The Journey Continues

Good Morning. As I sit here mentally preparing for work – or trying to – I find that there are so many things going through my mind – and the questions continue – and fragmented thoughts lacking focus or purpose swirl about with seemingly random abandon.

It is so very difficult to see beyond his suicide. It feels impossible right now. It is almost as though my thoughts and perceptions have been hijacked by this tragic event. It dominates my every thought, my every moment, my every interaction.

I spoke with a very wise, compassionate, knowledgeable, and caring survivor yesterday. Someone who has walked many emotional miles and endured many hard fought years of learning and reaching out on this journey. She has embraced her healing. She is my hero and models someone I so aspire to. It was profound.

Through our conversation I was able to imagine and to hear of glimpses of a life no longer held captive solely by the specter of suicide. There was no forgetting. There was no “getting over it,” but I gained a sense that forgiveness, purpose, peace, hope, love, and empowerment are all possible –and that the joy I so miss can be had.

PTSD – the thief of my peace, the robber of my inner tranquility, the blinder of my perspective, the chain that binds me to my present state of chaos. Through this most comforting of conversations I have come to see that this phenomenon is something many, many of us survivors share. Its effects leave us feeling constantly helpless, hopeless, traumatized, and victimized –perpetually trapped in a whirlpool of despair.

Yet through educating myself about PTSD, perhaps the help of a skillful therapist, the support of other survivors, perhaps medication be that “natural” or conventional taken with due diligence, self-healing processes such as meditation and art therapy, and a purposeful desire to move through and beyond this PTSD, there lies hope waiting for me to grasp it and reawaken it.

I am coming to understand that I can eventually experience a shift of focus from the dominance of his suicide, to grieving and celebrating his life and to honoring him and myself through healing.

This journey is long and difficult. At every corner there are unknowns. I have no frame of reference for this, no personal compass to guide me. I am under no illusions now.

I know that I must embrace it if I am ever to see a life beyond it -or in spite of it -or with it. That I must not give up “the good fight” to my eventual healing.

And that I must, as I gradually grow physically and emotionally stronger, day by long day, week by week, month by month, year by year, become an active participant in my healing –knowing that there will be many, many times I will stumble and backslide. I did not ask for this, and neither did he. Nevertheless, it is here.

It is a process, a journey, a path that grows step by hard fought step, tear by tear, memory by memory, experience by experience, victories and set-backs, healing and renewal, throughout the remainder of my life.

I have no idea how this journey will continually reveal itself and I am frightened by the unknown, but continue I must.

A journey that continues, a personal odyssey, the honoring of his legacy and building of mine.

Be kind and gentle to yourselves,

Donna

From Anger to Sadness

I am so, so sorry for your loss. Sorry for all of our losses.

I experience anger all the time. Some ‘provoked’, some not. I have a very short fuse, and it’s been overwhelming and confusing for me. I’ve always been opinionated and strong, but had an optimistic disposition, and was pretty laid back.

I’ve come to realize that those characteristics are buried for right now, while I try to come to terms with this experience. I’ve tried to find healthy outlets for that anger –journaling, working out, taking a ‘ten count’ before I respond when I’m upset.

I can go from wanting to smash everything in my path, to gut-wrenching sobs in 2.4 seconds. So far I haven’t broken anything, but in my mind, I’ve smashed everything to bits. I’ve chopped wood a couple of times, and that seemed to help, except my concentration is gone and I nearly took off my foot. No more sharp objects for me!

I struggle in dealing with this aftermath. His pain is gone (and I truly am thankful for that,) but mine is never-ending. This is the part that makes me angriest I think. That and all the things he took from me when he left.

I’m just starting to wrap my head around the fact that he was terminally mentally ill. That quite possibly I prolonged his life by loving him as much as I did. … I realize he didn’t do this to me or to us. He was ill, his judgment clouded, his brain chemistry altered. When I think of those things – how ill he was, how much pain he must have been in, psychologically and emotionally to believe this was the only way out of his problems and pain — then my anger usually turns to sadness. Sadness for a beautiful life lost so senselessly and tragically.”