Therapy Mondays: One Year Post-Breakdown

Today’s Mini Goal: Don’t inhale my dinner.  When I do this I never end up feeling full and then I eat a big huge dessert-snack right away.  I feel like if I waited I might not even feel that hungry!  Anyone have any tips here?

Reallllllllllly snacky today.  I think yesterday’s run finally caught up to me.  Blech.  Lots of random cereal and chocolate chips.  I hate feeling out of control or haphazard with my eating; why can’t I seem to follow a clear simple schedule?  Ick.

Did a little yoga and walking today.  Speed work tomorrow.  Eats today were pretty boring so no pictures besides my yummy frozen yogurt.  Believe it or not, I think I might be tired of my post-therapy froyo!  Gasp!  It may be time to search for a new treat.  Hmmmm….

Therapy Monday (forewarning: this post is, perhaps, a bit heavy, but these are things I need to say.  If you are feeling especially sensitive, feel free not to read this segment):

To start with, today is March 1st.  I am sure you already knew this, but you don’t know what March 1st means in the Caronae mental health saga, now do you? March 1st means I have officially passed the one year post-breakdown mark.  I am both filled with joy by this and weighed down by sadness for my former self — and indeed for the parts of me that are still burdened by darker things.  I don’t remember exactly when my meltdown/trauma series occurred, but I do know that by the first week of March, I was home.  In my mother’s arms.  Taking walks through the frozen park with her.  Watching movies snuggled up in my bed.  Beginning the uncomfortable journey that therapy was (at that time).  Discovering blogs in all my new found free time.  Reading the newspaper if I pleased.  But mostly, I was with my mother.  It’s hard for me to admit how much I needed her then; I very sincerely believed that it was childish of me to need my mother as anything more than a friend.  But, as my therapist noted a few weeks ago, we always need our mothers, until one of us is dead.  And then we still need them.

I remember the things that happened to me around this time last year quite precisely; I suppose it’s ironic that I can’t date the events, but no matter.  I remember one night digging my fingernails into my forearms until I had left deep purple trenches — holes that were almost a seaweed color. I also remember leaving puffy red lines on my skin from a plastic knife; I didn’t ever cut into my skin, I just pressed down hard.  Very hard.  I remember what shirt I wore to work on my last day.  It was very old and from Old Navy with a pretty little pastel pattern on it.  I wore it with my maroon Urban Outfitters skirt and tights and I thought I looked horrifically fat.  I saw my dance teacher in a hallway and told her that I was “sick” and had to go home.  She was one of the people I was more honest with.  Other teachers I simply left behind; almost as if I was shedding them — I could only associate certain people with that terrible transition, and I am sure I can never let those people back into my life now. That’s okay though, they were mostly cranky professors.  My friend Jonathon gave me a bag of oreos he didn’t want.  Up until the very last second – the moment when my dad was parked illegally on 115th street shoveling my things into his car — I maintained that nothing was wrong.  My boss had seemed rightfully concerned and I remember insisting I was just fine.  I am not sure why it was so important for me to maintain this position; surely those who loved me would have wanted to help me through in whatever way they could.  A part of me wanted to lie down naked in the center of Broadway, where the whole world could see me, and say, “yes, things are terribly wrong: I don’t sleep at night, I cry all day, I hate my body, I hate myself, I hate everything, nothing is happy anymore, I don’t know me now.”  I remember precisely the weak smile I gave my boss when she asked how things were.  That smile took everything out of me.  Most simple actions, in fact, took everything out of me then.  Today when I find myself unreasonably exhausted I remember to take a moment to remind myself that uncovering me — examining my emotions and my memories as I would examine an old, worn document — is not easy.

My first few months at home were tinged with pain and guilt.  I won’t go over the reasons behind those feelings, but I now know that whatever happened and however I handled it, things were not my fault.  I was not, and am not, a “wrong person” for going through what I went through.

I was telling my therapist about my mother’s mother today, and the few things I knew about her childhood and her own mother.  In doing so, I realized that the women in my family seem to have passed down a rather burdensome set of feelings and experiences and ways of going about the world.  Each time we raise a child, we infuse in them certain things, consciously and not.  My grandmother’s mother died when she was very young, a toddler, I believe, and she was raised by an abusive, drunken father until she was a bit older; then he died.  I know very few stories of my grandmother’s childhood, but I find this anecdote illustrative of the pain she must have endured (and eventually passed on, in a way, to her own children): when her mother (my great-grandmother) died, the family was very poor.  Their apartment was cramped and resources were lacking.  I believe there were only one or two beds for the parents and a large brood of children.  The night she died, my great-grandmother’s dead body was put in the bed with my grandmother.  I don’t really have anything to say about this story.  For some reason, it reminds me of crocuses and other purple things.  The point is; how dear my mother(s) have been to me and how real the traumas have been.  At the same time, how much my grandmother and mother did their very best every single day with their own children.  This duality of fierce motherhood and sincere emotional pain frightens me very much.

