Friday, October 28, 2011

How Did They Know?

My fortune cookie the other night:

Yes, I am.

In any language.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Permission To Heal

Six years ago my son entered into a suicidal episode that changed my life forever.  Completely.  In an all-encompassing way.

As the days passed following the event, his hospitalization, and my committing of him to a psychiatric facility, I coped, barely.  Got through the days and nights only with the help of others in my life.  I was numb, angry, in denial, scared, uncertain, and so much more.  My only child, and I couldn't protect him from his internal demons, nor the people in his life who caused the episode.

My doctor prescribed some medications for me to help me through that time, and there was psychological counseling too.

Yet I couldn't relax, I couldn't accept, I couldn't move forward.  I couldn't work.  I could barely fulfill the simplest of functions and tasks.  He returned home and returned to school and back to his normal routine, and I was trapped inside the paralysis which had settled upon me, the helplessness and hopelessness and fear became my constant way of life.

At one point, Master said to me that it was OK for me to allow myself to get well.  That it was OK to give myself permission to heal.

And that simple observation stopped me in my tracks, and seemed to allow something to open up inside of me.  And it took a long time.  But I began the journey.  I allowed myself to accept, and heal, and begin to move on.

I will never forget the events of that time, they were life-altering in ways nothing I've ever experienced has altered my life.  But they are over.  They are in the past.  And once I gave myself permission to begin to heal, it got much easier to cope.  It really did.

And allowing myself to heal did, in NO way, diminish the severity, seriousness, or magnitude of the situation.  Nothing can take away how traumatic and dreadful the experience was.  Getting well, and accepting, and learning to move on, does not make anything less.  But it makes me more.  It allowed my son to further his own healing, and it allowed me to get my life back.

Nothing will ever change that I am the parent of someone who once attempted suicide.  Nothing will ever take that away from me (although I wish it would, but I can't change the past.)  But living in the situation didn't help.  Remaining fixed in that trauma did not help me, nor my son, nor anyone around us.  It wasn't until I let go of that dreadful badge of tragedy that I could begin to live again, and set my son free to live again too.

It's OK to give ourselves permission to heal.  That doesn't lessen the severity of the event we need to heal from.  It's OK to let it go, let it be in the past, as we move forward into the future.  It's hard to experience the present when we cling desperately to the past.  It's OK to focus on the here and now.

One of the key things I had to do was to stop worrying about the future.  How could I know he would never do that again?  How could I protect him?  How could I stop him from harming himself?  How could I stop the people in his life who brought this upon him?

Turns out those answers are at once simple and simultaneously excruciatingly difficult.  Because the answer is I couldn't.  I can't.  Everyday I had to (and still have to) let go and let him live.  I can't control him, nor the world around him, nor the people in his life.  I can't know that all will be well, I can't protect him, I can't.

That is a universal truth we all must come to - we cannot control others.  And to that end, it is futile to waste energy and time worrying about the future.

Live for right now.  Keep the mind out of the past and the future, make it slow down and focus on the here and now.  There are small and large things to enjoy or fuss about right now.  There is life to be lived right now.

It's OK to heal.