Depression, epic, Epic-ness, Family, Healing, Love, nightmare, personal happiness, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, Queue the Epic, sister, sisterly friendship, wide open heart, Yoga
Just to clear things up… it’s not that I meant to be overly suspenseful or anything but when I last posted, I wasn’t quite ready to talk about Friday just then. Heck, I’m still trying to organise my thoughts into something resembling a clear picture for myself.
But in the interests of not over-selling it, I’m writing about it already. Okay? And like most things, writing about it is probably gonna help anyways…
So, Friday morning.
Had to go in to the office I’m working in for the next two weeks, just for an hour. Ostensibly for a handover but it was more like a meet and greet and then I jumped a train on Melbourne’s grandly inglorious public transport system to see my sister and nieces. Way down south about an hour from where I live.
Only this southern far reaching part of Melbourne is not known for its charm. But it is affordable for a young family such as my sister and her brood.
There’s truly nothing like the loving adoration of little children. The eyes of my almost 3½ year old niece light up when she sees me and no kidding, she breaks into a run every time. I scoop her up; covering her in hugs and kisses while she tells me what she’s been up to. The little one is about 1½ and maybe she copies my older niece’s excitement, but I get hugs and kisses and huge cheesy grins from her, too.
Truly, they are a light in my life and if I never get to have children of my own, I will always have them. Wonderful, magical creatures that they are.
And while all of this was good, no, FANTASTIC, that was not the Epic part.
Playing games with them was great; chatting to my sister while we entertained the little darlings was fun, too. Helping my niece eat her dinner by pretending I planned on eating it was hilarious. Getting introduced to Kit and Kat (names she gave her slippers) was brilliant.
Unprompted, towards the end of my visit, she melts me into a quicksilver puddle: We all love you Auntie Svasti.
This however, was still not the Epic-ness I mentioned. Although actually, all of the above meant the entire day was at least ten different shades of awesome.
After we’d all eaten dinner, it was time for me to leave and my sister drove me to the train station.
Queue the Epic.
Might’ve mentioned that in a recent phone call, my sister told me how she (finally) realised that I’ve had a horrendously rough time since I moved back to Melbourne. Doh! Really??
A more cynical person might get angry at her for only just working that out. But hey, in the same time period she had a miscarriage and then gave birth to my two nieces. So she’s been a little pre-occupied.
When she had my oldest niece, a distinct change in our sisterly friendship occurred, and this grew more pronounced with the birth of my second niece. Once upon a time we would text/email/talk on the phone several times a week. We knew what was going on in each other’s lives. But when the babies came, all of that went away.
I never kicked up a fuss though. I understood she was going through a lot of changes, too. I guess the only difference was that her changes were positive – the blossoming of her family and beautiful children.
And mine were not.
My sister never knew the depths of my depression or the sheer insanity I went through with PTSD. No one in my family did. No one kept tabs on me directly afterwards. No one made sure I ate, or was sleeping, or able to get through a weekend without crying for hours on end. In short, no one made sure I was okay.
Hell, I guess I didn’t really realise I wasn’t okay. But when someone in your family that you supposedly love has been assaulted, don’t you check in on them? When you’ve witnessed that person shaking from head to toe, one eye blackened and bruised, when they show no discernable interest in life, do you not try to help them in whatever way you can?
My family did not. They Did Not Get The Memo.
All for their own reasons, of course. And as I hadn’t been to see a doctor, I was undiagnosed and just barely getting through each day. I didn’t understand I was an almost non-functional mess, and no one else seemed to, either. Seems ludicrous now, but that’s how it was.
Yet, here is my sister five years on, telling me in her own words that she can see it now. She sees me and what I went through. And here she is, reaching out in words that usually aren’t forthcoming in my super-buttoned-down-let’s-not-talk-about-ANYTHING family, and letting me know she is pretty much praying for me each and every day. She is wishing good things for me and hoping I catch a break. Yep, me too, sis!
And I try to explain a little, while we wait for my train. I tell her that PTSD is like being awake in a nightmare day in, day out. That it’s almost impossible to explain to another person just how terrifying PTSD really is.
She tells me she is worried that I still want to go to Thailand for my yoga retreat because she knows I have almost no money. And I tell her that yoga and all the teachings I’ve studied over the past nine years are what saved my life. They are the things I clung to when I very much wanted to kill myself. And that this is the final year of a seven year training program and even though I don’t know how, I am damn sure gonna do everything in my power to be there.
I tell her I am at peace with all of these things now, well mostly any way. But I also tell her how much she means to me, and how much those gorgeous nieces mean to me, too.
I explained how my oldest niece was born at a time when my life seemed completely grey and desolate. And how that sweet little baby coming into this world was like a brilliant light of possibility for me. She is in many ways, a complete miracle as far as I am concerned. And as much as I love both of my nieces, she will always be special to me because of that.
My sister tells me that she loves me, too.
I tell her that I don’t understand what the story of my life is meant to be, other than that I feel called to be of service. That I want to do what I can to help other people climb out of their own personal hell realms, much as I have climbed out of my own.
Finally, I ask her not to play the information giver to my parents any more. The same parents who dote on my sister’s family, spend lavishly on my nieces, and yet never call me unless it’s a family birthday or something. And then usually, it’s an email. They seem to vanish even moreso when things are crappy in my life. Go figure.
They ask her about me instead of asking me, wanting to know if I have a job yet and they pass second hand information back to me: I guess if she needs money she will come and ask us for it.
WRONG! So, very much NOT what I will do…
Not that this is the most important part of our conversation. Can you guess what it might be?
Seems, I have my sister back.
The one who used to be my back up. The person I used to be able to tell anything to.
She is trying. She openly admitted she has a hard time accessing her heart and feelings (it’s a family trait). And I explained to her that if there’s one thing the last five years has given me – that would be a wide open heart.
I’m starting to believe that I’m willing to trust again (I think). Well, trust those worthy of trust, anyway.
I can feel now. Really FEEL. Whether it’s fear or joy, I am in touch with what’s happening in my body and mind. I am learning to believe that I can have personal happiness again in my life. It’s okay to have that – because having that doesn’t mean that my life will fall apart again.
And I told my sister that it is never too late to access those things. That there is always an opportunity to become more open.
(We haven’t spoken to each other like this in YEARS)
And then my train was approaching and we said farewell. But she is back in touch many times a week, and I have my sister back. A sister who is trying, and who can finally tell me she loves me.
So as you can see, kinda EPIC.