This was actually written on Friday, Feb 4th, but I’m just now feeling up to posting it.
Warning: This is very long and heavy with emotional stuff, but also necessary for me to write.
I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this, but I’ve finally decided to share with all of you what I’m really going through. I’m probably going to be more candid and make myself way more vulnerable than I have ever been before in my life (and those of you who know me well know that I’m usually an open book.) But I can no longer hold it all in and feel like I’m living a lie.
Honestly, I’m not doing very well right now. Emotionally, I’m on the verge of a breakdown, literally. I don’t even think I was aware of how bad off I was emotionally until I hit rock bottom and had to face it. I decided to write out everything I was feeling and going through so I could somehow make some sense of it. Well, once I started to write, I almost couldn’t stop. The real me…the real emotion and pain I’m feeling came flooding out and actually shocked me quite a bit. I guess I thought that by keeping my true pain and grief to myself, it would protect me, but instead I think it’s hurt me because I’m now completely drowning in it. I’m so overwhelmed I can’t even put it into words.
Don’t get me wrong, because everything I’ve written in my blog so far is the absolute truth and how I feel at that moment, but I think there’s more to the truth that I’ve kept inside for so long. For some reason, this week, I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom and literally almost checked myself into a hospital for evaluation. I’m dying inside and feel like I can’t get out.
I don’t know why I feel like I need to share it with everyone, but I think I’m just so exhausted from trying to deal with it alone. It’s been a year and a half and I think my biggest fear is that someone might actually think I should be over it by now or at least getting better, but realistically, I’m worse. I am terrified that if I show my true emotions people aren’t going to want to be around me anymore because I’ll be a total downer or it will be an uncomfortable thing for them to have to deal with. And honestly, it is. It sucks. Not only for me, but for all those who are personally involved with me.
I’m not even sure I’ve truly allowed myself to grieve because the sheer pain of it at times is literally almost too much to bear, so it’s easier for me to continually push it down and away and pretend like it’s not there. It also terrifies me because I hate who I am right now. I hate feeling angry and frustrated and miserable all the time. I’m so tired. My mind is chaos and every little thing that doesn’t go as planned or adds slightly to the chaos overwhelms me to the point of rage.
I’ve was seeing an amazing therapist for my grief and I guess I slacked off because I felt like I was doing better, but I’m not…actually I’m now doing WAY worse. So I’ve reconnected with her. I sat down one day, bawling my eyeballs out and listed, very openly and candidly, everything I’ve been feeling. I’m actually going to show you all the list because I want everyone who knows me well to understand exactly what I’m going through and know that if I’ve ever been mean or grumpy or anything other than pleasant to you, this is why…it has nothing to do with you. If I’ve seemed to over-react to some little, petty thing, this is why. Everything, to me, is stressful, overwhelming and a big deal right now. More importantly, I want to share it for those out there who are also grieving the loss of a loved one and maybe feeling the exact same way as I am. I want you to know that you are not alone. There are actually people out there who understand a little…me being one of them.
Here is the list I wrote for my grief counselor…it’s not edited, it’s just exactly as it came flowing out of my emotional mind:
- Extreme irritability and anger
- Literally everything sets me off into a rage (tiniest things like dropping something, or something out of place in my house, etc.)
- Don’t want to be around or talk to anyone, yet so lonely
- Feel trapped inside my body, want to be happy so bad, but I’m so angry
- Constant effort to appear happy and “normal”
- Emotionally and mentally exhausted from trying to control my emotions
- Feel like I’ve tried everything: therapy, joined a gym (go 3 times a week), mommy and me class, read countless self help books, 10 minutes quiet time daily, religious (pray, very active in my church, read scriptures, etc.)…all only help temporarily for a couple hours at most
- Hate feeling this way and am starting to feel hopeless, like I’m never going to snap out of it
- My mind is in constant chaos. I can’t seem to slow it down or relax. Everything is overwhelming.
- Don’t even fully enjoy my good days because I feel like they’re not real and I’m faking them.
- Feel like I want to hide away somewhere or check into the hospital so I don’t have to deal with anything or anyone.
- Dread everything. Overwhelmed by everything, even just getting out of bed in the morning
- Feel lost and and don’t want to tell anyone because I feel so horrible about it
- Mentally I know my feelings of rage, irritability, overwhemingness, anxiety, etc are not necessarily justifiable, but cannot control the emotional side
- Ready to crash and burn. Feel like if something doesn’t change soon I’m seriously going to have a mental breakdown
- So sick of suffering inside. I want out of my body. I want to feel good and happy and enjoy my children and my life again.
- Just want some relief…will do anything.
After showing this list to my therapist and telling her that I literally feel like I’m crazy or psycho, she assured me that I’m not in any way, but I’m still grieving…a lot. Apparently, I am now in the anger stage of grief (I kind of chuckle when I write that because, YA THINK??) I’m freaking furious. I never put the two together, my anger and the stages of grief because for some reason I must have thought I was different than every other person in the world who’s grieved. I assumed that I was doing so well since I don’t cry all the time and therefore either bypassed all the stages of grief or sailed through them with flying colors. Nope…I guess not.
One thing she said that really hit home was that I’m a mother who’s pregnant with crazy hormones, I’ve gone off some medication I was taking to help me with my grief, I’ve lost a child (finding her in a very traumatic way), and now I’m “replacing” her with a new child. She wasn’t mean literally replacing her, but meaning that I’m now bringing a different child into the world and changing my whole family dynamic. She said that any one of those things would be enough to cause stress and trauma, but all of them piled together is beyond overwhelming. So I’m praying that she’ll be able to help me.
