This morning when my three-year-old creaked open the door at 5:30am, my body felt like cement bricks. I sent him out with a tablet and closed my eyes hoping when my alarm went off in an hour, everything would feel different. My five-year-old climbed in bed with me at 6am, and I knew there was no chance of any more sleep. I still held onto hope, though, that this awfully heavy feeling would leave my body.
I met two friends to run, we meant to run five miles, but I struggled the whole way out and finally stopped short at 3.5 miles. One kept going, one walked in with me. Disappointment and guilt joined my walk as I felt bad for interrupting their runs with my bricks. As I drove home, I swallowed the emotions trying to escape with tears.
I look forward to these Saturday morning runs. It has felt good to run without being completely motivated by anorexia. I had some really good runs earlier in the week where we accidentally went a faster pace, all while talking and feeling good.
Suddenly, everything I enjoy seems pointless and dull.
Even my kids, who just want to love me and be loved. When I walked in the door from my run, they both came running to me, as they usually do, with big hugs and big smiles, yelling, “Mommy’s home!!!!!” All the work I’ve done recently has led me to feel that love and those precious hugs. This morning, I couldn’t feel it. I wanted them to get off of me and go away, so they might be protected from noticing my lack of presence. I am so sad tomorrow is mother’s day. Last year I spent it suffocating inside severe depression and I remember looking at my children and feeling expansive guilt. I do not deserve their love. I deserve no one’s love, I remember thinking. I spent my gift, a weekend to myself in a hotel room, a weekend soon after, just trying to survive. I kept trying to do things I wanted to do, only to find myself in the hotel bed, crying alone, wishing I wasn’t alive.
That severe depression has only shown it’s face in relatively brief periods of time over the last 7 months, as opposed to months and months on end of hopelessness and praying for God to end it. But it feels rotten that depression has shown up now, when all I really want is to be present with my kiddos and feel joy with them.
When you’re in the middle of a situation that you’re longing to experience joyfully, but you just cannot, it’s quite terrible.
The idea of a break with my therapist seems appropriate and logical and maybe even necessary. At the very least, a break from her office space is needed.
But a break also feels abandoning. Even though it was my idea. Even though she has said she doesn’t want a break, but will respect what I want to do. Even though she tearfully said all of that which shows me the level of truth and love in her words. It feels like I was standing on a pier and an unexpected storm came in, taking out the supports and catapulting me into the roaring ocean waves.
If it’s necessary to take a break why does it feel so threatening? So utterly abandoning?
Because there are two separate but woven together parts of myself: the eating disorder part, and the traumatized part. One is a manager, the other is a small child. Little-me wants nothing to do with a break, and has heavily depended on support from my therapist to keep growing. Taking that support, taking a mom from her child, seems punishing and even traumatizing to a child. What’s left, because we aren’t done with the therapeutic work, is my eating disorder. My eating disorder represents parental love. If I can just weigh this double-digit number, my parents will love me.
A self-imposed break seems unavoidable. How can I go back to the space without being so triggered and get work done beyond moving through the panic and anxiety that is triggered? It seems like the only answer is time and distance.
A self-imposed break is also going to drown little-me. It’s already what I’m experiencing. This depression is real, and horrible, and incredibly unfortunate.
I know my therapist still loves me. I’ve learned, though, that I need to physically feel it to feel secure in it. It’s why I had unmet emotional needs my entire childhood, my parents rarely met my love language needs. And even used my needs against me or punished me for wanting or having those needs.
The abandoning part is leaving a traumatized child in the middle of the trauma (work). Because she hasn’t learned how to completely cope yet without her mom. But there’s really no way around it.
So I guess I sit with depression. And hope it doesn’t consume me to the point that it did last May & June. My heart is broken for the parts of me that find it hard to even have the idea of a break on the table, let alone follow through with it.