The word ‘glow’ makes me think of the romantic glow of soft lights, the orange glow of Snooki’s tan or the pregnant glow of the mama-to-be.
On Sunday I watched the glow of the fire that burned my journal away to nothing. I watched the bad times burn away. The memories be erased.
At the end it was nothing. All that had plagued my life was now nothing but dust particles flying through the night’s sky.
When I hit rock bottom during my very public battle with Post Partum Depression I wanted to die. Nothing gave me joy, not even the smile of my baby. I was drowning in misery, and I couldn’t escape it.
I felt hopeless.
I quit writing because I had nothing to say – well I had everything to say but none of it made any sense. It was a barrage of my internal struggles. I quit my social life because who wanted to be around a Debbie downer? I’m not saying my friends didn’t want me around; it was all me. I lost the ability to socialize. I over drank. I just wanted to escape it all.
If you’ve been reading Jlee’s Blog none of this is new to you. My time “away” was like a bad dream that occasionally flashes back leaving me with guilt, self-pity and sadness over what I experienced.
There are times that I am simply too much in my own head; analyzing where it all went astray. Questioning how I could have “fixed” it knowing what a waste of time this is; knowing that I can never go back. Reminding myself that what I went through made me a stronger, more empathetic woman; all good lessons learned.
I made some very big changes in my life following my breakdown in February 2011. The most important change was switching medical providers. “Hiring” a new medical team is what saved my life.
I was now seeing people who actually cared about me and wanted to help me and wanted me to live. They feared that this scared and sad new mother might actually attempt suicide. And I was there. I contemplated it many times.
But I didn’t. For Eva.
I didn’t want her to grow up with the burden of telling people that her mom had killed herself. I wanted her to have a fighting chance at a good life despite her crazy family, her crazy mom and the crazy world we live in.
After months of weekly therapy sessions with my counselor I broke down in her office one evening.
“Why aren’t I getting better?”
I was both exhausted and frustrated. I was sick of going to bed at night begging God to die, knowing that I could never take myself, but maybe, just maybe, He would listen.
One day she asked me to start journaling. It wasn’t like it was a new phenomenon. I wrote journals and short stories all the time as a kid. I love expressing myself through my writing; it just makes sense to me.
But, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of journaling. “You want me to write about things I’m trying to forget about?”
To me this seemed crazy, and I told her such. I couldn’t live through this the first time, how am I supposed to relive it?
She warned me it would be difficult. There would be tears and heartache. There would be anger and flashbacks. But, she encouraged me to write.
“Don’t write your blog, where people can judge you and bring you down. Write for yourself. And yourself alone.”
Not knowing what else to do, but knowing I was desperate to get better I bought a journal. I wrote every single day. I wrote about the pain, the frustration, the hospital scare, the depression, my feelings of failure, my struggles with friendships and abandonment issues from the loss of my family…I wrote and wrote and wrote.
And then one day I started to feel better.
The more I wrote the better I felt. I can’t really explain why, but it was almost like reliving the experiences allowed my brain to process the drama. Well, that’s what my counselor said anyway, and it made sense to me. I’m a very analytical person so my brain will continue to replay situations over and over questioning what I did, what I said, how I looked. It’s exhausting.
But, it was even more exhausting when I was crumbling to pieces and analyzing the life I used to live with the life I was now living and a sense of failure through it all. Writing allowed me to release it all from my brain and into a world of nothingness.
I never reread what I wrote. Why? Why continue to scrutinize the pain? Plus, the one time I did reread I was editing typos in my writing. Like wtf, weirdo, no one is ever going to read this!
Writing was difficult. I did experience flashbacks that I would work through in counseling, but I still continued to write. I cried when I wrote. But, I still continued to write.
My mood began to improve dramatically. I started to feel a bit like myself again. I still continued to write for fear of falling back into my depression. It couldn’t happen. I couldn’t go back there.
And then the journal was full. Every single page written with my scribbles in red ink, in pencil, in cursive, in print….the journal was full. I closed the book and looked at it. This journal is full of fears and secrets and most of all the struggles of a very sick me.
I knew immediately what I needed to do.
Burn, baby, burn. That life is over. That woman is gone. I didn’t want to ever look at that journal again. I didn’t want to ever read my thoughts and those words again.
I told my husband of my plans to burn my journal. He didn’t understand it.
“I want to close this chapter of my life and never relive it ever again,” I told him, pleading with him to get it.
I wanted to watch it all burn away. Burn to nothing.
The depression brought me down to nearly nothing, but yet there was still a small fire inside me that wouldn’t let me die. A spark deep inside that forced me to fight for my life.
And now as I live and breathe I wanted to watch all those memories burn away….and that’s exactly what I did.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t smile. I simply sat there and watched a year’s worth of pain become nothing.
And now a new chapter begins.