When someone close becomes ill, by means of any kind of mental instability or disease, it’s incredibly difficult to comprehend what you are witnessing; as they begin to deteriorate.
To be honest, it was like waiting for the show ‘Punked’ to come running out, because there was no possible way that this could really be happening.
Hallucinations, panic attacks, suicide idealtion, their loss of positive memories due to complete cognitive distortion… sometimes they don’t even remember loving you. Or maybe they even believed you were committing adultery.
You learn quite about yourself when faced with something so horrific. You just do the things necessary. You just get through. You fight your ass off for them because they can’t. You can forget about showing emotion in front of them because it only makes them feel worse.
Then there is the guilt when you watch yourself behave in such a way that is selfish because of your own human shortcomings- when you are under your own pressure cooker of distress:
Anger when things don’t get better. If they fight or cannot accept help. Remorse or shame from seeking attention, in the hopes of one bit of affection from the man you still desire as he is quickly slipping away.
The grieving process begins way before the death. I can’t even begin on what’s it’s like to, almost overnight, yearn for the man you hear in the videos that your 4 year old is playing on your phone. The “before” pictures are too hard to look at. Keeping the “after” pictures to yourself. Except for one. Because it doesn’t look like much is wrong. So you share it on Facebook. And no one knows.
You want to scream.
This kind of grief is just as hard. Knowing that things will never be exactly the same as they used to.
After the death is when it all hits. You’ve kept it together. Now there is so much room to breathe and too much open space to now to process everything you’ve just observed and endured. And suddenly. You can’t remember the way they were before. Before the illness.
This kind of trauma has to be addressed before you can even begin to think about processing and accepting the death.
I only took care of my husband for 3 months. It took me 2 months to remember him not being sick. I couldn’t find the good memories blocked behind the trauma.
Children who have taken care of their parents, or spouses who have endured alcoholism, addiction, PTSD or other illnesses for much longer- this can take years to even begin to understand what’s really happened and work through healing.
One of the most frustrating things I see still going around in mental health awareness or suicide prevention tactics is thinking that these victims could easily have picked up a phone to ask for help. For many, by this point, their hands have been tied, their voice muted. That’s what the disease does. That’s the misconception.
And for the ones who really tried to get help, well so