Coming to Terms

I’ve been in a funk for several months. About four or so months ago I decided to get in to a counselor and work out whatever was going on. After about two months, it was apparent to me that the therapist was just biding time, satisfying my need to talk to someone. I wasn’t any better or any worse for that matter but my depression wasn’t debilitative, so I declared the conversations done and didn’t go back.

My husband keeps telling me I need to get on anti-depressants, and I keep telling him I’ve survived worse without meds so I can get through this as well. I just need to figure out what “it” is and come to terms with it.

So for many weeks I’ve been in a contemplative state, just rolling things around in my head, awake and in my sleep, waiting for some sore spot to stick out so I can focus on it. But I’m growing impatient. Nothing is calling to me. And in the last few days I’ve come to realize that maybe what “it” is, is an acceptance of sorts. Am I like the Jack Nicholson character who steps into a therapist’s waiting room filled with people and asks, “What if this is as good as it gets?”

Call it a midlife crisis, call it exhaustion, call it menopause. It really doesn’t matter what name anyone gives “it”, the fact is I’m in a funk. And I just need to accept it and my life, as it is, and move on. And anyone familiar with Twelve Step programs knows very well that acceptance comes only after admitting the problem. So what is my problem?

There are two at the very top of the list. The first has to do with my youngest daughter who recently turned twenty years old. When Brianna was about fourteen she got caught up in a bad crowd and fell madly in love with a boy who showed her things she shouldn’t have seen. It set her off onto a downward spiral of poor choices and bad experiences with no apparent “rock bottom.” No matter what I tried, I could not get her back on the right path. And sometimes even I got sucked into the vortex of that downward spiral. The good news is that Brianna is finally on the right path, with both feet firmly planted. She’s not taking forward steps as quickly as I want her to, but the fact is she is moving forward. About two weeks ago she took the final series of tests to get her GED and this week we should get the results. I am confident she will pass; she’s still full of doubt. I’m happy she’s reached this milestone, but I’m still not satisfied. What I need to come to terms about Brianna is that her life will never be the life I dreamed for her. Yeah, I know. It’s her life and she gets to live it. And I just need to let go. If she’s happy, then I should be happy that she’s happy. Sometimes acceptance is pretty easy on the surface, but thick as mud underneath.

The second thing at the top of the list is the fact that I am a spoiled brat. Seriously. It’s a very tough thing to come to terms with. Back in 2008, my husband and I suffered a series of setbacks that were out of our control and cost us dearly financially. Prior to 2008 we were both living the dream. Life was grand. Now, life’s not so grand. But the fact is, every day I manage to put food on the table and every night we go to sleep in a nice bed in a warm and beautiful house. We have absolutely nothing to complain about. And yet I complain, and I whine, and some days I throw a pity party. This is not the life I had planned, not what I wanted, and a hundred steps back from where I was five years ago. And when I hear those thoughts pass through my head I yell at myself, “Shutupaboutit already! Geez!” I hate that I cannot get over this. I am so angry with myself that I cannot count the blessings I have. I am so frustrated that I get full of envy and jealousy. It’s disgusting. I’m disgusting!

It’s November and so many people are offering their “daily thanks.” I desperately want to be among them, but I cannot see the forest through the trees. Sue enough I can think of several things I am thankful for, but it’s kind of a “glass half empty” frame of mind. My whole life I’ve been an optimistic person and have always been able to see the positive and never lost hope. Why is my glass suddenly half empty instead of half full? I used to dream big dreams, but they became too painful so I quit. And look where it put me. In a funk. Is this as good as it gets? And if it is, how do I come to terms with that?

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