This blog has been many things for me over the years. It started as a place for me to discuss books and writing. It turned into an outlet to boast my successes and pick apart my failures. In time, it became the first place I wanted to shed my dragon scales and be raw with. Where I can be me and share parts of my life at my most vulnerable. It took me a long while to get to that place and I’m not ready to turn back yet.
Without much sleep, I left my house at six thirty yesterday morning and headed to Reno. What should be a 13 or 14-hour drive turned into a 16-hour drive. I made it in one day, only nearly killing myself one time, and so for that, I can’t complain. *weird one-way 50mph streets* I managed to listen to nearly three books on my drive making my goal of reading 70 books this year about 30 minutes from completion.
When I was young, I think panic was my middle name. When things went wrong my brain shut off and I didn’t know what to do. It was like all logic and calm left my body and I was but a shell of a person. A lot of this has to do with anxiety and not knowing at the time it was the anxiety monster which plagued me. Fast forward twenty years. I’ve been medicated twice for anxiety, panic attacks simply weren’t my cup of tea. I’m no longer in that scary place where the thought monster takes over and I loose my say in what my brain thinks and worries about or the scenarios it spins. I’ve had control over my anxiety for many years now. It’s called high functioning anxiety. This isn’t to say it doesn’t rear its ugly head and cause problems from time to time. I’m human. But for the most part, I do okay coping with it. I’m able to recognize when I’m not, and I ask for help.
I’m in Reno because the man who is young enough to be my father, has played the role of grandfather in my life, but is actually my great uncle, is sick. I knew in the fabric of my being, that if I didn’t come here, to spend some time with him and my aunt, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I’ve been here one day and there have been several moments where I wish I had a prescription again. Something that would help me maintain. I feel like if I just keep bottling and shoving down the emotions than I can deal with them later. Only more then once I’ve felt them rising to the surface. Once they tip over the edge of that figurative glass, I’m afraid I won’t be able to shut them off again. I’ve been accused of shutting off my emotions in the past when things become too much to handle. Not shutting down, but actually shutting off emotions so that I can push through till there’s some distance between me and whatever has caused my life’s upheaval. This is one of those things I’ve been working on for a few years and I’m proud to say when the opportunity arose this year, more than once, I didn’t take it. As a result, I know I’ve grown as a person.
But right now.
At this moment.
Dealing with the inevitable death of someone I love dearly… I don’t know how to let that wall down. I feel myself retreating, as though I’m watching things from outside my own body.
Maybe it’s all for the best. This allows me to be strong for my aunt when she has been strong for so long. It allows me to be strong for my cousins too who are losing their father.
But there are times I feel heartless. Everyone is crying and I feel that panic start to creep into my chest. It’s a tingling sensation which warms from my stomach, up my torso, neck, and into my arms. It grows elbows in my throat and makes me unable to form words. I am mute and can offer no words of advice or encouragement. I reach out a hand or offer my arms and shoulders as comfort. I rub backs and hands and heads.
I write this and tears stream down my cheeks. I am unable to stop them because writing this requires me to deal with these emotions and thoughts and my very real reality. What I really want to do is drown out my mind with some heavy mettle or Hamilton or both, and fall into a dreamless sleep. But I made a promise to a friend this year that I would feel my emotions. I would sit in all of them and I would write it out. I didn’t promise to blog it, but this is one of the ways I process things.
I am a woman of my word and I don’t make promises lightly.
As much as I’d like to retreat from my own skin, I am here.
I am dealing.
I am feeling.
3 thoughts on “Day One”
Coping with the deep physical and emotional pain of the death of someone so dear to you has no right or wrong protocol. There is no recipe. Sometimes we go into what you described and I call in my personal experience “survival mode”. That’s what that shut down is to me. Don’t judge yourself now. Be easy and kind to you. Physical touch and support or a simple “I love you” is way more powerful than any advice or encouragement you can give because the reality is there simply isn’t any with death. Feel the feelings when you can. The only way through is through, seriously. I have learned to sit with my full range of feelings and understand they will not overtake me, render me incapable or stay forever. Sometimes sitting in the discomfort sucks (ok all the time) but if I allow myself to do that it also means I am open and vulnerable to positive emotions like joy, happiness and peace. Hugs to you. I have experiences too much grief of those dearly loved and I hear you and feel you. And hey- think about this- You are aware and brave enough to put this out here into the blogosphere! That takes courage and a commitment to change.
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Thank you for this. It’s a good reminder and I appreciate it. All of what you’ve said.
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