I suppose my story begins like many. As a child I went to school, got good grades, attended a good high school, and even was accepted into a wonderful university. From the outside, one might assume I had everything going for me.
Unfortunately, things are never that simple. On the inside I struggled, and eventually the wall that I had built to keep myself together crumbled, and everything in my life came tumbling down with it. I stopped going to classes, my grades took a dive, my relationships were practically non-existent. I felt alone, ashamed, and terrified constantly. I went days without eating, without leaving my small dorm room, without talking to anyone. I locked myself away, and pretended like nothing was wrong. I just kept thinking that if I didn’t talk about it, maybe I’d wake up one morning (or evening, since my days and nights had become reversed), and everything would be fine. Life would be back to the way it was when I was young, when I excelled and made my parents proud…back when I wasn’t an utter failure. Failure. That’s exactly what I thought I had become. In my eyes, I was a failure at school, a social outcast, a failure of a human being. If I couldn’t do well in school, what use was I? If I couldn’t become a productive member of society, how would I ever repay my parents for all the opportunities they struggled to give me, the opportunities that they never had? My thoughts were a never ending cycle, each supposed failure, leading to another, and another, until I was right back at the beginning again. Meanwhile, new failures were piling up everyday. My life was spiraling and I believed there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Then my mother called. She knew something was wrong when she talked to me, and she didn’t like the way I was talking. In a single conversation I had two panic attacks, and couldn’t stop sobbing. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly what I told her. I remember trying to pretend like everything was fine, when it clearly wasn’t. I remember not wanting to worry her, or add any additional stress to her life. I’ve never been good at lying though; generally I’m a “tell it like it is” kind of person. I think the only reason I was even able to hide my problems for so long in the first place is because I was lying to myself as well; I tried to make myself believe that everything was fine, and in doing so was able to convince everyone else. She knew though. After that phone call, she knew. My mother knows me better than anyone on the planet. She’s my best friend, my rock, and the one person I would gladly lay down my life for in a heartbeat. She’d do the same for me without question, and after that one phone call she did what she deemed necessary. At a time when my father was in the hospital, and things at her work were quite rocky (and she was worried about losing her job) she dropped everything, took a couple sick days, booked a hotel room, and drove 6 hrs to my university. She didn’t tell me until she was almost there…she knew I would object if she had told me sooner. When she arrived at my dorm, I met her outside the building, and the second I saw her, I burst into tears. She hugged me close and sat me down on a bench and waited for me to calm down. She didn’t ask any questions, but rather offered small whispered words of comfort, that she was with me and everything was going to be okay.
I know it sounds ridiculous. I was a junior in college, 21 years old, and here I was crying like a child, utterly inconsolable, in my mother’s arms. It may be pathetic, but I really believe that my mother saved my life that day. While I felt incredibly guilty with burdening her, I was so completely…Relieved. To finally feel some semblance of safety, of grounding. It was like touching back down after a turbulence filled plane ride, with people screaming, and oxygen masks dropping from the ceiling. Seeing her was finally having something solid to stand on, and I don’t know what I would’ve done if she didn’t come down when she did. In all likelihood, I probably would’ve kept spiraling, falling deeper and deeper, until I hurt myself or worse. All I can say is her showing up was the start of a new chapter in my life. While this chapter, so far, is certainly not without it’s own major problems and freak-outs, I can look back now on that day and realize that without her, I wouldn’t even have this chapter.
I don’t know what god or deity or ethereal power is at work, but I thank my stars for that day, and for the mother that gave me this utterly crazy life of mine.