I have struggled with depression, PTSD and anxiety for years prior to losing my sister and her unborn baby. These issues, along with my drinking and self destructive behavior intensified after her murder.
All of a sudden I had so many new responsibilities and was so overwhelmed that I decided to stay in bed and drink. Those choices to deal with things in an unproductive and self-sabotaging way ultimately led me into a deeper despair. I was suicidal, feeling completely isolated and totally lost.
I was really ashamed to wake up in piles of puke, or in a hospital because I wanted to commit suicide. It took a lot for me to actually stay in the hospital and get the help I needed.
I've been in and out of hospitals with suicidal ideation for years. After living in Calgary, I perfected my use of words to get me out as soon as possible. I realized this in Ottawa, after yet another suicidal bout. I was always running from help. I was terrified to detox, scared of dealing with my inner turmoil. It's so easy to forget life isn't all doom and gloom.
I did find a lot of strength in my ability to advocate and help hold my family and friends together. I was surprised by my drive to turn my trauma into something that honoured who Loretta was and provide comfort to others, not to mention all of the beautiful people who have graced my life and provided me with comfort and a safe place since my sister's passing.
The depression stage takes hold and can be as debilitating as anger. But just as the other stages in grief, it's all about your attitude and what you decide to do with the trauma. A traumatic experience either transforms or destroys you and what you have to contribute to the world, your family and yourself. This responsibility and pain is greater than anything I've ever experienced, but it can be beautiful in itself.
Now I remind myself; my heart aches because of the profound love and friendship my sister and I shared — I'm lucky to have had her in my life.