We pulled up to the police station and saw a parking spot. There was a sign that said “Edmonton Police Service. Customer Parking Only.” My husband read it and muttered to himself, “Customer Parking Only. Yeah. I guess we’re customers.” I wrinkled my brow and said, “Customers? I guess – that’s better than saying Victims?”
I never wanted to be a customer of the police. But here I am. The case surrounding the fire that killed my baby nephew is still going. I went in to the police station with my family and we cried. I’ve never been the victim of a crime before. So I didn’t understand the revolving door of revisiting the crime over and over and how that impacts a person. Now I see how horrific it is.
A victim’s state of mind is an endless hell.
It’s bad enough to be the victim of a crime. But you can’t just accept it and move on. You’re forced to relive it every time there’s an update in the case. Just when you think that maybe you’ve made progress to a better state of mind, something comes up that reopens the wounds. The scabs that formed are ripped off so you’re raw and bleeding again. So you can never fully heal.
I am still going through cycles. I fall apart. I can’t stop sobbing. The skin on my nose gets as raw as the open wounds of my mind and my heart. Then I finally stop. And then I go numb. I have to, in order to get through work, in order to get through the mundane day-to-day. And I try to act normal. Fake it til you make it. I try to be strong for my daughter so that she isn’t affected by this cycle. And by pretending to be okay, I get to some place of calm where I feel like I can function… mostly.
Yesterday was Bell Let’s Talk day. Mental illness is something that I have struggled with for a long time. I probably had anxiety and depression long before I understood what they were. I’m finally at a point in my life where I can talk about it openly. And now, with everything that’s happened, the loss of my baby nephew, my sister-in-law’s house burning down and her making it out alive, but the investigation still ongoing… it’s compounded in ways I never thought possible. I feel myself spiraling on a regular basis. So I talk about it. I talk to my husband, I talk to my family, I talk to my friends. When someone asks me how I am, I tell them. I’m not okay. I feel like shit. It’s a bad, bad day.
And then it feels just a bit better. Until it’s not better again. And the cycle repeats.
But that’s what it is to be human. So if you feel yourself spiraling, talk about it. Some people won’t get it. But others will. And they might be spiraling too. Sometimes you can help each other stop it for awhile, enough to get a bit of a grip on life.
Life. Love. Loss. Grief. The human experience.