The next stage in my life was a whirlwind of change and emotions.
I left my college town, the closest thing I’d had to a home for the last four years, to enter the “real world”.
It was liberating to finally be free from the stress of school, but graduating was extremely anticlimactic.
In comparison to everything that had happened with my family and relationships, I was simply to worn out to feel accomplished.
On top of that was the anxiety that had set in over my brother and sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding in Hawaii.
It was to be a small gathering of loved ones, including me, the bride and groom, my dad and his girlfriend… and my mom.
The thought of us all on the same small island for a week would have caused a normal family joy and excitement, but I felt something akin to what is must feel like to be chased by a serial killer with a butcher knife.
Here’s some background - growing up, before my mom’s drinking was nearly as bad as it eventually became, I always dreaded family gatherings.
Of all the aunts and uncles, our house was the best for entertaining, so my mom often volunteered to host holiday and birthday parties.
She was an amazing cook and loved to create meals for everyone so these events should have been fun and carefree, but she would get so stressed about pleasing everyone that she would always eventually have a meltdown.
Since she didn’t want to show weakness to any of the other family members, she would inevitably at some point take me into her bedroom and yell at me for some unknown thing I had done wrong until I was sobbing and begging for her forgiveness.
Then she would stomp out of the bedroom and I would emerge with red, puffy eyes and the mood of the party was instantly destroyed.
It happened every. single. time.
My keen daughter’s intuition warned me that the wedding was going to be exactly like that, only a million times worse – and I was right.
If I were to tell the full story of what happened at the wedding it would take another five posts, but basically it boiled down to this:
Mom had a drink on the flight out to Hawaii and ambushed me with a confession first thing the next morning.
I didn’t respond in a way that she found satisfactory, so she ignored me for the next day and a half.
Then, at the rehearsal dinner we had a knock-down drag-out fight, screaming at each other in the hall and ruining my brother and SIL’s party. (I’m sorry SIL!!!)
I was mortified, and we didn’t speak for another two weeks after that.
Sounds awful, right? Well, it was – but it also started the chain moving that would eventually lead to my success over the depression and anxiety that had been following me around for years.
Now I can finally tell you how I overcame my depression, but this post has already gotten too long so I’ll have to follow up later today.
This has turned into quite the undertaking, and I’m starting to lose my eloquence in relating it you – but I do hope that some of you can find comfort and guidance in this story. I’ll be back later with more!