27 years ago i lost my parents in an accident. I was 16. From then until now i have been through depression, anxiety, IBS, Cluster and migraine headaches, anoriexia, PTSD, possibly bipolar (not a positive diagnosis, depends on the doctor), panic attacks, I have cut myself, and have considered suicide multiple times. I guess that’s all, who knows.
The running dialogue throughout all of these episodes, or illnesses, or whatever, is self loathing. I immediately start the pity party, but shorlty after the party begins, which is deep sadness, feelings of irriatation, anger at myself for being “weak”, guilt, embarrassement and shame.
All of those feelings, illnesses, and disorders up there, they are not just conditions i have bc of bad luck of the gene pool or what i got on the life wheel of shit. I mean, everybody gets, okay, your parent(s) died. Now you get a pass to be depressed for a certain amount of time. That’s the deck you have. Ok fine. No Earth shattering info here. When you lose a parent, one thinks about their wedding, graduations, birthday, birth of children…milestones that go by with that parent missing. How sad it truly is and the lack of their presence is obvious and heartbreaking. This is not what i’m talking about though. Everybody knows this stuff.
You know that on the surface,
” Yeah, Im depressed, and a lot of it has to do with the death of mom”.
“I’m anxious and all that other stuff and it’s probably bc of their death, yes i was young”.
So when you have these symptoms and illnesses, you know it’s not entirely your fault, but here’s where the self hatred comes in. You should be better by now!
It’s been 2 years, it’s been 5 or 10 or 27! How can i still be this fucking depressed about something that happened 27 years ago? I’m not thinking even thinking about that person when i get anxiety, or depressed, or whatever. Im just sad or i have migraines or get migraines. So, you figure,
“That’s just how I am. Just how it is”.
“I probably don’t pray enough”.
“I’m not a strong enough person”, or
” i need to keep myself busy or need therapy again or medication”.
“I need to exercise, maybe if I get this weight off I won’t feel like this anymore”.
“I’m just a fucked up person.” “I’m crazy”.
“I am pathetic”. “I don’t know why anybody would like me, I don’t even like me”.
blah blah…..This goes on forever. The circle of illnesses, emotional and physical disorders along with the blame game. Round and round, year after year.
This morning I was going over all the current bought of anxiety and depression I’m going through, and I think to myself, “I miss my mom. I wish I could talk to her about this stuff, cause I’m not really sure why I’m depressed this time”.
Then I think about all of my friends and how they go to their mothers for all the stuff people go to their mothers for.
Wait a minute. Hmmm. My friends are in their 40’s, and they still go to their mothers for this thing and that thing, etc..and they totally don’t think a thing about it. It’s as natural as going to the bathroom.
Well, it IS natural! Or, at least, it’s supposed to be!
So, I’m thinking, God put people on Earth so they would be fruitful and multiply (basically). Ok, so the people multiplied.
How did they do that? Two people had a kid, so the kid had two parents. Why do kids have parents? To feed them? Yes. To dress them and teach them and all that stuff? Well, of course silly, everyone knows that. They have to have these things to survive and grow. So, when the kid gets to be a certain age, the parents are “needed” less and less, and when you’re much much older and you are mostly independent from them, they die and you miss them terribly and everybody moves on the best they can.
But it’s more than that. Here’s why at 43, I shouldn’t be “over” my parents death.
For a human to live, the basics are food, water, oxygen, shelter. You can “survive”.
For a human to be a normal, functioning human that does more that just survive, the basics aren’t enough.
That’s where the parents come in. They come right after survival basics. food, water, oxygen, shelter, parents. The better the parent situation is will determine the emotional wellbeing of the child. (This is a generalization. Of course there are always exeptions).
At 1, 4, 5, 10, 15, 18, 25, 40 and so on, parents are still just as important to the human child, just in different ways.
Stop and think at what the parents role in a human are. Not just a man like an uncle and a sweet older woman that’s “kind of like a mother figure”. Literally that person’s mother and father. Biological or adopted. You know what I mean.
And leave out occasions and milestones, they’re obvious. You know why you’re crying at your wedding. it’s bc your parents aren’t there, duh.
