“I fear I’m killing myself with stress and anxiety,” I anxiously confessed to my therapist this past Saturday.
And I’ve been avoiding this – the writing, the grief – all of it. I’ve been dodging the question, “Are you going to do anything for your mom’s birthday” which is tomorrow, April 8th – her would-be 60th. This time of the year just happens to be one of those times, like the holidays, that I would much rather curl up in the fetal position, underneath the covers of my comfy bed and pass the fuck out. Don’t wake me until the end of May. Nah, better yet, make it June just to be safe.
Dates and times have this uncanny significance and strong connection in our minds. I’ll ask myself why I’m feeling so down, why I’m depressed for seemingly “no reason” and then I’ll recall that my mama’s birthday is Wednesday, the same day my nonna passed away three years ago and this Friday, the 10th, will mark four years since I lost my dad to his two year battle with lung cancer.
Alas, I cannot just sleep through these types of things but what I can do is practice the art of avoidance, of distraction. Unfortunately and fortunately, depending on which perspective you are looking from, I’ve become very good at it. So good, in fact, I’ve been lying to myself and to you, my readers, for quite some time. By no means was this lie intentional but it has come to my attention that I have not been grieving after all and this is unfortunate.
My heightened ability to distract myself has resulted in sudden anxiety attacks at the most inopportune times – not that there’s ever an opportune moment to suffer an anxiety attack. They’re highly unpleasant to put it mildly. I’m not going to delve into the nitty-gritty details of these attacks but suffice it to say that the inner self-work I am conducting on a daily basis is about to be taken to the next level with the hopes and the goal that I can find some relief.
One of the ways in which I avoid and justify my lack of grieving is by asking myself and others, “What’s the point?” If I really took the time and endeavored to answer that question, I reckon I’d discover a very large point, perhaps several large points, but as of right now, it is all too painful. Baby steps, I suppose? I place a question mark there because I’m clueless right now – I don’t know what it’s going to take.
Almost four years ago, I lost the most important person in my life. I can’t even do much more describing of her than that – the most important person in my life. Yes, it is true but there’s so much more to her and yes, I’m speaking in present tense because just because her body is gone doesn’t mean her impression and her extraordinary contributions to this world and those around her are gone. And as I’m typing this, I’m getting angry and as I’m describing to you in the present moment my very emotions, I feel like a scared little girl who wants to run and hide in her fucking closet from the boogie man, the monsters under the bed – from grief.
And the self-coaching continues – that was good, Linds. Let it out. But is it really good? Is it really as simple as stating how goddamned angry I am because I can’t pick up the phone tomorrow and wish my mother a happy 60th birthday or send her a birthday card via snail mail? She used to write me all the time when I first moved away to college. I did the same. I can recall being in sketching class, writing my mama a four-page letter rather than sketching the latest Vogue magazine cover girl. Perhaps that’s why I suck at it so bad and resorted to a career using the computer instead of the pencil.
There ya go, Linds – you’re reminiscing. You’re conjuring up a lovely memory, one that you haven’t thought of in quite some time, the inner voice continues.
I’m still completely ignorant as to how to healthily mourn the loss of my mother without feeling like I’m going to stop breathing, like my heart has literally been ripped from my chest by the boogie man since I didn’t really believe in the whole monsters under the bed BS. As I typed the word, “healthily” in reference to mourning, I wondered if there really is a healthy manner in which to mourn? Some, including myself, might even argue that self-medicating isn’t necessarily healthy but it sure as shit helps at times. *See WINE
So, there ya have it – I lied. I’ve just been putting one foot in front of the other asking the world and myself along the way, “What’s the point?” Living my life as an orphan who is too prideful and too untrusting to ask for help when she needs it, I’ve adapted to a life with so much to look forward to, so much too painful to look back at and an unsettling present that constantly feels like it’s missing something. I’ve adapted to always expecting the worst and to not being fazed if and when the worst commences because, “What’s the point?” After all, life’s too short – There’s no time to be debilitated by grief.
I think the crucial part that I’ve been missing in this whole avoidance of grief’s burden, however, is that it will eventually catch up to me and unless I allow it to take its natural course and learn how to manage it, I will continue to commit a very slow suicide.