Matt. Denial is defined as a refusal to accept a past or present reality. It’s a self defense mechanism that comes from the subconscious mind in an attempt to protect both the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the person struggling to accept the harshness of the thing we call reality.
Denial is used to protect our minds from a painful reality repressing the truth to guard our mental health. In other words, denial keeps me from losing my mind.
I think my denial started very early in your addiction. Like most parents I just never thought that dirty word would ever come crashing into our perfect family. How could it? I was a nurse. We lived in great neighborhoods and you went to a private school. You went on to trade school. You started a business, lived at the beach. You were living my dream life. How in the hell did addiction creep into our fairy tale and shatter it to pieces?
I remember the call. You hurt your back. You needed help. The injury required surgery. You stayed with me for weeks to recover. I drove to the pharmacy and got your script filled. Those poison Percocet would one day lead us down the road through hell. As a nurse, I knew post-op pain was tough. As a nurse I should have known the dangers of giving you those pills. As a mom, I wanted you to feel better and go back to living your life. Little did I know how much your brain was changing right before my denying eyes.
Denial kept me in my safe place for years. Visiting you at the beach, my denial kept me from clearly seeing the subtle changes in you. The unkept house, the unpaid bills. My denial allowed me to believe everything that came out of your mouth. You worked late. You forgot about deadlines. Of course Mom I’m fine.
Denial is how I survived those horrific seven years as we rode the rollercoaster of your addiction. Never once did my denial let me believe you would not survive. I denied the ugliness as it swirled around our beings. The words spoken, the lies told, the yelling and screaming weren’t real. We were both just stressed and so damn tired of how your disease wrapped it’s chains around us and refused to let go.
I denied that I was an enabler. No way, not me. I’m a mother trying to help her son. I denied that those pills would kill you. After all they were just pills and they were prescribed over and over again by a doctor! A doctor would never overprescribe and watch his patient self destruct. No way…..
My denial kept me so protected from our reality. I was wrapped so tightly in my shell nothing could penetrate unless it hit me like a rock splitting a can wide open. You calling the police after I hid your pills was that first split.
Denial fit perfectly. I could poke my head out for a bit. Deal with what I could and slip easily back into my cocoon. The reality of our lives was harsh. Denial was easy, denial was soft.
Denial was my first reaction upon hearing those words I denied would ever come. “It’s Matt”. “He’s dead”. No way. The first reaction was NO. Matt promised me he was ok. He promised me he would never hurt me like this. He Promised. I refused to believe you were gone. Those bastard pills, those f…….. doctors. No it had to be a mistake. Someone stole your wallet. It’s another mother who should be called, not me.
I denied it was you until my cocoon shattered as I saw you laying so still. You, my Matt were gone. My denial slowly slipped away as I ran my fingers through your hair still soft in death and laid my head on your chest to hear nothing but the echoes of my sobs.
There are days I allow myself to slip back into my safe world. Days I walk by your urn and tell myself to breathe. Days I deny reality and allow myself the luxury of denial. You are living in Florida. Spending your days by the sea we both love. You are in recovery and very much alive.
Denial is how I get through those days when I feel my mind starting to break. It’s how I keep myself from falling into a million pieces and blowing away in the harsh winds of my reality. Denial is a friend I call upon to survive when survival is nothing I want. Denial is that warm blanket holding my broken pieces together as I learn to live life without you.