I listened as she said many of the things I myself was feeling. "I don't know. I just don't know. I am unhappy with myself. I am unhappy in my marriage. This is not the career I wanted. I just want out." Those things all sounded too familiar. It wasn't until she said, "If it weren't for my kids I'd have killed myself by now." Immediately my ears perked up. How do you talk about killing yourself like it's common place? We were just having a normal mom talk about the dissatisfaction of life and you throw out suicide?
She told me she realized a couple of years ago that she had been trying to make herself feel better, more important, more loved, more worthy of love... by spending. Now as she sits beneath a mountain of debts, having closed herself off from her family (the reason for the low self esteem in the first place), she feels like life is pointless. She's worried she will spend her life suffering the consequences of that period of spending, and will continue to live a life she feels is a lie, being depressed and on the verge of a fatal decision because there is no way out. She said, "I just want it to be over." I asked if she meant her job, school, or marriage. She responded, "Life."
Immediately I said, "That's not true. You're not looking for the end. You're looking for the answer. We're all looking for the answer. The end isn't the answer because it just takes your hurt and suffering and gives it to your kids. It's a vicious circle. You don't want them to be where you are when they get to be your age right? So you're looking for a way through this. You know death isn't it or you wouldn't still be looking. It seems quicker. It seems easier. It doesn't make it right."
I don't think there is ever really one path to follow. I just tried to remind her that in the end our mistakes are really the only things we can call our own. We need to embrace them for who we are because of them and in spite of them. I told her to stop looking at the debts as her punishment, but instead to view it as a gift to her children; a lesson they can learn through her.
So what the hell does this have to do with me? Good question... I guess I am just looking for the answer too.