When I had my breakdown a few years ago, I felt so ashamed. How could this happen to me? I was always the one who handles everything. The bill paying, caring for our four children and the family pets, chief cook and bottle washer, as the saying went; the go-to person everyone relied on to solve problems. I was the hockey mom who became a coach and was a Division Head for the local Minor Hockey Association. I drove a van and took the hockey teams out of town for tournaments. I volunteered for the Sponsoring Committee for our local Air Cadets. I ran my own business. My husband never made his own lunch or dinner, I was always on top of everything.
Why was I suddenly sick all the time, unable to get things done? For months I pretended all was fine but eventually, I had to close my business and go to work for someone else. My boys finished with Minor Hockey and one by one, my children began living their own lives. Now I had to quit my job as I could no longer bear to leave the house. I sat in the lazyboy chair, in my pajamas, not even capable of changing the channel, it just took too much effort. "Depression", the doctor said and prescribed Zoloft. "Won't affect you a bit", he said, "no side effects. You can drive do everything you used to do, you will just feel better." So why was I suddenly aware that I was miles from home driving out of town and not knowing why or where I was going? Why did I leave home to pick up my son, 20 minutes away, and return home 6 hours later without him? Why did no one notice these events taking place? Why didn't my family see the change, except for my daughter, thousands of miles away? She enlisted the help of a pharmacist and they got me off Zoloft.
Now that several healing years have passed and I am once again more or less in charge of my own life; I can see that the stress of living that 'perfect wife and mother' lifestyle added to the stress of being an abused and sexually molested child raised by alcoholic parents in combination with living on my own at the age of 15 and raising my brothers and sisters; was all just too much.
It took a couple years and a lot of paint to make me function again. I started painting ceramic elves and evolved into the full time artist I am today. I paint the beauty and serenity of life, it keeps me pointed in the right direction. All I want is peace and quiet, the joy of the early morning sun on my face and a cup of tea to sip as I watch the sunlight fading into the glorious colors of sunset.
I have been left with the lingering reminder of those lost days, weeks and months, now diagnosed with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, and a daily regimen of painkillers. I still have the memories, mostly repressed, but not the ugliness of the old life. I avoid stress whenever possible. I play with my chihuahua and do crafts with my grand-daughter. I laugh more now and my husband and I have left the rat race and rediscovered our love. I no longer have to prove myself being worthy of love, respect and friendship.
I am free.