I hit a wall yesterday. Majorly. It was the first time in a long time that I’ve gotten serious anxiety to the point that I could barely hold it together. In fact, the last time I can remember having this feeling was that rainy night - which I wrote about here - when Mike and I drove the moving truck across the Texas state line on our way to Ohio… the threshold of leaving the home I’d lived all my life in, and the place I shared a life with Drew. It’s been almost a year then, since that day. I suppose I am grateful that it’s been that long since I’ve had this kind of anxiety hit me. There was a time when it was a daily battle. But it’s still just as hard when it hits.
There have been a lot of stressful things going on lately. Moving is always stressful, especially when you’re trying to merge two complete households. When you pile grief into the equation, it’s also bittersweet and full of a huge mix of excitement, and sadness all at once. Having never gotten to live with Drew, each and every time I go over to my place to collect a car load of things to take to Mike’s, (we’ve got a few months, and are doing it gradually) it’s a reminder. Even if I don’t always feel aware of it, those emotions are riding under the surface, in the corners of my mind that are still confused about how I got here. There is a sadness permeating everything lately, and I’ll admit, I’m tired of it.
I am working temporarily at a retail job as of a few weeks ago too, and so everything there is new to me, too. Although I enjoy working retail and I catch on fast, it’s still yet another new environment and new dynamic to adjust to… especially working often on weekends when Mike and Shelby are home.
On top of all that, is the most demanding project I have probably ever worked on… teaching my creative grief e-course. It has pushed me far outside my comfort zone for the past 4 months, and after working to the bone for so long, and pouring so much of my heart and soul and past experience into it, I am really beginning to feel depleted. Not just tired, but depleted on a soul-level that I can tell has started to bleed into all the other parts of my day and life.
And then, with all of this already there, a few days ago something sent me over the edge. There was a misunderstanding with one of my e-course students which, of course I won’t get into here, but has left me feeling very shaken. It was just a simple mistake anyone could have made, but it very much upset a student deep in her own grief, and shook her trust in me, which is the LAST thing I would ever want to do. Trust is so vitally important to me… as is creating a safe place for my students. This last few days of trying to reclaim the relationship with my student, combined with all the rest of the exhaustion has me seriously, very completely, overrun. The anxiety hit hard yesterday with a combination of all this… and I found myself thinking “I just don’t want any of this”.
I don’t want to be teaching a grief related course… because I don’t want to even have all this grief experience in the first place. I don’t want to know death this intimately. The statement of my entire life, from the day my mom died when I was 9 years old…
“I just want to be normal”
And I never have been. Nor has my life. I always just wanted one of those normal lives, where people go to work, and get off work, and go fishing or BBQ with their families on the weekends. I want that. Only I can’t even want that anymore, because Drew’s death changed me. The grief since his death has changed me and now there are all these other things that are vitally important to me… like reaching out my hand to others who are in a newer place in their own grief. Like many others did for me several years ago, during my darkest days.
I want normal, except I really don’t.
I realize, this rejection of my story is a fleeting feeling. Most days, I feel so grateful for my not-so-normal life. Most days I am happy now, and in a deeper way than I used to be in my life before. I have many reasons I am glad for where this journey has taken me. And despite how difficult it’s been, this class is so meaningful to me that I would sacrifice my evenings, weekends, and sanity just to make certain my students have a valuable and meaningful experience. The rewards of seeing what others are gaining and creating from this class have been deeply meaningful to me in a way I can’t even find words for. It has been worth every single moment of pouring myself into it, just for that.
But I still have my bad days, too. And I still have moments where I just don’t want ANY of it. None of the grief, none of the lessons, none of the experience, none of the knowing, none of the opportunity. I still have days I just wish for normal. Where I feel tired from carrying the grief around everywhere. Where I just want to take a break and can’t. I think we all have those days… even when we are years into a new and vibrant life. Hell, even people who aren’t carrying around grief have those days - where you just want to disappear from the world for a while. For me, today, is one of those days.