Good question posed in comments...
catherine, do YOU really believe that what you say matters? i get the feeling sometimes that you don't think your opinion equal to everyone else's. i'm just saying. feel free to throw bricks at me.
My entire life I have been surrounded by people who are smarter, more empathetic, more conversational, more dramatic...you get the picture. I never really found my niche...who I am...the definition of me. Maybe it was partly low self-esteem that made me think I wasn't x, y, or z...but I generally think that I just realized I wasn't yet in "my" time or place.
I was really coming into my own before Alex died. In fact, my mom and I had had conversations where we talked about how I was finally, "comfortable in my own skin." Steve and I had talked about how happy we were. Sure, we had our issues, but they were of the kind that irritate you...not knock you down for the count. I finally thought, "This is something I'm able to do right." I THOUGHT I could raise happy and healthy children. Now it's just all gone to crap again and I'm trying to figure out who to be again.
So no, I guess I don't feel like my opinion is equal to everyone else's. Self-doubt is a very strong opponent. And there is nothing like having your body kill your child to send self-doubt on a victory lap. Why didn't I do something? anything? How could I let this happen? How could I possibly have anything to say about anything when I can't even do the one thing right that I thought I was good at? Or maybe I'm not as good at it as I thought I was?
I know all the experts and all the moms who have been there know that self-doubt and blame are tough to shake. And nobody would ever outwardly say anything that would even remotely be interpreted as blame. But for ME...I can't disassociate my brain from my body. I have always believed in the whole being...body and soul together...one without the other is no existence. Even those with physical or mental "handicaps" have some form of both to their existence.
So sure, I didn't do anything intentionally. You might even say my body betrayed me. But in the final analysis, I failed. It is MY fault. Whether my brain did this intentionally or not, my body...my biochemistry or whatever...is what killed Alex. So the end result is the same. I am responsible for doing something so "unnatural." That thing that I thought was so easy...so natural...I can't even trust my body to do normally. And if my body doesn't act naturally, then maybe I'm not as good at anything as I thought.
I can't trust half of my existence, so the other half is crippled and waiting for a cue as to what to do. I haven't lost my body...but I have no confidence that it will support me anymore. So my soul is looking around, a bit bewildered, and wondering if it is trustworthy. Half an existence.
I'm sure this makes no sense and a good psychiatrist is what is in order. But I think a good psychiatrist has been in order for the past almost six months now. Which might lead me to a rant about mental health services...if I had the time. But I really should work now so I can post another cheerful post later today.