This isn't even written yet and I already regret it. So read it while you can because I'm probably going to delete it.
I'm grieving. I'm not going to say why because it's too personal. I'm uncomfortable applying the word grief to what I'm experiencing because so many people close to me have lost loved ones, but I am, in fact, grieving. It's huge, scary, and actively painful.
Because I'm resilient and extroverted, my good days are really good. I'm signing up for Half Ironmans! I'm writing funny blog posts! I'm starting a business! And those days are good, but they're not every day, and I think it's hard to help someone who looks like they're okay.
I'm not okay. I mean, I am, but I'm not. When this all started a few months ago, the initial grief took me down for a few weeks. But with the help of a good therapist, a good husband and good friends, I moved through it. And I was doing okay, until Christmas. Christmas has sent me spiraling back into the dark beginning of this process. In addition to being sad, I was also beating myself up for regressing. I felt like I had come so far and slid right back down to the bottom. A good friend lovingly pointed out that grief isn't linear, that depending on the situation, you can be in any one of the stages. (I'm bad about always writing in past tense, so it seems like this was some time ago. This conversation was last week.)
It's hard to see things you're not supposed to see and it's hard to lose things you're not supposed to lose. And it's especially hard to experience these things while training for a Half Ironman, starting a business and trying to pretend like you're not devastated about the holidays.
I told John yesterday that I feel crazy, like I've lost my sense of what's normal behavior for me anymore. I'm worried everything I'm doing is wrong and hurtful. I'm worried I'm a bad person. I have a lot of guilt for things that were done to me. I have guilt about having feelings about things that were done to me. I'm trying to be kind to myself, but yesterday I couldn't get there and it's not looking so hot for today either. John, who is wise beyond his years and who has suffered tremendous loss, told me that the times in his life when he has felt broken and lost, have been periods of growth. And subsequently, he thinks I am growing now. I hope he's right. I hope all this pain leads to a more evolved version of myself, but right now I just feel like a bear who keeps getting poked with a stick.
How can you help? Glad you asked. Grace and compassion. Just being present with me as I work my way through this is really all you can do. This is a lot of weight to carry and it helps me when you walk beside me and when you let me take the weight off and forget about it for awhile. I'm paying a mental health professional to give me insight and coping skills, so I don't need "answers", I just need friends.