I can’t

Have you ever had that feeling ” I can’t do this”?

When I was 17 I joined the military. There was many times over the 12 weeks of basic training where I thought ” I can’t do this ” but I put my mind to whatever task was at hand; swallowed my fear or disgust or whatever, and just did it. I felt exhilarated the day I graduated.

Earlier that year I decided that I wanted to jump out of airplanes. After a weekend course, I went up in a Cessna, hooked up my static line, climbed out onto the wheel of the aircraft and as we approached the jump zone, I sucked back the thought ” I can’t do this” and I pushed off and jumped. Again….exhilaration.

My stint in the military only lasted a year. I left at 18 and went back to school.

Two years later, as I labored with my first child : a posterior malpresentation without any anesthetic relief, I remember those words again crossing my mind: ” I can’t do this”. But obviously I couldn’t back out and after much pain and exhaustion, I held my first born. What a feeling. The pain was quickly forgotten as I was filled with the most incredible joy.

At 42, I rejoined the military. Most of my platoon mates at Basic training were 20 something year old men. I remember the day I arrived and thought ” Am I stupid? How the F.ck am I supposed to get through this with men half my age?” There were more than enough days of trying to keep up on the runs, or the obstacle course, or the rucksack marches. The thought ” I can’t do this” crossed my mind so many times. Of course I couldn’t quit because I wouldn’t be able to face anyone if I did. And in fact, I shared the final highest score at the end of 13 weeks with just one other recruit. Again….I marched off that parade square after our graduation parade, high on adrenalin.

Until now, getting through those ” I can’t do this” moments has always led to some kind of personal reward. But not this time. 😦

I felt myself starting to panic last night. I didn’t even question it : I took Ativan without a second thought. ( I hadn’t touched so much as a pill in weeks). Tonight, I heard those old familiar words flash across my mind : ” I can’t do this”. And I seriously, feel that I can’t.

There will be nothing good waiting at the end of this. In fact, there is no end to this.

There will be no personal growth from this.

There will be no reward from this.

All there is, is a void so empty, and a darkness so black. This is what I see when I try to face down the fear, and the sadness, and the emptiness that Sam left behind for me.

I often hear ” Sam would want you to be happy”, like it is some kind of a choice that I have the power to make: like it is my decision.

But the truth is: I don’t feel like I CAN do this. I don’t “want”, to do this.

I talk weekly to my psychologist. But it isn’t helping. I talk openly to the people who I am so lucky to have in my life, who encourage me to talk… but it doesn’t help.

I am sitting in the dark on the edge. I don’t know how to turn on the light. I can’t reach the light. The thought of Christmas is eating me alive. And after that: my birthday. And shortly after, is Sam’s birthday. How am I supposed to get through this? My thoughts linger on my own death constantly. I can’t lie: suicidal ideation is setting in. I feel like I am in the most impossible moment of my life. I don’t know what to do. All I know, is right now that I feel like I can’t do this. I can’t, do this.

Published by iamtherealjude

I am a mother of four beautiful grown children. My son Sam: My youngest boy, lost his fight with his demons on Aug 19, 2021. This blog is a dedication to my sweet young man who I will forever look for in the beauty of this world until my last breath.

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