I have been crying for the better part of three days now. MLC* advised me just today that I am likely emoting in advance of the very difficult days and weeks that lie ahead.
*My Lovely Counselor
He also thinks that my raw emotions (aka frequent crying jags) are also a result of the last two VERY difficult weeks (Thanksgiving the first week and Keith's birthday this past weekend). MLC does not believe that my depression is worsening. I was relieved to hear that. The way I have been feeling has had me worried about that. The symptoms of grief and depression are very, very similar. It's difficult for me to tell the difference.
I began seeing MLC twice a week when I was diagnosed with depression. I really struggled with some kind of stigma attached to that, the diagnosis of depression, and taking medication to treat it. It took me a little while to realize that seeing MLC twice a week was actually better for me than only once a week. It took me a little while longer to come to terms with the fact that I have an illness that is chronic, that I have to take medication every day for it, and it won't be going away any time soon. It took me some more time to be okay with the fact that for a few weeks, I not only saw MLC twice a week, but spoke with him by phone nearly every day. I haven't talked to him every day lately, but have had to call a few times.
The world of depression and grief is NOTHING like I ever imagined it would be. I don't mean that I've spent tons of time during the last several years thinking about it. During the some of the worst times, I did think about what my life would be like without Keith here. Usually the next thought would be what dying would be like, then onto what emotions I would actually feel and how I would feel physically. I have learned that every thought I had was no where close to what actually IS.
Depression is not a predictable illness. For me, it is a deep, dark, black pit that threatens to consume me if I get too close to it. Although, there are lots of times when the pit is nowhere in sight. I am able to be happy and feel joy. Then I turn around and there's the pit. Where did that come from? How did that get here? Grief is also very unpredictable. It likes to sneak up on me, ambush me out of nowhere, and leave me so emotionally drained I need to take a four hour nap. Grief is also very raw. The emotions I have experienced because of grief have totally run the gamut. I can be smiling one minute and falling to pieces the next. I can be happy one minute and completely furious the next. Sometimes the roller coaster makes me feel like I don't know who I am.
I had an episode of anger today that completely took me by surprise. I decided I wanted some muffins. The muffin mix was on a high shelf, so I had to use my step stool to get it down. When I climbed up, I could see behind some other things that were on the shelf. There was an open bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs left from Easter. Keith had hidden them there so the kids wouldn't sneak them. That was his candy stash. He absolutely LOVED Reese eggs. I took the bag and the muffin mix down, and got off the step stool. As I was moving back toward the counter, I was OVERCOME with anger. I took each and every candy egg out of the bag and threw it as hard as I could onto the kitchen floor. The entire time screaming, "NO! NO! NO!" Then I stomped on them. (Thankfully they were individually wrapped so it didn't make a mess.) I put my head down in my hands and cried so hard I was nearly sick. Once I quit crying and I calmed down, I realized that I needed to clean my mess up. I had flung candy eggs everywhere. I began to feel bad about being angry and ruining perfectly good candy. Keith's favorite at that. As I was picking them up, it occurred to me that the candy eggs were still whole. You know, the chocolate shell around the peanut butter...well, it felt like it was unbroken. I started mashing around on them. Those things were so hard. I took my sudden burst of anger out on stale candy. No guilt there. It needed to be thrown away anyway. I just threw it away in a very therapeutic way!
I only shared that very personal story to give a glimpse into what happens with my grief sometimes. I am unpredictable. Sometimes my emotions are very jumbled up. Sometimes they come flying out of nowhere. There are times when the least little thing will set me off. Other times, things that I would assume would bother me don't. According to MLC, this is all a very normal response to grief. Oh, and add to that the weight of the burdens that I have carried for so many years, well that puts me at the head of the class for emoting.
I am emoting ALL OVER THE PLACE...at Cheddar's Restaurant, at Party City, at Sear's. More on those stories later.
I'm still having trouble seeing the path through my tears.
I've cried to the point I can't wear my contacts...again. I went to group tonight without fixing my cried on all day makeup. I thought about going as I was (which would have meant wearing my sweats, no shower, no hair fixed, and no makeup) to see MLC this morning. I decided that I didn't want to be "that" person. I don't know exactly who "that" person is, I just didn't want to be it today. I guess somewhere in my mind that made me think I would look on the outside like I feel on the inside. So, I decided to take a shower and see how I felt. That led to fixing my hair and makeup always follows hair with me. Next thing I knew, I was dressed and ready to go.
I'm not even going to address the fact that I came home from my appointment with MLC, laid down on the couch, and cried for a long time. I've already shared the episode with the candy. I also drank what amounts to 6 cups of coffee, although it was only two and a half mugs full. I ate three of the muffins. I didn't eat anything else today, until I started to get kind of sick about 7:20 tonight. Then I ate an Arby's sandwich. Nick and I were on our way back from our grief groups to pick Kacie up from dance.
As I said in this long rambling post, I am emoting all over the place. I don't know exactly what emotion is going to come out and when. I don't know what's going to set me off...whether it be a really bad server, a smart mouthed store clerk, or a lost Christmas tree. Sometimes it is just the fact that my husband died and I'm a widow at 35 years old. Who knows what's going to trigger it?! Certainly not me!
I am trying very hard to remember that God is very near to me, especially now. He is indeed guiding my feet and carrying me through this valley of the shadow of death. Some day I will come out on the other side.
I have to treat myself with patience, kindness, and gentleness. I am in a very hard place, but still...
In His Grip!