I made a promise to myself while recovering from my injuries to always put family and friends needs before anything else. In the ensuing years I have managed to keep this promise. What I could not foresee was how this vow would be tested when I was torn between both family and a friend, at the same time, in the past two months.
A much loved family member developed a serious illness and began treatment immediately. Unfortunately they reacted so badly to the treatment there is a need for them to have almost constant care and attention. Of course, my immediate reaction was to offer any practical and emotional assistance I am capable of and, as I am self employed, I thought it would be easy to fit any work commitments around the situation. That has proved much harder than I had envisaged. The work I was supposed to be doing has been constantly interrupted, my mind has not always been focussed as it should be and the physical demands of travelling to and fro between my place and theirs has been tiring.
However, I was coping and was always aware and careful about monitoring my own health to avoid making myself sick, with my psychologist keeping an eye on me too, to catch any symptoms of the PTSD should they manifest.
And then the double emotional whammy hit...
A good friend whom I have known for over 20 years called to explain they had last stage cancer and wasn't sure how much longer they had. What could I do? I tried to step up another gear as I wanted to offer them my help too. But in this I was going to be found wanting too much. With everything else that was going on I just could not offer them the support they needed beyond messages of encouragement and attempts at occasional hospital visits. Luckily other friends were there to support him but last week he lost his fight and passed away.
However, the physical and emotional pressures for me proved too much. The 'fuse' in my head blew and the PTSD depression swept over me rendering me incapacitated and unable to help or assist anyone. While in the depths of my dark well I berated myself at being unable to cope and for letting people down. It's been a dark time. There was very little I could do but to give in to my fug and wait for it to pass.
I am now on my way back out of this latest episode of depression and picking up the threads I had to let fall. I'll have to tread gently for the week but know it will pass and I'll be back to my old self before too much longer.
However, I am going to have to sit down and be honest with myself. I am no longer able to be the pillar of support to everyone around me in the way I thought I could. I am going to have to be far more honest with those around me too and admit when I have enough on my plate and learn how to say "I'm sorry I can't".
All image sourced from creativecommons.org