Writing has always been therapeutic for me. So why, at this time when I seem to be in need of therapy, does writing feel like such a difficult task?
What’s going on, you ask? Or perhaps you don’t ask. Regardless, I am forging ahead.
For weeks now, I have been facing each day with a sense of anxiety and restlessness of spirit that just isn’t normal for me. And as human nature dictates, I keep trying to explain it to myself as a means of dispelling it, and that seems to just perpetuate it. I’ve tried praying it away, and that does help…but I think I need to write about it and see if that will help me get real with it.s
You see, there is absolutely nothing in my life that I really need to be nervous or anxious about. All of the things that come to mind when I think about this anxiety are things that are not real or valid. So while the feelings and sensations are very real indeed, they have no basis. And that by itself tells me that something needs to be fixed.
This weekend, the Thanksgiving holiday, marks three years since my husband’s illness returned with its awful vengeance. From that time until he died on July 1, 2012, most of my life was wrapped up in what was happening with him. It was a time of immense and dramatic change. He became ill on Thanksgiving Day; we learned a couple of days after Christmas that his illness was due to spread of his cancer and that his condition was terminal; he had at most 8 months left. At the end of January, I retired from my job — a decision I had made before we knew that Tom was dying. This retirement was supposed to be a time for us to do things together; instead, I would begin it as a caregiver, and six months in would say a last goodbye to the love of my life, with whom I was supposed to spend the coming years.
I coped very well with all of this change. I coped by DOING THINGS. I cleaned out closets, got rid of clothing, played rounds of golf, traveled, volunteered, spent time with family and friends, and knitted. Sometimes I cried, and I did grieve and I examined my grief very closely and wrote about it. About a year after Tom died, I bought TLHITWBTL back from his sons, and being there felt like coming home, so I sold my house in Mason and made TLHITWBTL my full-time home. There were tons of projects to keep me busy, and there were new frontiers to explore and new adventures to be had.
But my family was three hours away, and once the major projects were out of the way, I realized that I missed them more than I expected. Three hours is a major haul for people who work full time and have budgets and time commitments and children. Three hours is an easy trip for me — after all, I drive to Wyoming and back, to Georgia and back, and I don’t work, and … oh, I’ve taken on some time commitments like weekly bowling leagues and some things at church, and I find that I am wishing I hadn’t committed.
Anyway, about the time my younger daughter got married in October, I decided it was time to re-establish a dwelling in the capital city. I found a lovely little apartment, furnished it with some extra things I had up north as well as some good bargains I found, spent some money stocking the pantry and laying in necessities, and I really love the place.
And I really love the place up north.
So why am I constantly feeling worried and nervous about which place needs to be primary and where I should have mail sent and how much time I can spend where? I should be thrilled! I’m looking back at my Change Junkie musings and wondering if there is something else going on here…if I am really just covering up some deeper issues by constantly seeking the adrenaline rush that comes with something new.
I just want to feel like my normal, positive, not-anxious self. I want to fully enjoy the fact that I have options and choices, two lovely homes that I can spend time in and share with those I love, and the time and resources to do what I want to do and enjoy doing. I want to practice what I have always taught: that we can choose the attitude we carry, that we can own and manage the change in our lives, and that we are in charge of how we feel. I need to make the conscious decisions that will put me there. Can I do this on my own, or am I going to need help? Part of me says that I know what to do and have the tools to do it; that it is self-centered and self-indulgent to make my “problems” so serious that I need professional help to solve them. But another part of me knows that the way I am feeling is not normal or right for me and that it has been slowly but surely getting worse over time.
Yes, I grieved my loss; yes, I have rebuilt my life and it is a good life. It is very difficult for me to acknowledge that my moods and feelings just don’t jive, right now, with what I think should be happening nearly three years after that loss and in the midst of what anyone would call a very good life. Am I just picking at myself because I am bored? What is it that makes me schedule things where I will be with people, only to go and then crave my solitude; and then, in my solitude, begin feeling lonely and disconnected? I think this might be called “depression,” and I think I might be wise to do something about it. The realization is beginning to dawn that when one has feelings and moods that are very different from what one’s life suggests, that merits attention.
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