Thursday, May 31, 2012

Would I be the person I am today .....

Do you ever have those times in life when you feel emotional.  Little things set you off to feeling down, out of sorts, or even have teary moments.  Sometimes it's because things have actually happened and sometimes you don't really know why.  Now I don't mean to be negative here, but I think we wouldn't be human if we didn't have those moments.  We women especially tend to be a little more emotional than the male of the species .... well at least for the most part.  

It's difficult to write about this, and in fact I don't really know why I am, but feel that perhaps through talking about it, I may help someone else to get the help they need or to do something differently in their life.  No matter what happens in your life, you can make the most of your life, you can move on each day and find good and positive things in your life.  For most of my life I have suffered with depression, including post natal depression after my five pregnancies, leading to Major Chronic Depression, requiring me to have electric shock therapy several years ago.  For as long as I can remember, I have had times in my life when I have been depressed.  The depression has been a roller coaster, an up hill/down dale ride filled with losing my father when I was 6 years old, being abused, being divorced and as a consequence losing a best friend and my husband at the same time, raising a child with a disability, having children that have currently alienated themselves from me and having grandchildren that I have never met as a consequence.  

The road has not been easy and it has been a constant struggle to remain on top of things.  The electric shock therapy, despite what the doctors have said, has impacted on my life.  I was told that the effects would be minimal and any memory loss that I experienced at the time would return to normal eventually.  Unfortunately, there are things that I do not remember and I do have residual short term memory loss.  At the time of my treatment (which by the way I do not remember most of, and don't remember agreeing to) I was not in a good place at all, and I feel perhaps that it saved my life.  I know without a doubt that if it wasn't for some very good and loving friends I probably wouldn't be here today.  Their support came at a time in my life when I probably needed them more than ever, although couldn't see that at the time.

I am not by nature a negative person, despite having negative moments.  I try to remain optimistic, despite many downward spirals.  I try hard to do things that make me feel good.  I try hard to keep busy, doing things that are uplifting.  

It's interesting how we perceive others and how they operate in their lives.  You can never know what someone else is going through until you have walked a mile in their shoes.  Of course we can't do that, but we can endeavour to understand what others are going through.

For all of us there are hills that we have to climb, roads that we have to travel, things that we have to do, that only we, as an individual can do.  That hill, that road, that thing ..... is our challenge to face, and ours alone to live with.  I can honestly say that if I had to put my hills, my road and my things ..... my challenges into a pile of the same things belonging to another individual, I would take mine any day.

I realise that I would not be who I am today, that I would not have the empathy for others, that I would not have become the person that I have become, if I didn't face the challenges that I have faced.  Can we call our challenges and what we have been through blessings?  Absolutely!!  We might not like what we have to go through, but we can be grateful for them.  

Would I give back the beautiful daughter that I have who has challenged me through her disability in ways that have pushed me to the limit emotionally?  Absolutely not.  Her love and the person that she is allows me to realise that I am so blessed to have her in my life.  She allows me to realise every day that whoever we are, we are worthwhile.  She has given me the opportunity to learn so much and grow so much as a person.  She has allowed me to learn empathy and patience and so many other things, I would never have learned without the experience of raising her.

Am I sad that I don't see my eldest 2 children, my daughter or son?More than words can say.  Do I struggle with it at times?  At times, but I live in hope that one day things will be different, that we will be reunited at some time in the future.  Do I feel sad that I have beautiful grandchildren that I have never seen, held, hugged, kissed and had the chance to love?  In ways that I cannot describe. I am a grandmother, but do not feel like a real grandmother.  I will never get the chance to experience being a grandmother to my very first grandchild, and I will never get to see those little babies, as little babies.  But somewhere in me there is hope that one day, one day, I will get to know them and have the chance to tell them that I love them.

I've learnt that we all have agency and as a parent there are things that our children do that we have no control over ..... that even when they do things that hurt us beyond words, we can still love them and care about them.

My struggles have shown me that despite feeling down, I can get back up and continue on the road ...... and that the very next time I stumble and fall, I can get back up again and continue on the journey.  Continuing on the journey is up to me.  My path, is my path and only I can travel on that road.

Despite my depression I have a lot to be grateful for.  That despite having treatment that has impacted on my life and despite electric shock therapy, I have the blessing of being able to study at University.  I tell myself that no matter what the short term memory issues, I will get around the challenges that they present and do well in my studies.  I am blessed that I can read and that I have intelligence and I see it as a great blessing.

In my job as a personal carer I have had the opportunity to care for people with disabilities.  I have had the opportunity to see life through the eyes of people that can't do things for themselves and need someone to do it for them.  I've had the opportunity to care for someone dying of a terminal illness, unable to move, speak, walk, or do anything for themselves.  I have the opportunity to hold the hand of that same person as they passed from this life to the next, and to meet their needs through palliative care.  I am so grateful for being able to see life through their eyes.  

If I had not had the experiences I've had in my life, and suffered with depression would I have been able to have empathy for these people and care for them to the best of my ability, thinking if I were in their shoes how would I feel. When I started this post, I didn't really know where I was going.  I didn't really know what I wanted to say or what I was going to say. I hope that my experiences and journey have helped someone along the way.  Have helped someone else to see that despite challenges we can find the good in life and hope to move on taking one day at a time.


AnnaPrasad said...

I think you're very brave sharing your thoughts here and I'm very inspired. It sounds like you've had a long, long difficult but also happy journey and I hope that there's reconciliation in the future with your other children so that you may know your grandchildren. Family is sooo very important. Sending you good wishes across the world!

Jody Pearl said...

A powerful post beautifully written - thankyou for sharing.
From my experience the universe has a way of giving us what we need when we need it (whether we like it or not!) and perhaps your sharing will be the butterfly wings that cause a tsunami and soon you will hear from estranged family ... I hope so.

L!$@ said...

Love you Aunty Leonie!! We are who we are becausing of the good and bad times we have lived through. I hope one day you get to see your grandkids.

Charlotte said...

Big {Hugs!} I am so happy that you can stay positive, despite the negative moments in your life! I pray that you will be able to see your son & daughter & Grandchildren again! xo