Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Sustainable Life

Early morning,  before the crack of dawn...
I think I hear "Mom!" being screamed from another room.
Afterward, I lay in bed awake —perturbed that my sleep has been interrupted.
My mind starts rambling... 
How am I going to do this?
We can’t go on like this.
This is not a sustainable life. 

I am by definition a nurturer, a fixer, an easer of pain for those I love especially,  my children.  This is who I have become in the past 20 years and probably, some years before that with my siblings and even my parents. Even though they are all older, I have always been the one that they count on to help facilitate communication.
I keep the family together when they start to lose touch with one another.

With my immediate family, my husband, children and my mother, my role is the same —the facilitator, referee, coordinator and problem solver.

But no one can be everything to everyone. 
This is not a sustainable life.

When it comes to my children, intellectually, I know that I am operating out of fear, anxiety and quite frankly, intimidation. 
I know that what I’m doing, is trying to cushion Red's fall. 
I’m trying to silence the explosion.   
The bough is hanging by a thin thread. 
It’s about to break.
This is not a sustainable life.

My husband and I are stressed beyond recognition.
He walked into his doctor's office the other day. She said, "What the hell happened to you?"
We have the same doctor.
I've probably been subconsciously avoiding her for the past few months because I know she will say the same thing to me.  
All of this haunts me. 
This is not a sustainable life.

I've said this before. I know, I’m like the mother bird who wants to push my little fledgling out of the nest. 
“You can fly! I know you can do it!” 
But as soon as he starts plummeting towards the earth, I fly in to scoop him up, never giving him the chance to figure it out for himself.
This is not a sustainable life.

He’s an adult. 
He’s twice my size. 
I literally can not cushion his fall.
He will smash me! 
In an attempt to save him, I will kill myself!
I will disappear. 
As it is, there are only traces of my former self.  
I have allowed one of my children to absorb about sixty to seventy percent of my energy. 
That leaves about thirty to forty percent for everything and everyone else, including myself.  
This is not a sustainable life.

I can not breathe.  
I can not exhale. 
Most days I can feel the vibration of my heart beating, like a bass drum. 
I attempt deep breaths, trying to slow my heart rate. The fix is only momentary.
I’m living in PTSD mode. 
Always preparing for the next explosion.
This is not a sustainable life.

I would like to give photo credit
however, this was sent to me by a friend.
Arthur Unknown
I have to think about the rest of my family. 
I must think of our health and safety.
I keep things moving along mostly on automatic pilot. 
I try to keep my sense of humor.
I attempt to find some semblance of enjoyment in my life.
I color in one of my adult coloring books while feeling a mixture of guilt and self-loathing because I'm not writing.
The truth is most of the time, I can't string two thoughts together, much less a full story.
This is not a sustainable life.
Colored by me!
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In quiet moments, the enormity of it all overwhelms me. 
It’s crushing me.
I’m drowning.
I remind myself that I've done everything I know how to do.
I have pulled out every big gun in my arsenal.
I’ve tried.
I’m not a doctor, a pharmacist or a therapist. 
I have played all of these roles in real life, for a long time.
This is not a sustainable life.

He fights everything and everyone who tries to help him.
I realize that his behaviors are mostly based in fear, anxiety and his autistic, different way of thinking. 
That doesn’t change what it’s doing to the rest of us, physically and emotionally.
This is not a sustainable life. 

In a phone call the other day I told him, “It's time for you to change your own life. I can not make it happen for you anymore than I could make you lose weight.
(Recently, he made that decision for himself and he’s lost a considerable amount.)   
I told him, “When you finally decided to do it, YOU made it happen. I have faith that you will be able to do that with the rest of your life.” 

Every experience in life changes who you are. 
I’m going to have to believe that in the end,  all of us will be changed for the better.
All of us will be stronger. 
In the end this will be a long, incredibly painful, success story, with a few cautionary tales weaved in between. 
It is not a story that I can contrive or create like the novelist I once wanted to be. 
This story has to play itself out, one long, excruciating chapter at a time. 
I have to let go and let God write this script.
All this time, I’ve been thinking God needed my help.
He doesn’t.
He’s in charge.
Until this story reaches it's climax, God will sustain me.

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