Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Struggling

Does grief get harder to deal with as we get older? I have been through bad, sad, dark times before, yet I am absolutely certain that I have never before experienced the depths of depression and despair that I have felt of late.

Perhaps it's so bad this time because divorcing T means not only losing my husband, but also my home, my lifestyle, and to a certain extent my sense of self. So I suppose it is no wonder at times I find myself floundering in hopelessness.

My theory is that the brain goes into a kind of numb shock at times of great distress or trauma. Feelings are to a large extent blotted out by this shock, as a means to keep the body functioning and surviving. The problem comes when a little time has passed and the numbness wears off, and the grief comes rushing back in. I have noticed a pattern of feeling better for a few days, feeling stronger and positive about the future - and then crashing back into despair as another wave of grief sends me reeling.

In the better times, I remind myself that this is all part of the process, all part of the healing. The grief is coming in because my mind thinks I'm ready to deal with it. I have to feel it and acknowledge it for it to begin to heal. Suppressing it is always a bad move - it will catch up with me sooner or later! In the bad times - well, if I can, I just tell myself to breathe through it, know that it will pass. If I can't even manage that, I just cry. A lot.

Since being back from Kevin & Ann's, I have been crying a lot. I think the contrast of spending time in a house full of friends, talking and not necessarily focusing on the divorce, and then coming back home to an empty house and reality was too much. Unfortunately, I didn't see it coming and the crash was jarring.

On a lighter note, the last couple of days have been better. My Tai Chi class seems to help immeasurably, and the sun has been shining the last couple of days too. So I am on enough of an even keel to think about writing this.

One of my faults is that I find it hard to ask for help. It's not that it hasn't been offered - I have had so many people offering help and support that I have been truly amazed. Even if I'm not reaching out for the help offered when I'm feeling down, just knowing that it is there is wonderfully comforting. So if anyone reading this has offered help of any kind, and I haven't responded - it has most definitely been appreciated. And when the struggle gets easier and I have more energy than just basic maintenance level - I will take you up on your offers of help, company, fun, food or whatever.

Thank you!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Crying is your best friend... let it out as and when the need arises. It's cathartic and that's probably the release you need right now. Many, many hugs to you.

raven said...

lots of hugs to you my dear. I'm so sorry.

willow said...

I felt so sorry for you as I read this but I also admire your courage. As you say you have had to cope with so many different changes at once, its such a lot to deal with. The process of letting go can't be hurried through, it will take as long as it takes. I hope that soon there will be more "better" times with fewer bleak times in between.

Sending lots of good wishes your way.

Griffin said...

Drat. Times like this, I wish I was nearer so I could give you the support you need. I too find it hard to ask for help - I got so used to helping myself through emotional crises that it's not 'natural' to me to ask for help.

But at least, take a hug or six and a shoulder to cry on. Anon is right too, that crying can be cathartic. But there comes a time when crying just adds to the hurt rather than expressing it.

Remember you were seeing this as a chance to be reborn, to change. Is that gone? Are you holding on to something because it's more familiar than what's to come?

Know that I am here to help if you find you want it. And if not me, then get some help and support to cradle you through. Check my profile and email me if you need to vent. I'll help you if I can.

Lots of big warm hugs to you sweetheart.

solsticedreamer said...

oh bug {hugs} for you from me. things will eventually get better, hard to see from where you are at right now though. its the whole new start you are having to make as well as the grief...take it slowly lovely, one day at a time...

Jopan said...

Hope things improve for you. i wish i knew what to say or how to help. My game plan has always been avoidance i've never had a relationship so i have no experience... I just hope things get better for you.

aims said...

I think grief tears us apart to make us stronger. At least I hope it does because the crying I am going through probably matches yours sob for sob and it seems like forever and endless.

I have collapsed under the burden of my grief and lain full out and let it wrack my body - drooling on everything and not giving a damn.

Walking around with swollen eyes is painful - they hurt - and they see we are alone once again.

Will it make me stronger? I sure hope so. Perhaps one day it will make the good memories more poignant.

Being the one left behind shatters us. Our love has no where to go when the other is suddenly taken away. What do we do with it? Put it down a hole? Shout it into the hollow of a tree?

I have a friend who believes in giving it back to mother earth and she takes a huge stick and beats at the ground while she screams out her anguish. She believes mother earth can take it and it makes her feel better.

Go with it - cry when you want to - do whatever it takes to get through your days.

Everyone promises that with time it will get better. I think the crying will stop with time and that our aching heart will stop the weeping. True numbness and a need for something else will take over.

Thinking of you - sharing with you.

Donald Engstrom-Reese said...

