Johann Hari nailed it.
Except my scream is buried inside me.
I go through my day in auto mode. The little problems, the endless chitter-chatter.
Someone needs a bandaid or an Electrocardiogram.
A mom of one of my patients wants to talk about vitamins.
What about oxycodone? Or Heroin? Let’s talk about that evil monster that ruined my life the last few years.
But I can’t. I have to pretend I care.
I have to BE NICE.
I can’t think of my son sitting in a jail cell with a bullet hole in his leg.
Yes, that is right. I found out today that my son received a gun blast a while back by shoving a gun away from him- thereby saving his life.
Anddddd in true addict form…..he dug the blasted thing out of his body by himself.
Because of warrants, he couldn’t go to the hospital.
It’s too much.
I wasn’t meant for this.
I’m not strong enough for this world.
It’s not fun anymore.
I leave work finally free of the blue mask that has hidden my sad, swollen face for 12 hours. Thank God for that.
Tonight, not one person asked me if I was ok. I must have hidden it well. My mask runs deeper than that anyway.
My “mask” hides my dark secret of shame of addiction. Not my addiction. Well, it IS my addiction. My addiction to getting my son better.
Let him go, “they,” say.
Give it to God.
Don’t grab the rope.
Live your life.
The f’ng damn advice meant to help me just infuriates me. No one knows what I’ve done. How much of life I actually do live. Living life, staying busy, doesn’t stop my brain from thinking or my heart from hurting.
No one knows it’s been 16 months since I saw my boy. When I dropped him off at a job site, finally seeing him back in his game. Only to be “fired”. 2 days later by family. He had nowhere to go. I didn’t rescue him. Or give him money. He survived all on his own. And has for 2 + years now.
“You shouldn’t have hired him a lawyer!!!” I heard the angry screeching from my phone.
You know what? Tell me that when your boy is facing 9 years for feeding the cravings of a disease that he can’t control. Does it seem fair? Murderers have gotten less than that. The legal system isn’t exactly easy to maneuver especially for a torched brain… Why am I explaining this?
Why do I have to justify caring for another human?
I rip off my mask in the safety of my car and start driving in the night sky. That’s when I hear it.
The scream. The scream of a Mom who’s been strong for too long.
The scream of a Mom who’s hated by close members of her family because she “helps” the addict.
This “lowly” addict who used his only 2-minute phone call after detoxing to say “Thank you for answering & thank you for never giving up on me. Please don’t ever give up on me mom, you don’t know what it’s like to be locked in here and know someone is rooting for you on the outside”.
My boy. My boy is back. If even for a moment.
And no, he didn’t ask for anything. So please spare me the manipulation speech.
God, I hate this.
I hate caring so much and then taking twice as much energy explaining why I care so much.
Go to a meeting. Get a counselor.
✔& ✔. What else would you have me do Mr expert?
If I do this and that and the best one LIVE YOUR LIFE- then will I be guaranteed to not feel again?
Screw all that.
I want my boy healed. I want my family back.
And if I can’t have that, I see no point in going on. The world is changing rapidly and I don’t like it.
I don’t feel safe.
I don’t feel hope.
I don’t feel heard.
The tears stream down my face in the dark of the city streets as I make my way to the interstate. That’s where I can really hear the scream.
It’s loud. It’s guttural. It feels like it’s coming from somewhere else. From some other mom. A mom’s cry of pain and disbelief that she is still living with this pain. But no, that she, is me.
Ground yourself Sam. You need to get home safely. But I can’t stop. I’m in fight or flight and I want to flee. How to not care seems to be the answer to everything. This means that I’m doing it wrong. And even this storm of emotions is WRONG.
WRONG, WRONG. Yes it’s all wrong. I agree. No one should have to do this.
I can barely see the lanes as I blink through the storm of tears rushing down onto my flushed -happy to-be -free -face. I see the construction on the road and for a brief moment, if I knew no one else would get hurt, I would slam into the back of one of those trucks.
God, I hate this.
The lawyer today, berating my son for not doing responsible things.
The spiritual crowd says to stand in the gap of my son’s healing to give him hope. Stand up for his need and right to get better. Don’t let anyone get away with stigmatizing him.
Stand in their honor and reclaim them for HIS kingdom.
I made my way past the construction zone well aware that I’m still alive. Is THIS what it’s like to be an addict and so confused with the pain and turmoil swirling around in your brain that you’ll do ANYTHING to stop feeling? Caring?
Why do I care so much? I need to not care…..
I do that for a while…I can forget. Ever so slightly- forget the wretchedness that addiction has run its slimy hands over everything good in its path. Thinking it’s the damn rock star of the world, unstoppable.
I feel dizzy.
I feel like I’m in some kind of time warp. God, what is happening? Did I hit that truck and this is me, swirling through the atmosphere toward the light?
I feel detached. It’s my body protecting me from this pain. The deep gut-wrenching pit of my stomach pain. I never thought my 50’s would be spent in this living, moving nightmare.
The problem is, I can’t blame him. As hard as I try to hate him, I can’t. Because I swear I feel his pain.
I feel his shame. Yesterday from the jail messaging system he asked me if his daughter ever asks about him. I cried. I cried for her that she’s not really allowed… And for him..that he is so Ill, to have to ask such a question.
He should see her. He should break out of this. He should be normal…..
God, I hate this.
I arrive home. Exhausted.
I throw my mask in the trash in an exaggerated attempt to prove who won the day……
But we all know who won.
The mask won. The mask covering up the silent screams of a Mom in torching, twisting abdominal/ heart wrenching pain, won.
I climb into bed knowing I will awaken. Knowing It will start all over again. A new mask. New tears, but also a new chance for hope.