It took a month after getting home from the hospital to feel like I was doing more than just getting by. I came back more lost than I was before I left. I began to wonder if I would ever be fully human again or if I would be a fragmented shell for the rest of my life. I wondered if it was as good as it gets: just trying to be as normal as possible on the outside while feeling so empty and afraid on the inside. I was scared. I was scared because I had found out some life-changing news that had me reeling. I was scared because I didn’t feel like a real person, I was scared because I was tired and spaced out and yelling at my kids . . . “Monster Mommy” I called myself. I had rage issues.
I don’t know how I got from day to day because I couldn’t think ahead even an hour. I was so afraid that I was going to forget to pick the kids up from the babysitter or forget to take them somewhere they were supposed to be. I was so shut down that I barely felt anything except when I would have explosions of rage or fear.
“Lost cause”, “hopeless”, “broken” was all I could believe of myself. That narrative pounded itself into my brain and my heart over and over. “You are not a person, and never will be.” “You are incapable of joy – you are flawed and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
Oh, the shame. The shame of leaving my kids and going to the hospital. The shame of yelling at them because I was so shut down and overwhelmed. The shame of the stigma of going to the psych unit . . . again.
But a miracle happened after four weeks: peace and grace. I became more able to give myself some grace. Grace gives room for flaws and combats lies. I am not a lost cause, I am not hopeless, I am not broken forever and I am most certainly capable of joy.
Friend, if you feel like you are a lost cause and broken forever please believe me when I say that those are lies. You are healing, you are brave, and you are strong.