Let me start with this: do not include your daughter in your divorce. Do not include your daughter in your divorce. Do not include your daughter in your divorce.
Now we can proceed.
I’m not going to discuss the events. I’m not going to discuss my feelings toward the events. I’m not going to discuss the shambles of a failing-after-twenty-five-years family.
Instead we’re going to talk about depression.
Everyone calls depression a “shadow” or “monster” or, as my minister puts it, “the big black dog.” But it’s not actually like that. Depression is the cousin who you see every once in a while, depending on how close you two are. Depression offers the comfort of familiarity for a time, until you two stop getting along of course.
My cousin and I rarely saw each other growing up, separated by 390 miles and awkward family tensions. But when all of…this? unfolded, she became my best friend. She knows my family – it’s small and we’re all each other has. So naturally I would team up with her. But when we were younger, we’d anticipate each other’s company like a dog for his owner after a long day’s work, except we became cats after a few hours and the claws came out and home we went.
So let’s return to that divorce thing. When you’re twenty-one, you’d think your parents’ divorce wouldn’t affect you the way it would if you were five. But the problem is, a five year old doesn’t know anything and thus isn’t included in the conversations. No one wants the five-year-old to think that Daddy is an abusive alcoholic, no one wants the five-year-old to know that Mommy had an affair – so why the twenty-one year old? Just because she understands the word “divorce” doesn’t mean she has to understand the underlying reasons for it.
Which brings us to this morning. When I was in the car with my best friends in the world. When I was in charge of driving us the seven hours it takes to get home from my grandparents’. When it took all I had to not swerve the car and hit a tree because my cousin was back.
(Aside: not my actual cousin, she’s wonderful)
I can’t explain why or how depression comes back the way it does, but it does. I know Mother had texted me regarding Father, sharing some things I really didn’t need to know but it was also related to me so all in all I had to be included. But all in all, the texts triggered the depression, which basically tried to push me off the cliff and I was holding on like Mufasa as Scar released him to the wildebeest stampede.
Point is, I choked down lunch, crawled through Walmart, had my boyfriend open my energy drink because I just couldn’t bring myself to, and tried to cheer up with our custom road trip playlist. I’m not sure what did it, but somewhere in there I was able to choke out a laugh and managed to pull myself back up.
I told you I wasn’t going to talk about my feelings toward the divorce. That’s not what this is. This is about a crippling (cliché, I know) disease that is triggered by my feelings toward the divorce. My brain spins with questions; is it adultery or alcoholism or abuse or hatred or disgust or all of the above and more? And when circling my thoughts, digging for answers or even a sliver of my broken hope, the depression tugs at my sleeves and at my heartstrings, begging for the attention I willingly give. Yes, I do miss it. Yes, I do crave it. Yes, sometimes I neglect to take my anxiety medication because I like the panic attack. But in this particular instance, when I was responsible for three lives for the next seven (ended up eight) hours, it was not the time to allow myself to break down.
My boyfriend will put it like this when we’re in public and he needs to panic: “I need to be okay right now.” I give him flack for it because I want him to feel safe and comfortable, but then I turn around and do the exact same thing. Later I tell him about what was going on during lunch, but I brush it off like it was no big deal and there’s absolutely no mention of the suicidal thoughts. So while I want to break down, I need to be okay right now.
And I think that’s how my parents feel. I don’t think they realize the effect they’re having on me by throwing me into this during my second-to-last semester of college. My grades are dropping and I’m not 100% certain it’s because I’m not studying enough. You just can’t take someone who is mentally unstable and throw rocks at them. The glass façade shatters and leaves shards everywhere which the person then steps on do you see my point?
The only time I’ve cried regarding it was because I was worried about my dog and how he’ll feel. That’s it. I’ve wanted to cry, I’ve wanted to panic, but all that comes is discomfort in my stomach and a few choice words. And apparently now potential suicide risk. But no tears.
There’s really no good way to end this, but I feel like I’ve said what I needed to say. I have my family at college and my family at church. I have my best friends and I have my cousin. Starting tomorrow I’ll have my dog for a week. I am safe and I am loved, not that those thoughts help the depression at all. But they’re something.
This feels like the worst ending in the history of endings, but the story is not over yet. Philippians 1:6