11th October 2008
I've just returned from two profound days out hiking/camping in the bush (which I'll have to write about soon in order to process the experience).
Waiting in my in-box was an email from my younger sister, Trudy who struggles daily to overcome annihalation by the deadly grim reaper of depression and loneliness.
Her email was in response to that last blog entry about my son which I sent to her last week.
Trudy's words will cut deep but I post them here to illustrate how words from a person speaking their deepest Truth can pierce into your heart like an arrow:
Wow! What an email Sal. I think I get where you're coming from. I mean, you're so far advanced in the 'enlightenment' area (which I do truly believe (intellectually, that is) is the only real path to true happiness, despite being about as far away from it as its possible to be!).
But when your daily life is an actual living nightmare, when every ounce of your energy goes towards just getting through the day without slitting your wrists (literally!!), all that enlightenment stuff seems so irrelevent (and out of reach). My energy levels are so non-existent that I can no longer even have a basic everyday conversation with anyone coz it takes too much effort to make small talk. It's all 'acting'. And I've also noticed that I'm incapable of being in the presence of ANYONE who is not 'real' or 'honest', because if they're not relating to me from an honest place deep down in their soul, I can tell by how much energy it takes for me to converse with (relate to) them. It means I have to pretend and act along with them, that I give a damn shit about the crap they're talking about, and I just don't have the energy left to pretend at all anymore.
Can't pretend I'm feeling fine when I'm not, can't pretend all is well when it's not, can't pretend I give a shit about the weather, the economy, mum's knee. No energy for anything that is not immediately related to my very survival as a human being - all else has now been stripped away.
This is why I find it hard to be in Jenny's (our older sister's) presence - as much as I love her to death for her lifelong quest to look after me, 'rescue' me; her generous heart and soul, and a thousand other wonderful things about her... she is unable to be who she really is deep down inside and she seems to me to be working her butt off to create this bullshit facade. She's done an awful lot of training in how to handle people, communicate in a 'non-judgemental way', etc., etc., which may serve her just fine in her job, but it's a facade she can't drop and it drains the very fucking life out of me to talk to her. I have the same problem with mum. But I know this is my struggle and I know everyone in the family does "love and care about me" and no-one deserves the hostility and poison that seems to be filling me right now.
Like Nik, I can no longer 'act' and so have no choice but to avoid everyone. But that leaves an unbearable isolation and lonliness and a lifelong search for just where I fit in this world. I know in my heart/soul/guts that you are the real thing, Sal - I don't feel at all drained in your company - that's all I know right now. Everything else I thought I knew no longer applies. I know I'm facing a life and death struggle now. I wonder if Nik feels this same struggle? I feel like I kinda know his soul, but I wish I knew him as a fellow human traveller. One of the worst feelings is the isolation and lonliness - bravo Nik for being able to take you to where he is. Fuck 'social skill's'!! The skill for him to communicate his inner turmoil in a way that you could truly understand and relate to shits on a lifetime of practised fucking shit social skills.
I hope he makes it. And I hope he realises the gift he has in having you as his mother. I wish I could relate to Sam on that level but there's so much fucking crap in the way! Where did it all come from? Plus I'm wrestling with that protective need as his mother to not burden him with what is my struggle - I see he has his own struggles ("don't confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them" - Jackson Browne - 'These Days'. That's how I feel when I think of Sam and my failings as his parent.) And there's nothing he can do to help me anyway. It doesn't feel like there's anything anyone can do, except for me, and I've lost the will now - whatever that 'lifeforce' used to be in me before has now gone so I'm not really a willing participant in my own life anymore.
I sense Nik is still in there fighting? Where in a world full of facades, illusions, fake images, greed, and general crap does someone so real go to not feel that crushing loneliness and isolation? Is this what he's essentially struggling with?
I used to think I was attracted to drugs and alcohol from a young age coz I wanted to 'escape reality', but lately I'm wondering if I've really just been on a lifelong search for what's actually real and instead wanted to escape from all the bullshit. Hence my sensitivity right now to growing up with a mother whose whole life seemed to me to revolve around maintaining a facade of 'we're all just a big happy close family and I'm the beloved wonderful matriarch'. Fuck!! The woman hasn't been sober for 30 years!! In a way, Mico (my ex-husband and father of my children) was similar - when there was an audience it seemed to me as if he tried to put on an act about 'his pride and joy family', but the reality when no-one was around to see was that he fucking terrorised you and his children. If Nik has really forgiven him for that then he deserves a medal. I'm still haunted by what I saw Mico do to Nik emotionally when he was just an innocent, defenceless, sensitive little boy. My personal belief is that Nik just having an intellectual and adult understanding and perspective now about Mico's faults/failings/illnesses, doesn't automatically void the emotional damage done to that precious little boy who's still buried deep inside there. I can't ever forgive Mico, no matter how much empathy and understanding I have as an adult for his own life struggles. But that's just my perspective and I could be miles away from the real truth of the matter. Don't know. Too much to try and work out.
Anyway, this is probably all just a big ramble now, but I was so touched by your email. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. Sorry you got a lot of drivel in return!! I wish I had the fortitude and strength to just BE and experience whatever this is I'm going through (as in the quote in your email). But I'm just too fucking tired now - 45 years old and I can't even feed myself or keep myself clean.
Lots of love to you and Nik and Ebs..
PS: Am picking up another CD from the library tomorrow which I hope will have that mystery Jackson Browne song on it. Will burn a copy and send it to you if so.
And another email, 2 days later:
Hi Again, Sal,
Tried to ring you yesterday but couldn't find you. Work said you were having a couple of days off. Where are you hiding? Hope you're in a special place wherever it may be.
Anyway, I just wanted to contact you to apologise for the first email response I sent in reply to yours. I was in my usual very bad head space and shouldn't have thrown all that yucky poison your way. Sorry. Especially now that I've re-read your email at least 10 times over and am gradually allowing the true message behind it to sink in (I think! Each time I read it there's another deeper layer to understand).
What an amazing human being you are to be able to truly travel into and experience Nik's life and pain. Perhaps that's all that many of us lost souls really need... not advice, not doctors or 'experts' or activity to keep us distracted and busy - just simply a real and true connection with another human being. It really is the only way to lessen those feelings of isolation, lonliness and disconnection. And what a brave and compassionate soul you are to be so willing to spend your time and energy exploring the experience of feeling someone else's pain. But therein lies the great power our children have to force us to plumb the depths of our hearts for them.
And there I shall leave off, before I go off on another 'stream of senseless and confused consciousness' tangent!!
My heart bleeds for her.
I've scrapped tomorrow's plans...I'll be spending some time with my sister.