The questions caught me off guard. He asked me if I was whole. How I knew. When I got there. What it felt like. Who decides I’m there.
My brain jumped to answer to the last question. Because it’s easiest to process what’s closest.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been thinking about wholeness since the questions were tossed at me by someone feeling broken beyond repair.
I’ve been there.
But I’m not there any more.
How it happened, when I got here, I’m not sure. I didn’t wake up one morning relieved that I was finally complete, healed. But it happened, and I’m here.
Being whole doesn’t mean I don’t hurt, that I’m never petty, never feel needy. Being whole doesn’t mean I don’t have things to work on. It’s almost the opposite. Since part of being whole is accepting who I am, it means also accepting I have room to grow. I’m not perfect, never will be, but I’m happy with who I am, with the understanding that I’ll keep moving forward and growing. I accept myself, flaws and all, and am empowered to become my best self. I had no hope things would get better, that I could get better.
I won’t always get it right; I don’t always get it right. But I won’t beat myself up when I stumble, nor waste time and energy on regret. My choices are my choices. I don’t need anyone to tell me who I am. I like attention, probably still a little too much, and validation. But I can find contentment despite. I am worthy regardless of what anyone thinks about me… even if no one likes my Facebook and Instagram posts… but feel free to check me out and follow…
Being whole is both about how I am within myself, and how I interact with the world.
I’m not defined by any role or relationship. Obviously, being a mom plays a huge part in the shape of my days, my choices, my actions. But being Mom doesn’t define me.
1. state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.
2. mark out the boundary or limits of.
I’ve struggled with a severe mood disorder. I’ll probably always be on a mood stabilizer. I had to accept the term mentally ill to describe the reality of living with a glitch in my brain. And when I got to the point of just surviving from one moment to the next, it did limit me. It’s exhausting to just exist. Especially when you believe you shouldn’t exist.
I don’t remember exactly when I heard it, or in what context, but someone said that depression is self-absorbed. It brought me up short. But it is. I’ve lived with three chronically depressed people, four when you count me. The fixation on the endless circle of negative thoughts. Focus on personal inadequacy, degenerates to believing you’re worthless. Anhedonia leads further into numb, unable to feel anything but pain and then… nothing… Everything, everyone feels far away, so very far away. Impossible to touch. Social withdrawal. It typically doesn’t feel selfish, in fact, in a suicidal episode, the belief others would be better off without you seems the only good thing you can give.
In a major depressive episode, there’s no room for anyone else. So, yeah, self-absorption.
In the worst of my depression, when all I wanted was to not be, the black despair seemed to be all there was of me, that I’d never be anything more, and anything more I seemed to be in the past was an illusion.
My broken brain defined me, for periods of time, for a season, a dark winter in which autumn was the worst.
And I won’t lie, the darker tendrils of the change from summer to fall are unfurling, grasping at me, making me trip. Some days are harder than others. This moment isn’t what I’d call easy. But. I’m okay. I’m more than my feelings.
And I’m more than okay. Because I can own it all.
The reply I texted back:
I decide. I just am. Do I feel whole all the time? No. Do I have things I need to work on? You know I do, and I know I do – which is part of being whole. It’s in how I interact with the world and, more importantly, how I am within myself. When? I’m not sure. It’s not like waking up one morning like, Damn, I am now AWESOME. In a way, I grew up.
His other question: Can I be?
Well, my friend… and my friends… that’s up to you.