It’s a year ago this week that I first walked into my therapist’s office. At the time, my father had had a series of strokes. Between keeping vigil at his hospital bed and supporting my Mum (both an hour’s drive away), working 14 hours a day and feeling guilty that I’d wished my father dead, things started to fall apart. I started to fall apart. I thought if I talked to someone they might give me some coping strategies and I might feel better.
Little did I know that things would get worse – much worse – before they got better. Somehow my therapist very quickly found the key to Pandora’s box. I disclosed a whole freight train worth of toxic waste in a short space of time. I got diagnosed with depression and PTSD and a bunch of other nonsense I choose not to think about. Some of my “idiosyncrasies” started to make sense.
I went from super motivated career girl to not really knowing how to get out of bed each day. I took several months off work so I could learn to do that again. Get out of bed, I mean. I also gradually learned to open the mail and pay my bills, too.
I’ve progressed in other ways – ways I never imagined. But I never did find my woman-of-steel-soldier-on-at-all-costs motivation. I still fall in a heap at the first sign of added stress or illness or any damned thing. All my life I’ve been super responsible and done what was expected of me. As soon as anything is “expected” of me now – things I don’t want to do but used to do anyway – I fall in a heap. Which nuts and bolts got so undone that I can’t do anything anymore?
I’m scared. Will things always be this hard? What if my drive never comes back? What if I’m destined to be a slug for the rest of my life? How do you go from motivated career girl to slug in just twelve short months? How do you ruin everything you’ve spent a decade building? How do you get it back? If you even want it back, which I’m not sure I do… but I also don’t want to be a slug.
My therapist says I’m less fragile than I was a year ago (that’s true) but I’m still like an egg and need to build my outer shell. I’m not convinced but I’m trying to believe her. It’s all I’ve got right now.
I should remind myself of a quote I once read, by Lance Armstrong:
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”