A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".
Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.
Monday Mantra: "I will love the light for it shows me the way, but I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars." - Og Mandino
It's not working.
I've written about this before, but mostly I try to avoid the subject. When I do broach the topic, it's in times, like this, when I feel like I've lost, that I'm losing, that I will never win a battle that doesn't even belong to me. And, so, I write. I write because I know others also feel this way, possibly for different reasons. I write because the process of writing somehow always heals me a little bit. I write because no one should feel alone, regardless of which role you play.
I suppose we should get started.
My mom has severe OCD. It's undiagnosed, but that doesn't matter. We don't need a doctor confirming what we both know. She has it, it's intense, and it's unavoidable.
Last week, my mom had one of her more severe episodes. Part of it involved her calling my phone over and over and over again. Call, hang up. Call, hang up. This was new. This hadn't happened before. When she finally stopped, and I was able to call her, she burst into tears. We talked about all the thoughts in her head, some of which I can't even go into now because they're just too complex.
Anytime something like this takes place, one of two things happens: Either I use humor to lighten the mood and try and get her in a better state of mind or I completely lose my cool and become unavoidably frustrated. I don't prefer the latter, but you have to understand- I have been dealing with this, by her side, my entire life and, the key to my frustration in all of this: she refuses to get help. Even though I wish I could always remain calm and collected, there are times when I simply am unable to muster that kind of energy. There are times when I can't control my own emotions in this never ending war with her mind.
In this particular scenario, I was able to talk her off the ledge, a little at least. I told her to go outside and look at the clouds. To stare at the sky and ponder it's vastness until no other thoughts consumed her.
And then, after we'd hung up, I proceeded to cry.
I know some of my tears are selfish. Some of them are brought on by the past; memories of all the years growing up with her lost in her random and strange and sometimes unbearable moments. Some of them are brought on by what I think will be the future of her, of us, of my children growing up not getting to have the same grandparent experience I did. Some are brought on by my complete and utter lack of having any way to help her.
This last one is what broke me most recently because I know; I know there are things she could do to get help and I know she never will.
If you look up the categories of OCD, my mom has all of them. Every single one. This means her life is difficult, painful, and overwhelming. It means she lives in a way most people can't even contemplate. It means being her daughter, her only child, her only immediate link to this world, is also quite difficult in different ways. It means I desperately want things for her - better, happier, healthier things - that she won't allow or accept in her life because of her refusal to seek out assistance. It means I have to learn, over and over and over again, that this is her life. She has to decide how to live or not live it.
And that's the part that consumed me last week, as I Googled every possible option and treatment, and ran across an article another daughter, in a similar set of shoes, had written. Her same concerns, her same worries, and the truth we all know:
There is only so much you can do for someone else. Ultimately, their life is in their hands.
You can have endless conversations, point out all the reasons, all the ways, all the options. It's still up to them. You can offer your assistance, your time, your help. It's still up to them. You can offer logic and reason and fact checked data, but they have to make the choice. That's the only thing you can't do for them.
And, so, I must continue learning to offer assistance to her in other ways that will help on the surface but never in whole. I must continue learning - remembering - that this is her life, not mine.