This afternoon I was driving home from yoga with Baby Bananaface snoozing in the backseat* when a realization came over me. It was a good but sad realization. I was conflicted with feelings of pity and disgust as well as a sweet release of acceptance and acknowledgment backed with the tang of self critique as it swept through me. Quite a whirlwind of emotions as I recognized this afternoon just how much trauma I've been through this past year and change.
It may seem obvious, like I've already accetped that I've endured trauma, but as I drove home today the acceptance spontaneously blossomed in me. I suddenly acknowledged the pain and hardship and loss that my mind has tried to hide and dismiss or belittle. Instead of feeling oblivious or shaming myself I felt the weight of it all come down upon me and saw just how far I've come and what I've endured. I felt grateful for my strength and my endurance instead of just feeling grateful for those that have helped me along this long, hard path. Instead of labeling myself a burden or a problem and giving all the credit to those who've helped me, I accepted my achievement. I've fought a long, hard battle for my life-somehow there is part of me that strives to live no matter how frequently I feel ready for death-and it's good to acknowledge that side of myself.
It was a strange feeling, sad and beautiful, quite humanizing too. I felt a bit of pride and belonging as I recognized myself as a fighter just like so many others battling disease or other unfortunate challenges in life or simply surviving, really. The internal criticism and minimizing still chirps in the background but having those nicer thoughts break through and thinking something positive about myself was so meaningful.
I was a little shocked to feel all this dawning on me after so many, many months; especially when I spend so much time thinking of my sickness and getting better, but the wise hubster was not surprised. "When you experience trauma it takes some time to accept it, to get past denial into acceptance and moving on. Totally normal." Just like him to take it all in stride! I felt bowled over by my emotional wave of self discovery, relating my afternoon moment of zen with tears in my eyes and a tinge of embarrassed pink in my cheeks but the hubster cradled me with his words as if he'd been waiting for me to tell him this for weeks... Anyways.
For a long time I have (unconsciously and consciously) berated myself for being sick, for not "sucking it up" and making due, for not "fixing it" and moving on. I thought that because I didn't suffer birth trauma I had no excuse to be feeling down, completely neglecting to recognize the trauma of postpartum depression, multiple hospitilzations, intensive ECT treatment, a suicide attempt, and countless other disruptions to my life. Those are traumas. These things count. I've been through some shit! I'm still in recovery and that's totally understandable because what happened to me was significant, it's gonna take some time to work through and work past.
I feel like a lot of this is stating the obvious and repeating things that I've wrote about in past posts but for me this things feel fresh and there is something novel and important about acknowledging these thoughts and feelings that came over me so randomly this afternoon. It's not all news to me but the feelings of acceptance, soothing, and understanding that came with this moment of realization have given me a new perspective on my life, a new abililty to be kind and gentle with myself, to validate myself, to better support myself in recovery and those are all very important things.
I'm sad as I acknowledge what I've been through and more fully appreciate the anguish of these dark times but I also feel a swell of glowing gratitude and feist as I appreciate the progress I've made on this journey and feel a little piece of me start to believe that I can make it back to where I want to be, that I can do this crazy thing called life, that I do have it in me... I'm not a weakling, a hot mess, or a lost cause. I'm a fighter.
* This was big doins. BB and I went to the gym and gave Daddy time alone at home! First time in a long time that I've been out alone with the babe. Progress!