1 day ago
Thursday, July 26, 2012
A question came up on a forum - what have you lost or missed out on in life because of your mental illness? I usually avoid these questions, because I want to be 'positive' all the time. Yet I know that some of that inclination stems from a dysfunctional need to avoid the past. I do not like to allow myself to grieve. I can't stand the sensation of loss, so I repress loss and grief mercilessly. I know it would be a good idea to put down what I've lost to MI, and honor that grief.
So here are a few things. Not all of them, but at least some that I can articulate at the moment:
- I did not get to be a child. I was scared every moment of my childhood that additional abuse would come my way.
- I did not have parents. There were ostensibly two people there, and they did give me a home and enough resources to survive. But with my parents both having untreated MIs (esp my Mom) and addictions (esp my Dad) they were not really parents. (And now, having fully estranged them, I certainly don't have parents. But that's been a necessary part of setting boundaries.)
- I missed out on having a good sense of self. Other people don't hate themselves, and I do.
- I missed out on more social events than I can count. Weddings, parties, casual gatherings, everything. So much.
- I lost about five years of my life. It wasn't all at once - it was about 3.5 years during one depressive episode and then another 1.5 in another. During that time I did almost nothing at all. Completely wasted time. Five years, poof, gone. I was so depressed that except for the pain I hardly even remember them at all.
- I lost the career track I worked so hard to build. It isn't impossible that I might get it back someday, but the loss stings.
I feel compelled, however, to mention what I didn't miss. This might be me being dysfunctional again, already turning aside from the hurting place, but I can't help it. I found a great spouse, and we've been married for almost 14 years. I got my BS and then my PhD in the subject I really wanted. I can't work in that field right now because of the MIs, but I do have the formal background to do it. I've been able to do a lot of writing, and it's been very rewarding and fun. I've gone on a lot of business trips to amazing places. I have a small number of very good friends who are supportive when I need it. I've been able to develop empathy and a deeper understanding for suffering than most of my peers.
Do you have something you feel you need to grieve, but that you haven't really given the space?
Your Hostess With Neuroses
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