My Dearest Susan,

Grief is bitter. It has the power to transform us beyond all recognition. Deep grief, once introduced into our hearts, never leaves. It can open doors into incomprehensible marvels and wonders. It can pull a person down to the frozen depths of Hel. It can purge our humanity in the raging fires of despair. It can give us the blessings of fully realizing that one no longer has anything to lose. Grief can demolish our illusions. It can awaken us to the fact that we are authentic beings of beauty and compassion.

Grief can also teach us much about the mysteries of choice. It the midst of my widow's grief, knowing I had nothing left to lose, nothing left to intimidate me, nothing left to silence me, I learned a central mystery of the multiverse. I learned that I can choose what I feel. No matter what the situation, the pain, the endless grief, the horrors of the AIDS deaths surrounding me, I finally realized that I could consciously choose to live in beauty, balance and delight. In the depth of my pain, I called out to the multiverse. I dared to declare my devotion to life. I dared to declare that my grief and pain were transforming me into a new being who would never again stand silent and inactive in the presence of injustice and apathy. I dared to declare that I was fully awake and aware.

I do not want to imply that any of it was easy. I know that I could not have made it to where I am today if not for my beloveds and their untiring support. It took me five full years to incorporate my losses. I did not regain my sanity quickly. I notice that my deep grief continues to informs much of my day to day life. Yet, every morning of my life I still dare to declare (sometimes with a laugh, sometimes with a scream of challenge, sometimes with a whisper barely vibrating my lips), “I dare to dwell in Beauty, Balance and Delight! I dare to see with clear eyes and an open heart!”. I am not merely surviving at this point. I am thriving and fully engaged in the co-creation of the multiverse as a whole person, enriched by every aspect of my life experiences.

You Susan, are no less talented, powerful or determined to see clearly with open eyes and heart, than I am. I know you. You have the inherent brilliance to learn the mysteries surrounding grief. You have the tears to keep your gardens watered and your imagination flowing. You have the deep-rooted strength to once again choose to blossom under the light of the moon and sun.

My beloved beautiful Witch sister, you have the common sense and heartfelt intelligence to learn the skill of asking living human beings for the help you need. If there is anything, anything at all, that I can do for you, let me know. I will not stop asking you what I can do for you any time soon.

You are in my heart and prayers,

Donald

Anonymous said...

The tunnel may be dark, but you will get through it and come out on the other side.

lemming said...

Best advice I was ever given by a therapist: you must be broken open to be filled.

Please consider this a virtual hug from someone across the Atlantic.

The Awakened Heart said...

I know this place and know it well. It DOES eventually pass but while you are in it, stay with it and don't try to hide from the pain. You WILL emerge again into the sunlight, I promise and you will be stronger and happier than you can imagine right now. BUT to get there you have to move through, not avoid nor go around. This is the hardest part but it does have an ending. You are so much braver than you realise. Hugs to you.

Will said...

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Having been in a similar situation about 10 years ago, being forced into a house sale as I could not afford to stay in it on my own and having young children with no maintainance being paid I can assure you that you will look back and this time and see that you have become a stronger person because of it. It will not seem like it at the moment but things WILL get better.

If forced to move and purchase your own house at least you will know that in future all decisions to do with your home will be yours and yours alone: this is a very empowering situation.

You will find someone for whom you are the world.

Try not to dwell on what you may be loosing but on what you may be gaining - the power to be totally in charge of your own destiny - make it a good one.

Sending a {{hug}}

Shepherdess

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so sorry you have to go through this. You, of all people! It just isn't fair.

And, too, I know that you will gain a bushelfull of wisdom from this experience. Once you're through it and in to the next chapter of your life you will be that much brighter, that much more radiant and wonderful in every way. That's you, Moonroot.

Thank you so much for sharing your feelings with us. Sending much love and admiration in your direction. Wish I could do more.

Reya Mellicker said...

Just read Donald Engstrom's comment. I am blown away by his wisdom.

Thanks, Donald.

kerrdelune said...

Thinking of you and wishing I was a little closer and could give you a hug and a cup of tea.

Rachel said...

I just want to let you know that I haven't forgotton about you. I really miss you and feel awful for not keeping in touch, since i'm currently 40 minutes down the road. We should meet up and talk and have lunch. I didn't stop and think how hard things would be for you right now and was a bit selfish for not talking to you. I've been a bit scared to talk to you to tell you the truth. I'm really sorry. I'll give you a call at some point.
Love you
Rachel xxx

aromatic said...

Just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and sending you (((((HUGE HUGS!!))))))
Have left a little message on your Etsy conversation..
Love and Blessings,
Jane xxxx

Rachel said...

Another little after thought. Totally useless but it cheers me up and fits in with my student life but
' when life gives you lemons...tequila!!!'

Night Owl said...

So sorry, divorce is a terrible thing. Hugs to you.

Brandi said...

just wanted to say that I've been there and I understand.

the sense of unbalance, of rootlessness is overwhelming.

it heals. you grow your own roots, you find your sense of self -YOU DO.

many blessings~