The Past and the Present


At therapy yesterday I spoke of my cousin Sean’s recent passing and how I have been struggling. I struggled with driving to the location where my therapy is, as that is where my cousin’s body lay, a hard concept to swallow. His body in the physical sense was there, but his spirit had already left and traveled on to his next journey, of a destination surrounded by our family already waiting for him. 

You know I’ve experienced many emotions from lost in thought and what I call time travel. It is where my mind travels back to a place of happy, where the world seemed so simple then. As much as I have come a long way, my own personal journey has a long way to go. 

I’ve been working on staying present, for I know too well what it means to be stuck, old emotions holding me back with grudges and resentments that when you see all the struggles that Sean went through with his own demons, is a reminder of how precious we all are. 

I will never claim that Sean, myself or anyone with a mental illness are angelic, or perfect. In fact perfection is something we fight within ourselves everyday. Our self esteem is a core battle. For some they can overcome some of the basic needs to give their self esteem a boost. For myself, it is always gnawing at me. It comes at me quite often when someone pays me a compliment, it could be over a conversation we had, or recognizing our own strengths. 

The past, especially if it is something you have held tight to your soul, as a means of identification, or to give it an identity, can swallow you up fast. Especially if no balance between Past and Present is alive. Too often people get caught up in the Past, in the old arguments of yester year, of memories long since gone by. Slowly but surely, that chip on your shoulder grows and grows, before you know it, one side of your body is teetering more to one side than the other, because of the weight of the grudges you hold and not released. 

I don’t know of Sean’s personal demons, some may know, but I suspect many don’t. Just like myself, some know, but there are many who don’t.  

I wish I could advocate for Sean; perhaps that is what I should be doing, advocating for those that aren’t able to for themselves? I’ve been really questioning my purpose in life lately. For a woman to experience so many life events as I have, and getting back up each and every time, it does get harder and harder to see through the various spider webs that have developed that are thick with years of hanging on within my soul. I’ve noticed that as each layer starts to break away, a little bit of sunshine gets in, readying to burn off the heavy, thickness that has consumed my soul for so long. 

My Past is not pretty, but my Present is getting a lot better. My focus is on healing myself, to learn to take day by day. Is it easier said than done? Of course it is! What makes me fight to live? I don’t know and I so wish I did. 

If I knew what makes me fight to live, I surely would have passed it on to my cousin. Losing him has left a huge hole in my heart, in my family’s heart and in his friends’ hearts. The magnitude of support and kindness that has been shown to my family, shows just how much Sean and my family has meant to people. 

I’ve always thought I didn’t matter, that I would never be noticed if I left this place we call Earth. I’m positive that Sean felt this as well. Perhaps he didn’t directly know how many friends loved him? One can “guess” at what Sean thought, but just like asking yourself “why”, you will never know and for that, I apologize, because even I can’t answer the way things happen.

Living with a mental illness, especially a lifelong one sucks. Things we all take for granted, things that everyone does every day without even thinking about doing, (brushing your teeth, showering,eating, putting your sock on! – how many times have I sat on my bed, thinking about what I had to do next!), Even the most mundane of tasks couldn’t been seen for how difficult they could be. 

Presently I’ve decided to open up about my battle with mental illness. Why? Simply put, because I do not want to lose another Family Member, Friend, Colleague, Lover, Partner. I do not want another person to feel like they have no one, that there is no one to reach for. Yes there is the Crisis Line http://www.crisiscentre.bc.ca/ and various material available to read and keep nearby. I’m not sure what it will take, but one way or another, if I can reach one person, to let them know I understand, that I have felt my own pain and be able to give that person a sense of hope, then I can’t ask for anymore than that. 

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