Today is a special day. Five years ago today, my sweet Xandra decided to make a change in her life.
She told us that she wanted to talk to us. We knew she’d been struggling for years with depression and anxiety.
It’s hard not to when your sister was diagnosed with cancer, your baby brother was born, your brothers have autism and you’re unsure how to deal with it all. You don’t know if you should bear the weight of everything because your mom and dad are overwhelmed. You don’t want to burden them any more, but you still have needs.
Xani told us that she’d been cutting for a year. That she’d been using this self-harm as a way to cope and alleviate the emotional/mental stress that she had been feeling. She showed us her arms and her legs. She wanted help to stop cutting and knew she couldn’t do it alone.
I was in shock.
She was so badly wounded. Her physical body was a outward representation of how wounded and how much pain she felt internally.
As a mom, it’s a horrible place to be in. To try to hold it together and be loving and compassionate and understanding.
To offer unconditional love and acceptance to the hurting person in front of you, while at the same time feeling absolute helplessness to know how to move forward.
Wondering how to get your child help, to give your child help.
Feeling terrifying rage at the person who mutilated and hurt your child, all the while knowing that it was YOUR child who did this to themselves. Knowing that they must have felt unimaginable emotional and mental pain to have even considered this as an option.
The dichotomy of emotions was huge.
I’d love to say that we had a well thought out game plan. That we rocked her recovery. But the the truth is……this was Xani’s journey.
She determined that she didn’t like where she at and that something needed to change. She reached out for help. She was open about the pain she had been and was currently experiencing. She recognized and identified the harmful things she was doing to cope with and escape her pain. She chose to walk away from those harmful coping mechanisms. Did she struggle on her road to recovery. Absolutely! But she reached out for relationship and community when she felt tempted to cut. When she felt the pain and stress rising up internally – instead of hiding and coping on her own, she reached out. She brought her feelings out into the open and allowed us to walk with her.
We……..we were there. We were available….to love, to accept, to champion, to talk, to just BE there.
Today, I’m SO VERY thankful.
I’m thankful for so many things. I’m thankful for this incredible woman that I have the honour to call my daughter. I’m thankful for courage and her strength and her vulnerability. I’m thankful to be on this side of this journey. I’m thankful for the perspective that this journey gave me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to love and accept. I’m thankful for the knowledge that we as people experience pain and look for ways to treat the pain and cope; often how we “cope” is in unhealthy ways….but that doesn’t make us bad or unloveable or unworthy; it just makes us human.
We are all worthy of love and acceptance; not in spite of who we are, but because of who we are.
ps. I have Xani’s permission to share about her journey. But I’ve also shared my perspective of it because this is my life, my journey and my perspective.