Monday, October 10, 2011

Keep On

    In the days following my friend's death, I seem to have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  The shock is still there, the rawness of her absence, and the grief and mourning are still palpable.  I've found myself feeling guilty in moments of my own happiness, almost ashamed that I still have the ability to laugh.  There is regret that I never returned her phone call, despite knowing that she would have made her decision whether we spoke or not.  There is an intense anger (something I despise feeling), not directed at my friend, but rather, at the illness that took over her mind, and resulted in her making an irreversible choice.  On top of all of that, there is a disgust for the driver who never bothered to stop or come forward after that morning's fatal event.
    My main focus right now, is to let myself feel what I need to, without getting lost and pulled into the black hole of depression.  It is a slippery slope though, knowing how quickly I can go from feeling a feeling, to being consumed by those feelings.  Despite all these emotions swirling, I know that I cannot let them take over.  Doing so, would be giving into my own illness, giving up the fight, and I am not willing to compromise myself and the progress I have made.  Although I can completely identify with what my friend must have been feeling in the moments leading up to her decision, I also can recognize that I am not in that place anymore.  
  In a lot of ways, mental illnesses can be like cancer. Sometimes you go through the treatments, you fight hard, and you are cured.  Sometimes you have years of being in remission.  Sometimes, the cancer of mental illness just takes over, depletes all your resources, and takes your life.  Having had three parents who actually had cancer, I know that it took an amazing amount of strength, and an unwavering will to live on their part. It got them through their treatments, their pain, and eventually led to their remissions.  They fought hard, and they won.  Imagine then, a cancer of the mind, that robs you of the very thing you need to fight it: strength and an unwavering will to live.
   I think the saving grace for me in all of this, is the daily group that I attend, and that my friend was also a  part of.  I know I am not alone on this emotional ride.  There are others in the group who are going through exactly the same thing.  They feel the pain from losing this incredible woman.  They understand the anger, and the guilt.  It is hard for us all, knowing that she was trying so hard to fight her illness and get better, just like the rest of us.  She had spent years trying to get the help she so desperately needed.  She did everything in her power to not let the illness take over, but despite her best efforts, the illness won.
    I refuse to give up the fight.  I will continue to educate myself on the facts about mental illness, and all  of it's signs, symptoms, and side effects.  I will continue to blog about my own experiences, so that the people who read it, can learn, can relate, and maybe can help themselves, or someone else.  I will continue to take all the experiences that are presented to me in my life, and make a lesson worth learning out of it.  I am determined keep moving forward, no matter what it takes.


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