I have been fighting a war, a war that is not mine to fight, but a war that has to be fought. A war that has taken me to the edge of the parental abyss and almost thrown me over. A war where the enemy is a dark, stealthy phantom that only lives through projection, fueled by fear and opportunism. One that can only be beaten vicariously.
Its been two years since I have posted a blog. I haven’t felt much like writing – its a bit hard to create and think when you are fighting a war. Readers may recall that I wrote a letter to my eldest son on the commencement of his adult journey. You can read it here. It has been that post that has been clicked on the most by far – more than 120,000 times. Today, I provide you with a post script.
The war to which I refer is one for my son’s survival, against an enemy that does not bleed, an enemy that dominates, an enemy that tells you lies. That enemy is depression and its army is anxiety. As a parent, I have watched, yearned, cried and sweated as my son tries to win this war. It has involved anger, isolation and hurt. It has involved repair, regeneration and relearning.
I yearn for the days when a band aid would fix a skinned knee, a hug would fix some tears and some words of encouragement would kill a fear. That said, the last few years have also been a tremendous period of growth, recognition of how much gratitude for the small victories can bring to your life and pushing the parental boundaries.
Whilst the battle has not yet been fully won and continues with less intensity, I am hopeful, we are hopeful and I am tremendously proud of my son’s strength and courage… for recongising the abyss and having the fortitude to reach out and not go over its edge.
Before this war begun, my son wrote. He wrote novellas and short stories. He has picked up his craft once again. And so, to provide a glimpse into what has been and what is to come, and a fitting postscript to My Reflections on a Journey follow up post , I proudly present to you my son’s own words.
May all of your own cubs find the courage of the Wolf.
To be trapped in a corridor, white, too white, too white to perfection, your hand running smoothly against the surface, no bumps, no scratches just continuous ease. A comfortable place you call home, disgruntled in a constant state of being unbalanced, trying to find it through balancing even harder, the focus wears you out, and you end up falling. With no net, the ground is hard. The hard floor smashes the left side of my forehead leaving me
dead in a dusk blackness, smoky. With no way to know where I was, with no way out of a place so dark it is unimaginable to an aware acrobat, I rubbed the stones off my face, picked my bones of the floor and in an attempt to put my face back together I try and try but my jaw won’t fit back, the blinding pain from the edge of my eye socket gives me a deadening headache, stress and fatigue. I try, I try, I try, I can’t. To go outside with a half-broken face, with no jaw, a cheekbone that looks extremely disfigured and an eye that bends in a way that hides it from the world, the socket bending downward, drooping, it looks that I am sad. But I am not. I am not sad. I am excited, not happy, excited. The rush of hitting the ground so hard I guess fuels you but with such disorientation I might as well have hit my face against the ground again; it would’ve done as much pain to me as my next journey would show me.
Constant pain, like feeling the grip of a rubber tyre pull at the hairs of your leg, the kind of agony that, at times brings with it sharp pain, but its staple is its lulling, deadening, blunt, soft bunt to the body, to the psyche, over and over again, for days, years, until you are further than what a human can handle. There is a place beyond begging for death and it is peculiar that such a place exists, because you would think that there is a god; or at least be justice. Given our delicacy this would be a rather sane plausibility. However, you know you have crossed the line when begging no longer feels right to you, but it is replaced, not with knee hugging or pleading, but with a strong demand. “kill me”. Say that to the god or the universe as if you have an onus, a privilege to be relieved for the suffering that it put you through. As if justice befalls on the judge. As if god deserves punishment for his misdoings. I can’t explain how I survived, I cannot. But all I can say is suffering happens to you. It jars you, runs into you and does not leave. The remedy is in reconciliation but as an ignorant traveller, an unskilled one, or a just outright incapable one this is difficult, sometimes, although I hope that this is not the case, impossible to deal with. Look your loved ones in the eyes and tell them why life seems unbearable and they won’t understand. Ask them to help you and they won’t. The problem runs deeper than a medication or remedy. It is more so a realisation; a point of inflection. A maturity. Someone suffers to move on and the past was never yours. There is no hope for the future but there is action. Don’t run out of your house and force yourself upon the world. Take that suffering and make it pay for what it did to you. Not to be angry but it took your time, your will, precious memories you will never get back. Like fire as an ignition, let the burn propel you to heights you would’ve otherwise not reached. Go further than the moon. For me, that is the only reconciliation. For me, it is the least I could do for potential, the future me. Not to say I can do it. But the suffering experiences rain down on you, water drops and sullies your vision, the brazen cold is uncomfortable and it seems that there is an urge to run. That is what I feel and fear, that this anxiety will stay with me forever. An injured wolf has lost its pride. It walks, prods alone, over snow, sticks, grass to rest. It repairs, danger, with new teeth and a fresh coat of fur the old world seems easy.
You can follow my son’s writing through his Twitter feed JTANON44.
Thanks for reading.