My Mother passed away 8 years ago. One year later, my introverted Father was diagnosed with cancer. He fought the cancer, and shortly thereafter, developed signs of dementia. I never missed a doctor’s appointment, or a treatment.
I still haven’t.
But this has come at a great cost.
I am married to a terrific man who has lost both of his parents and we have three wonderful young adult children. How can I wear a smile, when there are only tears falling within? Where do my responsibilities lay? We have stayed close to my Dad, while my lone sibling fulfills her bucket list. My children have been the love of my Dad’s life…and they are the love of mine.
I have lost friends, colleagues, walked away from my career and crawled within myself. My Mom and Dad raised me. They were so good to our children.
I simply do not have the emotional energy to maintain relationships with those who used to matter so much. Yes, this is another face of depression. An ugly one. One that makes you want to turn around and run when you see someone you know.
So, what is my path forward? Speaking with others who have shared similar experiences. Simply speaking with others who will listen helps. A recognition that I could not and should not face these challenges alone remains my saving grace. Yes, my circle of support has become smaller…but it is still there.
Right now, I feel like I am simply maintaining. My hope is for the future. Moving toward instead of away is my goal. Turning outward instead of inward is the happiness I wish to feel.
Patann has chosen a pseudonym to protect confidentiality.