One Month Later
It’s been a month since spending eighteen hours driving around Portland in search of the best bridge to jump off of. It’s been a month since I stood on the Ross bride for hours, making sure I had everything lined up for Wilder before jumping. I had to make sure they had enough milk without me, as if I wasn’t more important then their milk. All I could hear in that moment was that Wilder deserved someone better, someone who spoke kindly to them all of the time, who didn’t yell, who didn’t have these intrusive thoughts that really felt like nightmares, and someone who wasn’t a monster, being locked out of and away from the support that was once there.
It’s been one month since stepping off of the bridge and asking for help. One month of leaning into the support of those near me, a month of medication, of therapy, of self-care and of continuing to do the next right thing in front of me. My life looks far different this month than I anticipated it would. It looks like a life. It looks like hope instead of just hopelessness. It looks like joy instead just grief. It looks like presences instead of constant panic. It looks like rest, instead of sleepless night after sleepless night. And it doesn’t look like this all of the time.
And it doesn’t look like this all fo the time. That’s it. That’s my moment of growth and here’s why.
It’s not all or nothing. Feelings don’t last forever and are always shifting. There can be grief with gratitude, as I spoke about in a previous blog post. That sometimes moments of hopelessness will pop back up or the feelings of grief will feel so heavy that we loose sight of the gratitude. But just because we can’t see something temporarily, doesn’t mean it’s gone, right? Something that I think of often is that they sky is actually ALWAYS blue and sunny. It’s just that sometimes there are clouds or storms between us and that blue sky that makes it so that we can’t see it. But if we just keep moving through whatever is in front of us, then eventually we see that blue sky again. This is one of the things that I had the most fun telling Wilder about in the airplane and getting to physically show them that even when we are going through clouds and turbulence, the blue skill is still there and it’s just a part of the ride in getting there.
So when those hard feelings surface again and I have moments of feeling like Wilder deserves a better parent or when the grief becomes heavier than the gratitude, I remember that I’m simply in a cloud and that the blue sky is still there, I just need to find it. That’s the progress. It’s not all or nothing, feelings can and do cohabitate within us. We can feel hurt by someone and still deeply love them.
I’m learning to be as gentle with myself as I am my baby. I’m leaning that we can be upset with ourselves and still love ourselves just as we do others. A month later and I’m (re)learning the beauty of self-care and how it is the foundation of my survival and all of the relationships I participate in. I’m learning how to navigate being a single parent who struggles with depression and anxiety and how sometimes we must accept the help we’ve been pushing against our whole lives.
Our babies deserve us.
But they deserve us well.
Here’s to getting well and being the parent that breaks generational cycles.
Danny (and Wilder)
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I am so glad you stepped off that bridge! And I’m sure you’re a better parent than you think you are. And you’re probably already better than a lot of parents out there, because you care and you’re self reflecting. No parent is perfect, but you do your best and that is and will be what Wilder needs all their life!
I’m so sorry and saddened to hear you were so close to suicide, but I’m so happy (for you and for Wilder) that you stepped away from it (both literally and figuratively) and that you’re getting help and doing better now. 🙂
I wish you both all the best!
Lots of love and hugs,
I have been following you and your story for a while now. I just started reading your blog, like just now. And I think Wilder is so lucky to have you. You obviously love them so much, and you are trying to be the best parent to them you can be! That’s what matters. You’re going to mess up and do things you regret. My daughter is 8 months old and I already have regrets about things I’ve done and haven’t done. I had to stop BF bc of my mental health and let me tell you, I felt like the worst mom ever. But she’s happy and thriving and I’m not nearly as sick as I was. I still have my moments but I’ve battled depression and anxiety for 10+ years so it’s nothing new. You’re story touched me, I’m rambling I know but I just want you to know that I don’t know exactly what you are going through or have gone through but I understand being a parent and being alive in general is HARD. Keep up the great work.