Looking in, around, down and up
When you're in the thick of it and have your day scheduled by doctor appointments where you have to be both the transportation and the interpreter, when measuring out medicines for multiple people who either can't or won't take responsibility for it themselves takes time every day, when you're cooking three meals for each meal of the day so you and two people with very different eating requirements each have something they will eat, when you provide the only income, do all the housekeeping, and hear from the people you're helping that you're not doing enough or not doing it right, and making time for yourself means going without sleep, and the only breath you feel like you can take is the comma in a run on sentence, that diagnosis doesn't sit well.
You want to scream, "If I don't do it, it won't get done. I'm not co-dependent. I'm being responsible, because someone has to be!"
Then, it all stops, and it's just you. You have all the time you've been craving for years, but the only thing you can fill it with is memory, regret and pain. That trio of villains are so strong that you go silent, both externally and internally. Thought and its expression just makes everything worse. Sound becomes your friend. So does mindless entertainment. So does regimenting your day into responsibilities so small you feel you can handle them. You can smile at a customer. You can go to the grocery store for an elderly neighbor. You keep your pets fed. You keep yourself well groomed enough not to be offensive. You stay just busy enough to realize that your life really is empty, and you have no idea how to refill it. Damn it, you really are co-dependent, but now you have no one with whom to share that dependency.
Life begins to come back when you realize you want to be better than that. You acknowledge that you have been and are stronger than you ever knew you could be. You decide you do have choices in your life, and now you get to figure out just what they are.
This is where I am. Welcome (back) into my life. There will be more to come.