I am certain that I want to be a mother.  My scars will always be with me.  How do I go about not transferring them to my children?  Is it inevitable?  How will I ever be the mother that my mother and grandmother were?  That, I am certain, my great-grandmother was too?  Has my life been too ugly to ever merit motherhood?

Alright.  I may have skipped doing my history readings so I could write all this, but that’s okay.  I feel much lighter now.  If you made it this far, thanks for bearing with me.  This is a daily journey, and there is lots of confusion, sadness, joy, and uncertainty involved.  My one pillar right now, in life and on this blog, is honesty; I have found honesty to be one of the most useful tools I have available to me.  Especially in therapy.  I always feel guilty if I don’t pipe up and share a story or a feeling that’s in my head at the moment, and so that is what I have done here, I suppose.

Anyone have any happy, joyous things to share?  Or sad ones too?  Remember, you can always email me if you have something you want to say but don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment.  Believe it or not, I actually really do love talking to people!

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. EE
    Mar 01, 2010 @ 23:25:55

    Of course you love talking to people! I don’t doubt you. I want you to celebrate how far you’ve come!

    I’m happy I have come to “know” you in this blogosphere. You’re a lovely person!

    Reply

  2. sophia
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 00:19:25

    Wow, girl. That was incredible. It made me really sad, but it also made me glad that you’ve found the strength and courage in you to be honest and share it with us. I had no idea your history, and all I can say is…girl, you’ve gone through some tough shit! But it’s also made me admire you a lot more.
    I think no matter what, you WILL be a great mother. Because you’ve had two women above to already prove that, and to give you model examples of pained women who can still be beautiful to their children.
    The thing is…you can’t be perfect before motherhood. I think that child-rearing brings out a lot of beautiful qualities OUT of you. That first selfless love that you experience…the same love that your mother has for you…I’m sure you’ll transfer that most to your future child.

    Reply

  3. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 00:54:36

    you will be a GREAT mom! i know it!! what a difference a year makes right? i’m so glad you’re here with us now 🙂

    Reply

  4. Sarah
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 02:11:36

    That was powerful stuff…it was interesting to hear more about your family too. I agree with Stef and think that you’ll make a great mum (sorry, I’m English and can’t bring myself to write ‘mom’ hehe) because you are such a kind hearted and determined young woman, with plenty of amazing things to offer to a child. I think that history teaches us so many lessons on being a parent, and each generation approaches it differently to the last.

    It’s coincidental that it was almost a year ago that I too approached rock bottom mentally, after my ED totally consumed me and my life, and we have both come out the other side healthier and happier than ever before 🙂 Yay joint celebration! Hehe

    Sarah x

    Reply

  5. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 04:05:08

    No it is not inevitable to transfer one’s childhood crap and junk onto your child. I have plenty of family of origin issues that i dont blog about and suffice to say, i am transferring none of that crap onto skylar. ever. It’s totally possible to cut the ties that bind and start fresh. You will be an excellent mom and the path will unfold once your baby is in your arms 🙂

    Reply

  6. Astrid
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 12:51:52

    Hello! Try sipping some herbal tea fter your meal and just breath and relax. Maybe write about what you just ate and how delicious it was! Then if you want dessert, eat it! I believe that dessert is great for you. And yours looks great in the picture!
    I have similar feelings about being a mom, but I believe that it is something you truly want, you will be a beautiful mother!
    Hope you have a lovely day!

    Reply

  7. Kate
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 14:46:45

    again, another lovely, brave post. You made it this far so CONGRATULATIONS and celebrate that. I too worry about passing my food issues on to my future children but try to worry about that too much. My dad is infamous for saying “one day at a time” and I’ve tried to adapt that philosophy too.

    i welcome any of your unwanted froyo 🙂

    Reply

  8. Katie
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 18:44:28

    Well done for getting through the year after your breakdown 🙂 I just wrote a similar post! It’s funny how so many crises occur in February. I hope this is a much better year for you, you deserve it after all the hard work you have put into getting yourself better.

    Reply

  9. pen
    Mar 02, 2010 @ 21:16:06

    what a wonderfully honest post. You know, I have similar thoughts often about passing down things to my kids that were passed down to me. And I think the fact that you aware that you want children, and don’t want them to be burdened with the same things that you have been, will make all the difference.

    Reply

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