She sat on the sofa not moving while the litany of destructive self recriminations began. She was too weak to stop it. It played on and on with one accusation following another in a never-ending loop. The mental pain was excruciating. She wanted to die just to end the pain. Yet, thoughts of her children stayed her hand. Who would find her dead body? No, she could not do that to them.

Despite the fact she knew she was not the mother she wanted to be; despite all the times she was distracted and preoccupied by the nonstop judge that ruled her mind and kept her hostage; despite the strong inner critic who chained her to the whipping post day after day after day and lashed her repeatedly with words both cruel and untrue.

Then one day the pain became too great. She decided to end it. She could not go on this way, and really, her children would be better off without her. She was merely existing, not living. She did not deserve their love; did not deserve to be their mother. And the children deserved so much more than she could give. In fact, she had nothing to give. She was empty, totally drained of joy or happiness.

She was broken, utterly and entirely spent. She cried and cried – screamed out her pain, but no one heard – no one. At least, that was what she thought and believed at the time.

When you reach rock bottom; when you can sink no lower, it is then you begin to rise. The ascent was slow at first, very slow. She thought she’d never see the light at the end of that dark tunnel. But she had strength – more strength than she knew.  She crawled in increments so tiny as to be microscopic. She did not see much change, at first. The inner voice tortured her still, but now there were small moments of quiet – moments of peace she’d never known before.

Those moments stretched into hours. Then eventually into days, and then weeks, until finally she emerged from the darkness.

She stretched her arms up toward the sky and turned in circles laughing up at the sun. And the blessings – oh the blessings – she felt the breeze tease the hair on her arms. She felt the sun warm against her skin. Breathed deeply the aroma of the sweet grass and briny air. And gazed about her like one newly born. She filled her senses with life.

 Like someone blind suddenly given the gift of sight her eyes were opened. She had much to give and gave it unstintingly. Compassion for others flooded her heart. She was healed. Yet the gift of memory allowed her to be a blessing to others. She never forgot her journey through that dark and bitter tunnel.

And so, it was and is and will be until the clock winds down and her days on earth are done, that brokenness leads to blessings untold and reaches out to heal others trapped inside the tunnel.

17 thoughts on “The blessings of being broken

  1. Yes, this is powerful and so very well written. You are a true poet at heart and it shows in your writing!

    This is a reminder that there are blessings and growth which accompany our hardest times so we need not allow negative self-talk to take over. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Better off without me” – there are fewer words that are more untrue. In the two cases of suicide in my life – a boyfriend, a son – both of them believed this lie. I know they were taking this action, ending their lives, because they wanted their pain to end, but I also know they believed they were doing a kindness to those they were leaving behind. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Having survived them both, I am here to say I did not experience their departures from this world as a kindness. Not at all.

    I am not angry or bitter (although I was at first). I eventually accessed my compassion for them and the pain they must have been experiencing. Forgiveness happened in due course. Besides, bitterness is a pill one swallows hoping it will affect the object of one’s anger. It doesn’t work that way. The one who is bitter is the one who is poisoned. I remember them both now with unencumbered love.

    There were many truths in this piece, Carol. I only wish there had been more said about the transition that occurred. How the protagonist of this story finally “emerged from the darkness,” the steps, the WORK involved, the humility required. Mental illness (even “simple” depression or anxiety) is a complicated burden to extricate oneself from or, in some cases, to learn to live with and manage. One doesn’t just talk oneself out of it or wake up one morning suddenly being grateful for one’s blessings.

    Your writing is beautiful, but the journey from mental illness to mental health is not pretty and often discouraging. What works for some, won’t necessarily work for others. Psychotherapy, medications, changing one’s diet, exercising more, meditation, spirituality, essential oils, acupuncture…or a combination of some or all or others…this is the journey of one who is tortured by one’s inner demons. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes support of others. There will be relapses and disappointments along the way. However, it is always worth it, and, I’ll repeat for good measure, it is never true that your loved ones will be better off without you.

    Thank you for this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for speaking your truth. I wrote this because here in Canada we are exposed to so much stigma concerning mental illness. One corporate giant, Bell Canada,, has an annual campaign they call “let’s talk”, to shine a light on mental health/mental illness. It is so very troublesome so wide spread.

      I know so many people affected and all the struggles you describe. I wrote in response to the Bell campaign in a small effort to encourage thought and talking. I know my post is rather simplified and the many ramifications it doesn’t cover.

      I am not a mental health professional and do not claim to be. I am grateful for all the insight and the wisdom you bring to the issues involved. And I sincerely thank you.


      1. I knew I was hitting back a little hard in my comment. There was a wounded part of me that clearly had something to say!

        For decades, I struggled with depression in a marriage to someone who kept expecting me to “think my way out of it,” and it’s so much more complex than that. It just made me more depressed because I was clearly too weak or not smart enough to achieve a solution! He was frustrated as well.

        I welcome anything written about mental health; eradicating the stigma is essential, and engaging in conversation is an important beginning. I just want the conversation to be real and for our understanding of solutions to not be oversimplified. It’s an often exhausting, long-term, multi-faceted struggle. People who ARE in that struggle need to hear it’s NOT easy or simple or just a matter of being grateful (although gratitude -IF one can wrap one’s brain around it – can generate massive benefits!). Otherwise, when a simple solution fails, they’ll only believe they are even more “broken” than they thought they were.

        I know your intention in writing this piece was so, so generous, and coming from a big, loving heart. And I am grateful for you and your writing voice.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was perfect – you said all the things I didn’t (or couldn’t) say and I value your input. I am so glad you did – I was hoping for just this kind of comment – so, again, I thank you.

        Everyone (well, pretty much everyone) I know is fighting a battle many others know nothing about. But to sweep it under the rug is not an option – we’ve had too many centuries of doing just that. I have watched too many people suffer in silence, or be silenced when they attempt to get help. Mental illness is still widely misunderstood and all the help people need from psycho-therapy, psychiatry, emotional support, to decent and affordable housing is just not there the waiting list to get help is incredibly long and/or difficult to obtain – so many hoops people have to jump through.

        We are all human being traveling this path called life but once. There is a LOT of work to be done. I know my blog is inconsequential in the overall scheme of things, but if just one person reads this, along with the loving and wise comments such as yours, perhaps it can help them in some way.

        Thank you so much Celenia – sending much love and wishes for many blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think many people know that tunnel – some have been consumed by it, while others, thankfully, receive the help they need before traversing further inside. Thanks so much for your comment. I wish you many blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

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