As toxic as my apartment had become I couldn’t help but feel like a failure moving back home. I cried pulling away from that dumb apartment. I wasn’t supposed to ever go back home. I told myself it wouldn’t happen. Once I left I was gone and I always do what I say I’m going to do. The months of October, November and December are a blur. If I wasn’t at work or at the gym I was in bed. Literally, in bed. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, how long I had been there, what was planned for the day, I didn’t care. I remember one Saturday in early October having made plans with a friend and just completely ignoring those plans. I was in bed that entire day. I had a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving and I only remember leaving my room for Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t want to interact with anyone. I was tired all of the time. The anger I had felt previously was gone. I felt beaten down and weak. Every morning I drove to work I had to force myself to not turn around. I would call my mom crying from work for no particular reason. I would cry in the car on the way home. I remember one night crying myself to sleep to the point of barely being able to open my eyes the next morning. Things were not getting better.
The one positive thing I can look back on through all of this is the close girlfriends I had that were always there for me. They were always a text away. Whether it was 6 in the morning or 11:30 at night. I always had one of them. They allowed me to cry. They listened when I needed them to. They tried to lift me up and give me advice. They helped me and before I knew it I was sitting down with a new therapist. This time I was working with a Cognitive Behavioral Health therapist. I had no idea what that even meant when I was calling for the appointment. I didn’t even care. Cognitive Behavioral Health is a different kind of therapy. You aren’t just sitting in a chair talking about your problems. You are setting a goal for each appointment. You are setting long term goals. You are rerouting the way your brain has thought it’s entire life. It’s work, but it’s the most important work.
I started seeing my new therapist in December. I didn’t have goals going in. My only goal was to feel better. We only had a few appointments before my Great Grandma fell and was put in the ICU. If I thought I was in a haze before I was completely blacked out at this point. I remember very little from those days. I remember going to the hospital and getting updates from my mom during the day. I remember seeing my family that I loved crying. The men that I loved crying. I remember seeing my Grandma in excruciating pain and feeling that pain when she squeezed our hands harder than they’ve ever been squeezed. I remember trying to push through Christmas without her all while feeling her missing presence. I don’t remember driving or eating or working. I remember trying to fill my brother in on every detail before he deployed. And before I knew it I remember holding her hand as she passed away. That’s the week I stopped listening to music.
My Great Grandma was an amazing woman. She’s remembered by many as the woman who would give the finger to the camera for a photo. That’s not how I remember her. I remember her as the hardest working woman I’ve ever known. One of the classiest and strongest women I’ve known. I remember decorating her Christmas tree in the most OCD way possible. I remember her showing my sister how to alter my prom dress and guide her through hemming her upstairs curtains. I remember her moving around the kitchen cooking dinner every night. I remember her hair and makeup always being done, her nails always painted. I remember her stories, her love and her wisdom. I remember her.
After the funeral and all of the holidays were over I went back to therapy. I was asked how I was doing with the passing of my Grandma and I said okay. I always just said okay, but I wasn’t okay. I was a hollow shell of a person and I couldn’t breath, but for the first time I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to part ways with some things in my life. I had to move on and say goodbye. There is no point in holding on to people that prove time and time again they do not care about you. It doesn’t matter how much you care about them. You need to put yourself first in this situation. You’ll be the only one getting hurt in the end and I was hurt. She had me write a goodbye letter. I wrote that letter about five times. I wrote pages and pages and pages until I finally summed it up in a few paragraphs. When I read it to my therapist I cried. As much as I had cried on my own I had never cried in front of her. I couldn’t keep this cry in. Writing that letter was hard, but it was eye opening. Now that I had said goodbye it was time to work on myself. What I discovered about myself was shocking because it was never brought to my attention. I was always talking about all the people I worried about and cared about and loved in my life. I never realized that I didn’t love myself. I never realized I didn’t think I was worthy of love.