agony of cheating if it was illegal – certainly not all, but maybe a few??? But I digress………) then shame would be a fucking awesome emotion. It might stop a lot of heartache. But it is a stupid emotion when the person feeling it was the wronged party, the one who did nothing wrong. I felt such shame that the man I loved was a cheat. I must have picked so badly. I even – consciously knowing it was ridiculous – thought I must be a horrible/fat/ugly/unsexy/terrible/unloving/(insert any poor self esteem jingoism here_____________) person for such a previously GOOD man to cheat! My shame. WHAT EVA!!
Anyhoo! Back to it, last exam tomorrow, SO OVER IT!