I’ve been having a really bad time. It started with “that twilight feeling,” the first experience of depression that I can remember. I was 12 years old. I was left alone at our summer house in Maine, with three younger siblings, while Mom & Dad went to a party. My job was to feed the kids and put them to bed. They were 8, 7, and 5 years old. After I had got them to bed, I was essentially alone in the house. It was getting darker outside. In my memory it was always grey, no sunset colors, it just gradually got darker. I could see my life stretching out ahead of me, grey in color, and always being left to care for someone else’s children. That was all I was good for.
Recently I took in another dog. He needed an emergency home, and his caretaker didn’t have room in her house, but promised to find someone to take him. So here I was, taking care of another thing that didn’t belong to me. I had also hoped that he might be the “right dog for me,” but he wasn’t. Another disappointment that triggered the pain of many other disappointments.
From my journal:
Saturday: I’m taking Sweet Chestnut which is “For those moments which happen to some people when the anguish is so great as to seem to be unbearable. When the mind or body feels as if it had borne to the uttermost limit of its endurance, and that now it must give way. When it seems there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.” I think of it as being when you are at the end of your rope.
I’m glad I have a morning routine. I can just keep going through it step by step. “Now put your right foot forward…”
I wish someone would come help me. What do I need? Reassurance that life is meaningful, that I matter somehow, that just as I am, I matter to the Universe, and am worthy of being taken care of.
I had left a message for Beverly, calmed myself down as best I could, called Eve. She was just going out to a job and didn’t have a lot of time to talk. I asked if I could stay overnight, but she has her children. It’s too early to call Elizabeth. I’ll just keep typing journal. I’d like to do a post about wanting to die, but I think I’d better wait until I feel better.
When the trauma is abandonment, things like having to leave a message and waiting for someone to call back trigger the original trauma. Eve’s house is a sanctuary for me, I can stay there and not be alone and be cooked for, so losing that can be devastating. It’s not a problem when I’m not already triggered.
journal: Drove to Littleton to get some things. On the way I tried talking to the frozen baby, but it wasn’t a good idea because I ended up telling her what a painful life she was going to have and I started crying. When I got to the pet shop, they didn’t have any soft treats. The dog I’m taking care of can’t eat hard things, so I really wanted them for him. I cried when I got outside, it was such a disappointment.
I think the cold and the loneliness are triggering that first horrible winter in Portland Maine. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” has been in my mind since the vigil for a boy from our town who died in an avalanche, and I think it might have been part of that winter.
Then there was the two weeks in February when I went back “home” to Ohio to stay with my parents. It was very cold and our house had no storm windows. I was cold and terrified that whole time and had no idea what it was about.
Sunday: Yesterday was really tough. Full of little disappointments which just pile up the triggers. Lynelle recommended Nancy Napier, so I started reading the chapter on Disappointment and Despair. That was really difficult, I could only read a little at a time. She is saying that for these childhood hurts there is no remedy except to give to yourself what you weren’t given then. That requires an adult part, and I had no adult part yesterday. That’s why I couldn’t find anything to say to the baby other than the pain she was going to experience in her life.