I dreamed that I was stumbling through thick fog. It was mostly dark and I couldn’t see where I was. There were shapes around me that seemed vaguely sinister. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know where I was going. I just knew I needed to put this oppressive fog behind me.
That dream a couple of nights ago seems to have been my mind’s way of giving me a metaphor for the last nine days. I know I need to talk about what I’m feeling and experiencing, but I don’t quite know what to say — and there’s no one to say it to.
When I thought my father was dying nine days ago, it brought up all sorts of painful feelings. The feelings are always just underneath the surface for me, but they’ve been front and center for the last nine days. And what I thought would be a crisis of a few days that would resolve itself one way or the other has dragged on — and I feel as though I’m stumbling through old feelings and fears and nightmares.
It makes me feel desperately alone.
It’s not that I haven’t talked with other people about it. After I wrote on Tuesday about some of my feelings about the past, I was flooded with people telling me they’ve been through the same thing. Some said things such as, “I’ve never told anybody this, but that happened to me, too.” A friend who shared the article on Facebook wrote to me to say it led to private discussions with her own friends about shared experiences.
I have a feeling that there is far more of this hidden shame and fear than we’re aware of. A lot of people have been traumatized by things they have trouble talking about — but they feel shame about admitting it could have happened in their families.
I’ve talked with one of my sisters for several long conversations over the last week, comparing notes about current feelings and talking about the past in ways that we haven’t for many years. My other sister sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to our father last month. It was beautifully written, painfully honest and brutally truthful.
But as much as I keep confronting the truth about the past in various ways, there’s something I need to feel or do that goes beyond what my words know how to say. In fact, it seems as though I’m desperately trying to find rational words for painful feeling that simply don’t translate. The feelings are simply too abstract and the pain is too searing to be confined to words.
I want to scream deep feelings of anguish, but no words will come out — and there seems to be no one there to listen.
But even that isn’t right. I can’t figure out how to say it. Dozens of people have offered to listen. People have tried to be helpful and supportive. Some of them have even been through very similar dysfunction with narcissists and it’s helpful to know they understand.
Despite that, though, it feels as though there’s no one to listen. Maybe it’s simply that the right one isn’t there to listen. I have a picture in my mind about what this should be like — having a trusted loved one to talk with at such a time — and she’s not there. I think that’s what makes me feel so alone.
Every story has an end, but I don’t see the resolution for this one.
And that’s another thing that has me feeling as though I’m in the fog of depression. Does this ever end? Even when I’m able to go back to “normal life,” will the past ever be completely gone?
Will I ever be able to stumble out of this fog — and into the light and fresh air of love and emotional health? I don’t know.