The Great Rescue
By mid-2017 I’d been at home for a year, now recovered from a stress-induced heart attack, but faced with a struggle of another kind. What do I do now?
For nearly 40 years my life had been defined by work. Study hard. Work hard. Don’t be lazy. Be productive. Make something of yourself, do something with your life. These messages are potentially dangerous, although having some value early in life. I entered the workplace full-time at 17 years old in 1981, having had a series of Saturday jobs since I was 13. Working until September 1994, I then started 4 years of full-time education at 29 years old. I graduated in July 1998 and re-entered the workplace straight after that.
Peace of Mind/Out of Mind
Although having left my last employment in July 2016, in agreement with my husband, I realised I’d walked out of the frying pan and into the fire. He admitted that he liked knowing I was at home with the house, with the cat, being safe, not taking risks. Peace of mind for him, out of my mind for me. That year, 2017, without realising what was happening, I started sliding into a deep depression which gave rise to arguments and resentments on both sides. I spent all day, most days, on my own, had occasional conversations with dog walkers and the postman. A lonely empty vista and I couldn’t bear the thought of this being the rest of my life.
I had no idea I’d reached rock bottom emotionally. On the surface my life was great. Not at work, free to do what I wanted when I wanted, to pursue hobbies and interests. A home in a lovely location, daily forest walks, a little pocket money. Always underneath was the guilt and shame of not being in work, not earning my living, not contributing, not pulling my weight. Useless, washed up, forgotten, unwanted, uncelebrated.
Of course something had to give, the gaskets of my self were under so much strain. In fact it’s a marvel that I didn’t have another heart attack. I got up one morning, my husband went off to work and I was sitting in my dressing gown. I felt heavy and desperate and so tired. It would be good to just give up. I leant back and closed my eyes, willing something to shift, something to happen. The next time I was aware of being awake it was nearly midday, so I must have fallen asleep. I still felt so heavy. A quick slip of blade into vein, a bottle of tablets and then this living nightmare would be over.
But I didn’t actually want to die, I just needed some help and support. I’d survived a heart attack, I had a second chance. Don’t give in, I told myself. What could I do in this moment? The Samaritans. I looked up the number on my phone and then rang it. It rang a few times and then I got a recorded message, “Thank you for your call. All our lines are busy at the moment, please call back”. I stood disbelieving as the phone connection went dead. It was such a shock to reach out and find no-one. What if I’d really been serious about killing myself? That message could’ve put me over the edge. How reckless and irresponsible! That is a mega-complaint coming right up!
And then something happened inside me. It became funny. It was funny. I started laughing. Not just laughing a bit, but great, huge, belly-shaking, howls of laughter. These soon turned to tears, then crying, then racking sobs that shook my whole body. These eventually subsided and I felt as clear as a ringing bell. I understood a deep and profound truth. I am ALONE. No-one is coming to rescue me, ever. There is no silver bullet cure-all. There is no Prince Charming, there is no rescuing Knight in Shining Armour. If I wanted to get out of this hole, I was going to have to do it myself. I would have to be the Prince, the Knight the Hero (these archetypes are not really very helpful to us in the long run, other than in understanding the incorrect rubbish we’re sold as girl-children). I would have to find my own Glory Road, rescue myself. So I did. It was an instantaneous transformation. A decision taken at such a deep level, I know without any doubt I’ll never be in that place again.
It actually reminded me of something very mundane I did in 2005 – I stopped smoking. No aids, no patches, no hypnotherapy, no drugs, no replacement vices. I just stopped because I decided to.
End of Search
I’m no longer looking to the external environment to provide my empowerment, my power comes from me accepting responsibility for every aspect of my life. I’m the writer, the director, the producer. Whatever happens is what I allow to happen. And I’m fine with that.
If you’d like to join the Silver Synergy group in The Silver Tent community to participate in these cathartic What’s Your Story? calls, please check it out here.
Having spent nearly 20 years studying and working in the Environment and Conservation Sector, I’m now searching out a new path that includes daily earthcentric/shamanic spiritual practice; craft making in the form of mosaic, feather, leather and bead jewellery, sculpture and drawing; currently exploring my oldest and enduring loves of history, mystery and writing. I live opposite Hainault Forest in Essex with my husband and ginger companion cat, Purdy.
Previously by Susan And My Heart Cried Out
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