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Keeping The Hope


It’s hard to sit and write again; so much going on. Firstly, all the work commitments that have to be completed despite the current happenings; then, the reality of coming home. What next? How to manage the situation? Can your child return home after attempting to take her life and expect everything to just move on? To my mind this is not possible. I think, if it were me, I would need time to process what had happened: how had I got to this place; how could I help myself to not get here again; but how would I do all of this with only a once-a-week visits to the local outreach unit or the private psychologist? I decide that my only option is to take her to a private clinic. After 5 years of struggling with the public system as a resource, I had once before turned to a private hospital, and it changed our lives. We found it to be a place where she could safely spend day after day learning how to manage her daemons. Obviously, not everything changed for the better, but the private hospital did give her hope for recovery—not merely a place of safety; and, it gave me a chance to catch my breath. Every time I think about this option I feel guilty. I feel guilt, because having private health insurance privileges my daughter to receive a 21 day program which teaches her to rebuild herself and re-enter the world with stronger skills and support. Despite the guilt, I know this has to happen again. We are lucky, only 5 days at home before an admission is possible. This means 5 days of anxiety as I watch from the corner of my eye every move and action. We make it—relief. A week in and things seemed to be going smoothly. Of course, there are the usual ups and downs of readjusting to routine, having to talk about how you feel, having to do the work to make the changes and, then, mid-way through week two we both hit a bump. Perhaps it is more like a crater! In we both fall. I unravel. She doesn’t want to see me; no visits should please me. I can be alone in my apartment, something ordinarily I would love. Peace, quiet and space, but at this particular time it is like I am being engulfed by an immense black cloud of emptiness. Every which way I turn there is nothing but darkness weighing down upon me. I know that I should walk or get out but I can’t muster the energy to do either, so I sleep and eat and binge watch TV into the late hours of the night. I manage to do just enough work to stop a pile up. After several days I know I needed help, so I spend time with my sister and ring friends to ask them to please walk with me. Slowly but surely I claw my way out of that pit of exhaustion back into life, but not a moment to soon. On my first morning of feeling I could cope, I am pulled back onto that out of control rollercoaster that is my life. The interesting thing for me, in all of this, is that it gives me a glimpse of what it must be like to live with that darkness every day. For a small moment in time I too felt the emptiness, the struggle, the weight of it all, the challenge to motivate myself, the inability to sound interested in anything, that heaviness in the chest. On reflection, I see that this is the life that my daughter and those like her live. This is beyond difficult. As I write this, I am already re-evaluating how I can help my daughter. She has discharged herself from hospital and is coiled in her bed struggling to escape her dark thoughts. I am now more in tune with her: I do understand how hard it is to have a shower, to get dressed. At this moment, I still remember the heavy embrace of that dark cloud; but I also know that being a born optimist I will forget these feelings. I will once again dive into the brightness of the morning light as it dances on my bedroom windows, lose myself in a beautiful sunset or marvel at the beauty of puffy, cotton-wool clouds drifting across a dazzling blue sky. I live for the day we can share these joys together. However, for now, it’s up to me to point them out. I watch to see if for a small moment I’ve distracted her from her darkness and allowed a ray of light to bring her hope. Collage


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