Honestly, I’m so angry right now with everything in the world…I mean literally EVERYTHING and everyone. I’m so lonely for Hailey. I want her back. I want my old life back with my three beautiful girls. I often feel jealous of people who get to have all their kids and watch them grow up. I want to see her as the four and a half year old little girl she should be. I want to watch her blonde curls blowing in the wind and hear her giggle and tell me that she loves me. I want to help her write her name and learn her letters. I want to hear her playing (and fighting) with her sisters. I want to kiss her cheek at night while she’s sleeping. I want to take her school shopping for her first day of Kindergarten. I miss these things every single day, every single moment.
I feel like I’ve lost myself and my identity in a lot of ways. I went from having three children home all day, to one being gone permanently, and the other (Lexi) in school until 5 almost everyday. (She’s in private school and LOVES all the extra-curricular classes after school so she stays really late.) When Hailey was here my mind was constantly stimulated and challenged. I was so busy and felt so needed and important. Now I’m home all day with one two-year old child, who takes 3 hour naps everyday. That time is excruciatingly boring and lonely for me. In some ways it would seem that I’m lucky because, honestly, my life is super easy right now. I have two healthy children, one in school all day and one who naps for 3 hours…how difficult could that be? But for me, it’s torture.
I feel lonely because no matter how much anyone tries to understand, they don’t. Unless they’ve lost a child as well, there is no way to even come close to knowing what it does to a person. (However, I have to say that I have many amazing people in my life who do their very darned best to understand as much as they can. I couldn’t survive without them.)
I feel guilty, so freaking guilty for putting my husband and children through my ridiculous mood swings. And also for pushing them away emotionally because I can’t even begin to stand the thought of losing another one of them, so instead I think I’m trying to protect myself. I seriously love them so much I can’t even put it into words, yet I can’t enjoy them or that pure, unconditional love because of the immense fear I live with every single day that I’ll lose one of them too.
I struggle through every single day. Getting up every morning is a huge effort, showering, interacting, even just breathing sometimes seriously takes all the effort I have. I’m so lonely, so lonely, yet I don’t want anyone around. I don’t want to talk to anyone, hang out with anyone, be around anyone because that just entails even more effort on my part to appear normal and happy and functioning…it’s way too exhausting. Every laugh, smile, conversation, positive thing I say, etc. is work and effort.
I have to say the only that that really keeps me going and semi-normal are my children. Sean too, but he’s an adult and could probably handle me having a breakdown. That may sound kind of funny, but I’m totally serious. I just love my kids so much that I couldn’t imagine shaking their world with my emotions. I could never imagine letting my sweet, happy, little seven year old even have a glimpse of what I’m truly feeling and going through. So, I continue on…for her, almost all for her. Maybe one day I’ll tell her how in her own innocent way she’s saved me, but for now, I think it’s a little too much.
I wish I could be the same person I was before Hailey passed away. I was compassionate, caring, happy (usually), social, energetic, confident, etc., but in reality, I’m none of those things now. I may even still appear to be the same, but I honestly don’t think I even have one of those qualities anymore. I pretend to, but I don’t. I still laugh and joke around a lot, but on the inside it’s a whole different story. Instead, I’m angry…at everything and everyone. I’m angry at the world in general. I’m moody, emotional, sad, grumpy, lonely, etc.
I cannot even believe I’m actually opening myself up like this and sharing this with the world. I have to admit that in some ways it is extremely terrifying, yet in others so liberating. I worry about what it’s going to do to me if people don’t understand or just don’t get it or aren’t compassionate or even feel the need to judge me. On the other hand, part of me doesn’t give a crap because this is who I am right now, this is me, like it or not, take it or leave it. Although I now have a long way to go, after admitting all this and outing myself to the entire world, I feel free in so many ways. I no longer have to live a lie and suppress my feelings, my grief, my anger, anything, and that’s kind of a relief. But it’s also tough because I almost feel like I’m back at stage one again, wherever that is. I’m on the verge of tears all the time, the pain is super fresh again and right at the surface, and I can barely even look at a picture of Hailey without breaking down.
One last thing I have to say is that my faith in God is still as strong as ever. That has not wavered in any way, although, I’ll admit that there are times when I’m really angry with Him. There are times when I want to scream at Him and ask Him why. Why would He put his daughter (me) through something like this? Why doesn’t He just give me a freaking break and take this pain and sorrow away…I’d be happy with just 5 minutes of relief. And yes, I do tell Him that (and more). I tell Him I don’t want to pray or talk to Him because I’m so mad at Him. But in reality, I know that there is no way I can do this without Him and His help and mercy. I know that He is there and does ease my burden. I wonder how, if this is so difficult while having Him in my life, it would be without Him. Today after I had a good “sob-fest” I came down and flipped my daily scripture chart for the scripture of the day and it read, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.” Psalm 55:22 (And what a burden I have to cast upon Him!)
I know this has been very long and probably overwhelming to read, so imagine living it every second of every day. I want to thank you all for taking the time to read it and share my grief with me. Please don’t feel offended if I seem distant, but right now I’m going to need some serious down time. I have a LOT to deal with and work through and I need to do it on my own terms.