What else do they do? EVERYTHING! They teach you, they listen, hold you, they encourage, they give you praise and encouragement, they approve, they disapprove, they build you up, they answer questions, they talk you out of stuff, they talk you into stuff, they advise, they ignore when u need ignoring, they pay attention when you need attention.They love you. They want you. You are important. you are special. you are treasured. Unconditionally. This is why GOD gave us parents. They are as important to emotional health as oxygen is to our physical health. We need them to develop “normally” and be fruitful and healthy.
So, guess what? No mom? No praise. No dad? No advice. No parents? No unconditional love. No guidance. No words of wisdom or “when i did that, this happened, so I don’t think i’d do that”.
Any attention, or advice or support we seek out, we can sometimes find a suitable substitute. But it’s not the real thing. “Sorry to bother you, can i ask your advice about something”? “I need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to vent to…Do you have a minute”? “Thank you so much! I hope I didn’t keep you from something else”. “Yes, I know you’re always here for me, thanks”.
When you’re sad bc you miss your deceased parent, you understand and know why you are feeling that at that moment. You know what grief is. But grief is only the beginning.
What we don’t understand, is why you’re constantly seeking approval and even attention for the rest of your life. I’m always seem to be saying, “Hey! Look at this! Listen to me! Can i talk to you for a second? Is this what should i do?” We become insecure and needy. ” Do you like my hair? Do you think I’m pretty? Do you think I’m smart”? No one can possibly fill that void and give us the validation that we stopped getting, that we NEEDED to be emotionally healthy. We’re scared because we don’t have answers to important questions and have to make big decisions on our own. We have to handle things we aren’t equipped to handle. We constantly second guess ourself. We feel like a burden bc we have had to actively seek out people to help us.
We get used to this life, and we have adapt and cope to survive and it’s not easy. It’s only natural that after a time, all of this seeking and effort takes its toll. We work through the grief, because it’s grief…it has a face we can more identify. All this other stuff is slow and sneaky and doesn’t have a name.
Here’s how I’ve broken it down. Picture a brain. Parents take up 1/5 of our brain. They’re roles determine how well we function mentally, emotionally, and ultimately physically (hello, IBS).
So guess what? I’m still suffering frequent boughts of depression, anxiety. Why? Not just cause i “miss” my parents. It’s bc my big parent hole has been emptied, its been empty, and the effects of the hole and all of those things that me as a human person requires for healthy function come from that hole. And it’s STILL a HOLE.
So we go everywhere and do anything to get this hole filled in some way. Get drunk? YEP. Relationships with anyone even if they treat me like a peace of shit? OK. Drugs? SURE! Angry bitch or asshole all the time? Check and check.
You know why? Cause you’re depressed, you have anxiety, you’re insecure, you feel stupid, you have no confidence, the list goes on.
What i am getting from all of this, is that it’s not my fault i can’t get out of depression sometimes. that i’m anxious and needy sometimes, always seeking approval and never feeling good enough. I am not weak, or stupid, or pathetic. And it’s not that “I’m still “grieving” or “haven’t let it go”, fuck you and everybody that keeps saying that.
IT’S THE HOLE, PEOPLE!!!!! One fifth of our brain has been yanked out and it is gone forever. That’s why we’re fucked up. That’s why we still struggle and will always struggle with these feelings. The hole was there when they died, it’s there a year later, and twenty years later. You’re still supposed to have brain in that hole.
Nobody sees this. But it’s really so simple.
What i’m hoping will happen now is that i’ll forgive myself. I’ll quit beating myself up for being needy and wanting approval, lacking confidence, being depressed and having anxiety. It’s not my fault. I’m not supposed to be able to “overcome” it or “get past it”.
I’m depressed bc when my parents died, i don’t just “miss them”, which of course I do. It’s because of the domino effect their absence caused in my brain, and the effect it has and still has on my emotional health and development.
I’m going to try to forgive myself. It’s not my fault I feel fucked up. Maybe if I can really get that in my head I can be a little less fucked up, and that’s a good start. Cause I’m tired.