Monday, October 31, 2005

Tough questions from the peanut gallery

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 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 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 biochemistry or 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 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.


deadbabymama said...

I don't think a good psychiatrist is in order because I think they tend to medicate too much (my bias, I know!), but I do think a good therapist could really help you. This business about your opinion not mattering, about other people being smarter or more together or whatever - it's all bullshit. Comparing yourself to others and denigrating your own wonderful self is a crappy way to live one's life (believe me, I know) and therapy would help you release yourself from those patterns and feel better, heck help you BE better. This isn't just about Alex and his death, this is about larger issues; and no wonder they are coming up in this time of great gried and struggle and guilt and anger etbloodycetra. Everything you say makes perfect sense, but it isn't all true or necessary - go get someone to help you sort it out and start living a full life again.

I know I might sound a little over the top, I'm not really good at communicating gently especially online so please don't take this as harsh, or mean, that is not my intention. I just get worried and frustrated when I see people struggle with something that I know can be made easier with the right kind of help.

Rant/sermon over ;)

Jill said...

I'm sure you remember the book 'In Cold Blood' where the family get murdered in their beds by an unknown assailant.

Reading the way you aportion the blame for Alex's death reminded me of them. Why? Because by your logic they must somehow have contributed to their own murders.

I know there is more to this post than this aspect, but I wanted to point out that a germ invaded your body and Alex's body. It was an outsider who killed your son, not you. It crept in in the dark and took you by surprise. You may not have stopped it, but you didn't intend it and you didn't start it.

And your opinion matters to me. You are smart and witty and compassionate. I don't know if you are more or less of any of those things than anyone else, but I certainly feel privileged to know your thoughts in relation to my life.

lauralu said...

you were brave to consider my question. i hope you can hold on to some of that bravery long enough for you to find the right therapist. i don't say it to imply that something is wrong with you. it's just that we all need some help, and probably never more than after we've lost our children. deadbabymama is right in that you deserve freedom from self-doubt. she's right about all of it, but that part in particular.

you're not too far from painesville, are you? vixanne gave me the name of a therapist who specializes in our kind of crap recently. i'm going to see if i can find it and i'll e-mail it to you.

lauralu said...

i'm at work and can't find your e-mail address, but here's what vixanne sent me:

Kate Feighan-Becka, Michelle Carlson
Lake East Hospital
10 E. Washington St.
Painesville, OH 44077
Phone: 440-354-2400 ext 1929

i don't know if those women are therapists or coordinators or what, but there's supposed to be an active loss group in painesville. i checked, and painesville is so close to you. just so you wouldn't offer up any chicken-y excuses about distance.

Catherine said...

It was an outsider who killed your son, not you. It crept in in the dark and took you by surprise.

Granted...but it happened INSIDE ME. You have to appreciate the difference here.