What They Don’t Tell You.

I feel like I should put a disclaimer at the beginning of this post, because it will be one of the most brutally honest entries I’ve ever written.
So disclaimer: I’m sure there will be things written in this post that won’t sit well with some people.
I feel like I should also put a trigger warning in this as well for those of you reading this that struggle with self harm at all.
So trigger warning: There will be some very candid and blunt talk about my journey/struggle with this.

 

What they don’t tell you is:

Despite the fact that you’ve already been through this once before, it doesn’t make it any easier the second time around.

What they don’t tell you is:

This literally feels like my heart is being ripped from my chest and there isn’t a darn thing I can do about it.

What they don’t tell you is:

People will let you down in the days following. They don’t mean to and it’s not their intention, but ultimately they will.
The ones that you expected to be there are usually the ones that aren’t. And I am mostly to blame for that.
Opening up has never been easy, and it’s always been common for me to run and avoid difficult and uncomfortable situations.
It’s incredibly easy for me to just give the simple and routine answer of “I’m doing okay” to avoid having to have conversations with people, even though the whole time I’m thinking to myself, “You’re an idiot if you actually think I’m okay”.
But the thing is, it’s hard for me to open up, and there are only a handful of people that I feel comfortable sharing the really dark and painful and oftentimes uncomfortable things going on in my little head. And if you aren’t one of those people, which chances are you aren’t, I’m not going to open up to you. 
Don’t feel bad that you don’t know what to say to me or don’t know how to relate. I don’t need you to relate to what I’m going through and I don’t expect you to know what to say.
What I do expect is for you to just be there. Whether it be in silence while I talk or to just keep my mind from actually imploding on itself.
Again, I know I’m really terrible at communicating this and if you aren’t one of the few people that I trust with this kind of stuff, I’m probably not going to say much to you, just knowing that the offer is there means more than most people realize.
Maybe it’s more of I’m letting myself down rather than other people letting me down. 

What they don’t tell you is:

Life goes on, and people move on; with or without you.

What they don’t tell you is:

You will be angry 90% of the time. It doesn’t matter at what. You’re just angry.

What they don’t tell you is:

You will question everything that means something to you. Friendships. Recovery. Your faith. All of it.
You will question if it’s worth having close friendships because you are terrified that they will end without warning and you’ll be left to deal with all of this all over again.
You will question every bit of recovery and if it’s even worth it.
You will question your faith and wonder if it’s even worth the trouble and heartache that it’s brought you.
You will feel terrible for questioning that last one for several reasons. You know deep down that God is sovereign and that somehow His glory will be shown through this, but right now, you just can’t seem to see that. You are in a leadership position in a church and you will wonder how in the world you are supposed to set a spiritual example to students when your very foundation has been rocked to it’s core.
You know that one day this will all make some kind of sense and are just holding on until camp arrives because you hope it will bring you a much needed spiritual renewal before you lose your mind.

What they don’t tell you is:

Recovery quickly, and maybe subconsciously, takes a back seat. You won’t care if you relapse. You won’t care if you have a bad day or setback. In fact, you won’t care when you do have a bad day. You will try your best to maintain the attitude and lifestyle that is recovery, but you will soon learn that once again, you are fighting for your life. You won’t know how to navigate your own journey, much less anyone else’s. But you will inevitably have people that will literally drain the life out of you while you repeat yourself over and over to them to no avail. You will try to have grace when it comes to those situations and you will try to remember that you were once where they are, all while reminding yourself that in all actuality, you are exactly where they are. You don’t know how to navigate recovery any better than they do. But you will try your best to make sure that they make it and give little regard for yourself.

What they don’t tell you is:

That addiction will come back and slap you in the face with so much force it knocks you off your feet. It will be nothing like the first time it happened. You will look back at 17 and laugh at why you thought those days were so difficult. The simplest tasks will soon become some of the hardest and most uncomfortable. Shaving. Cooking prep. Working on craft projects.
You’re not stupid. You know exactly how to tear apart a shaving razor until all the plastic is gone and you’re left with what you think you want. You also know exactly how to take apart a crafting blade and can do it with ease.
You know where to hide these things so no one will find them.
You’ve played this game before and for a long time.
But it’s different now.
At 17 you had much more to lose and much more at stake and people to answer to.
At 25, you make the rules.

What they don’t tell you is:

There’s no way to mentally or emotionally deal with the reality of both of your parents being gone while you’re still in your twenties. You will try to make sense of it. Remind yourself that after twelve long years apart, they are finally reunited. That works for awhile. Then the reality of that statement sinks in. While they are enjoying each others company for the first time in years, you’re jealous of the fact that they are together and in the best place imaginable, all while you’re still here left to deal with the mess of what’s been left behind.

What they don’t tell you is:

That most people will read this and immediately want to assume a few things or smother me with a million unwanted questions.
They will assume that I’ve relapsed. They will assume that I need an intervention.
They will ask over and over if I’m okay. They will beg and try and force me to talk to them.
Whether I have or haven’t relapsed, and whether or not I may be close to one, is information that only a small handful of people will be told.
If you are one of those people that you know I would tell you that information and I haven’t up to this point, then it’s safe to say that I probably haven’t.

