Tim and I had an appointment with our grief counsellor today, and she got me thinking. It's a good thing I suppose. A sign that all the money we are spending is not going to waste.
During today's session we were focused mainly on Tim, but when it came to me, we discussed the fact that I've got the blahs. I know I do. Very little interests me these days. Truthfully, I spend most of my days in the house, alone, surfing the internet - reading blogs, cruising Facebook, Googling random stuff. I do little 0f much else. Sometimes the TV is on for background noise, but I usually can't pay much attention to it. I take note of the tumble weeds of dog hair on the floor, the dishes in the sink, the laundry piling up and it starts to get to me (me, obsessive, compulsive clean freak) but then I just feel so blah about it all that I can't seem to do anything about it.
Often I feel a little stir crazy spending so many hours in the house, alone, doing nothing, that I think when Tim gets home in the evenings, I want to do something. But, then when I try to think of what to do, I just feel more blah. Walk the dogs. Blah. Go the movies, blah. Out for dinner, blah. So, the two of us just end up sitting together in the house. Tim watches TV, while I carry on surfing the internet.
Even when I drag myself out of the house, everything seems so blah. For example, I went to the mall today and bought some clothes for Tim and a dress for the wedding we are attending on Saturday. Usually I am so enamored by fall fashions that I get an overwhelming rush of excitement just thinking of the mall this time of year - cable knit sweaters, suede boots, wool suits, jewel toned blouses. But, not today. Nope, today the mall just made me feel, you guessed it, blah.
So, what do the blahs mean? Am I depressed? Sure sounds like it, right? But, my grief counsellor believes I'm not suffering from postpartum or any other form of clinical depression, just grief (another reason why I pay her so much - she isn't trying to label or medicate me). Apparently my blahs are the result of me shutting out the feelings associated with my grief. Rather than my denied feelings creating anxiety as they did before, now my feelings are overwhelming me to the point where I am not feeling much of anything at all. Blah.
She recommended that Tim and I both start privately journaling. Just thinking about what I would write in a journal forced me to acknowledge all the repressed feelings I am holding inside right now - sadness, anger, despair, sadness, more sadness, longing, jealousy, despair, lots of despair, a little more anger, and that longing, that powerful, powerful sense of longing. Oy! It's definitely all still in there.
So, now here I am, home again, alone and on the internet, and I'm thinking. I'm thinking about what it is I have been trying to do lately. I'm thinking about all the comments I have made on other blogs recently about trying to hang on to hope, trying to find the light, trying to see the roses. I think I have been trying a little too hard. At the end of the day, I want to heal. I want to experience joy again. I want to dance and sing and smile. I think I want it so badly, I have been rushing it a little. I have been trying to force it. And, it isn't working.
So, today I am reminding myself that I need to go through it. Head up, straight through it, and feel it each step of the way. Deep breathes. Feel it. The weight of my loss. The grief. Its so bloody hurtful to feel. I thought I was doing it. I really did. I thought I was living in it. Feeling it. Not denying it. But, our grief counsellor is so right. I haven't been allowing myself to feel. I was trying to skip to the finish line without running the race.
Maybe a finish line is a bad analogy. There is no end to grief. I will never "get over" Isla. The best I can hope for is to get to a place where Isla's death is a part of who I am, where I can feel joy along with the residual pain.
I think a better analogy is to think of death as a wound and grief as the healing. The death of a loved one, particularly a child, is an emotional wound, but thinking of it on a physical level, grief is like stitching up the wound. The scar will always be there, and sometimes it will get irritated and sore again, but the wound itself has closed, healed. Right now, only a few stitches have been laid, so rather than being stitched up my wound has scabbed over. And underneath the scab, I've got a huge gaping bloody wound and its throbbing. Only sometimes I can't feel the throbbing because my body's pain defences have kicked in and made me numb. I can continue to live like this, with a scab instead of stitches, but whenever I move, I am at risk of the scab tearing off, and when it does, I will feel the searing pain again. Much better to stitch the wound up properly, right? The catch - there is no anesthesia for these stitches. I've got to feel each one being laid.
The goal of our grief counselling is to teach Tim and I how to feel, but also how turn off our feelings so we can function with our grief. I'll be listening closely next week.
3 months ago