I do not particularly like the notion that “everything happens for a reason.” Often we hear it said when we try to explain things that should largely be unexplainable. We retrofit the notion to explain how some awful event sent someone on a new trajectory on which they began to thrive.
No, sometimes ishttay stuff just happens to folks for no damn good reason.
I tend to post about depression and anxiety a lot on my personal social media channels. It’s something Hope and I live with and have lived with most of our time together. Surprisingly, we are both in a fairly healthy place right now. I’m on meds–but I’m always on meds. I’m down to one, and frankly, these days it’s really about managing my perimenopause symptoms than anything else (incidentally, OTC Estroven is a wonder drug). Hope is not medicated at all right now. She’s been in remission for more than 6 months.
This is the only time she’s been medication-free since I’ve met her, and it is amazing to see her emerge from what was the darkest period of our time together. We’ve been through some stuff these 9 years, but in 2020 it was like the floor dropped from under us. It wasn’t just the pandemic, though that didn’t help our mental health at all.
I continue to shy away from the details of what happened that summer on through the winter of 2021, but suffice to say it was a series of events that would shake most parents’ foundations. I swung from wanting to pack up Hope and move her far, far away to just saying eff it and committing 1st-degree murder. It was a horrible situation, and honestly, it’s one we occasionally still have to deal with sometimes.
There were weeks when getting Hope out of bed was my primary goal. I failed a lot that fall. She ended up taking a leave of absence from school. She was suicidal. It was…a lot.
Even though I had support, everyone thinks they understand depression until they really see major depression up close and personal. We think it’s just a really bad case of the blues, until it’s not. Until everyday you have to check to make sure your kid is still alive. Until you have to drag her to the bathroom to shower so that you can change the sheets, freshen the room and try to get some food in her. You are in constant contact with the primary care doc, the psychologist, and the psychiatrist trying to keep the ship upright. Oh, all while working a job that was emotionally exhausting in its own way because a bunch of White folks discovered racism in 2020.
The support I had, I’m grateful for, but it was rarely the kind of support I really needed: Someone else to come stay to help look after Hope and me, cook, walk Yappy, laundry, whatever. I couldn’t even articulate what I needed it was so overwhelming.
But we are a year past it now. And Hope? She’s emerged so much stronger and a bit more mature. She’s had a job for nearly a year now. She’s bought a car. She’s back in school this semester and turning assignments in ON TIME (for parents of kiddos with ADHD, y’all know what a miracle that is!). She has friends. She’s dating. She is living. Not as much shakes her now; she handles disappointment better.
Oh, make no mistake, she does incredibly silly things, age-appropriate things, irritating things. Last month, I nearly took the door off her room and the bathroom, threatening to replace them with shower curtains for some privacy, because of a major trust violation. The Council of Uncles talked me down from the ledge and she kept her door, but I confiscated every bit of contraband and have random searches in place for another month and a half as a result.
I refuse to believe that she endured trauma to get to this place. It didn’t have to happen this way. I do believe that she learned some things from that chapter, but I think she could have thrived without 6 months of BS trauma. I think she has spent the year doing hard emotional work and pulling herself back together to get here.
It’s been like watching her blossom, and every parent wants to see that.
I’m hopeful that she will continue on this track. Again, I’m not so naive as to believe nothing bad can happen moving forward, but I know that we both are in a better coping place. We don’t blame the trauma for that.
We credit the hard healing work for the strong emergence from the darkness.