I realize that all of this is ultimately part of the story that I’ve been telling, it’s not a chapter that I’m ready to publicize with everyone.
There are a lot of edits and revisions that need to be made before I share the dark and difficult realities of what’s going on inside my mind.
This is a chapter that is very painful and it’s still being written. There will come a time when it won’t be so painful, and I can share it, but I’ve got to make sense of all of this the best that I can before I can do any of that.
And right now, none of this makes sense.

It doesn’t make sense that two weeks ago, my mom suddenly and unexpectedly died.
No warning.
No nothing.
Just dead.

Saturday night I talked to her like everything was fine.
Everything was fine.
Sunday afternoon everything changed.

Brain aneurysm.
Done.
There are no warnings for that.
There’s no preventing that.
There’s no surviving that.
They just happen.All the while we just think that her headaches are nothing more than just the same headaches she’s had for years.

Monday morning you try to somehow make sense and come to terms with what you are about to endure.
At 25, you’re about to be an orphan.
But no one thinks of it that way when you’re an adult.
And suddenly the bonus family you’ve had for the past twelve years of your life, may or may not be your family at the end of the day.
After all, the link that brought you together will soon be gone.

The family that will still be there is torn in a million different pieces already, so you wonder how much and how well they will hold on.

Your phone will turn into Grand Central Station between all the phone calls, text messages, and Facebook notifications going off constantly.
You will copy and paste the same responses because you literally don’t know what to say to people.
You will put your brave face on anytime you talk on the phone because the simplest thing chokes you up.
You won’t even be able to form words when you talk to your youth pastor when you call right after you leave the room. You’ll just stand there and listen and try to respond the best you can, hoping they can understand what your saying.

You will check out from life for a couple days and hope that spending that time with your best friend will keep your mind occupied, but you’ll find yourself crying while looking up at the trees as the breeze blows through the leaves.

You will come back to the real world and go straight to your safe haven to be greeted by the warm embraces of your church family.
You’ll try your best to smile at them, but you ultimately know that you aren’t fooling anyone because you look like you haven’t slept in days, which you haven’t, and the color that was once in your cheeks is long gone.

You will celebrate Mother’s Day six days after losing yours and wonder how you could possibly make it through without falling apart.

You will find solace in the simplicity of a shower. You will sit with your back to the water and check out for a few minutes.

You will find out that whether you like it or not and whether you want it or not, this is now the road you are travelling.
There are no U turns.
There are bumps.
There are potholes.
It’s a long, long road.
It’s facing the reality that you are now without parents for the rest of your days on Earth.
It’s trying to make sense of that statement.
It’s failing to make sense of it for now.

But it’s knowing that someday you will. 

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Like a Ton of Bricks.

Last Monday, I had the daunting task of saying goodbye to my mom.
In the blink of an eye, everything in my life changed.
An aneurysm ruptured in her brain and in the blink of an eye, she was gone.

The initial phone calls and conversations led me to be irritated more than anything.
I didn’t want to spend my Sunday afternoon at the hospital.
I figured and assumed that it was just a result of some poor choices she had made once again, and didn’t see the need to waste an afternoon there.
But I went.

When the doctor came in and told us what he thought was going on and that we send her to Tulsa, my annoyance turned to concern.
Crap. There really is something wrong.
Upon finding out later that night that it was an aneurysm that had ruptured and that there was nothing that could be done, I began to deal with the fact that at 25, I was going to be without both of my parents.

Last Monday, around 11 that morning, I said goodbye to my mom.
She danced into the arms of Jesus and was welcomed by her mother and my dad.
She doesn’t hurt anymore.
But that doesn’t take away the hurt that’s been left here.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that after twelve years apart, my parents are together again.
It’s even harder knowing that I will be without them for awhile.
I used to think that I wanted to be much older and more accomplished in life when Jesus returned, if it happened in my lifetime.
But now, well, I wouldn’t be too upset if He came back tomorrow.

If I’m being honest, and this is the place where I seem to share my brutally honest thoughts, I haven’t prayed, like really honestly prayed, since last Sunday.
It hurts to pray.
And right now, I’m a little angry at God.
I’m trying my hardest to hold on to the promises of His word and to tell myself that He is still in control and is still sovereign, but it’s hard.
I mean really hard.

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with self harm for almost a decade now.
The past fifteen months, I’ve found myself in a good path of recovery.
But again, if I’m being honest, I want to relapse.
I don’t even like the idea of that.
I don’t like the idea of cutting.
It honestly makes me cringe thinking about it.
But I don’t have words for what I’m feeling right now, and quite honestly, I don’t want to feel anything.
I’ve worked incredibly hard the last year and a half, and a lot of people have fought with me, and by no means do I want to let them down.
But this isn’t a scenario that I ever planned for.

Please don’t think that this post is my admission or declaration of giving up.
I am by no means giving up.
But I am fighting one heck of a battle right now, and I’m barely hanging on right now.
My answers have become so routine now.
I get the same questions ten plus times a day, so I flip on my little switch and just recite the same answers.

No one prepares you for this.
No one teaches you how to deal with this.
Life is heavy right now.

I know that I will be okay again.
But that day is not today.
Right now, I’m simply just existing.
And that’s all I can do.