Fake it ’til you make it

You know you’re not alone when you realize that the post you have running through your head while you’re out, literally, running, is on the same theme that four of your babyloss friends have also just wrote about.

M and L and P and I have all wondered in this past week – where did we go? Should we be trying to get the old version of us back? Or is the new us permanent, and thus, should we be trying to live with her? “Every now and then I see glimpses of the old me- truly enjoying her self, finding satisfaction at work,” said M. “I can remember what she was like. She was fun.”

I’m on vacation right now; it’s why I haven’t posted as much lately. I also got my period yesterday, so the last few days of vacation have been one massive PMS mood swing that led to the following revelation: I am no longer the person K married. At least, I don’t act like her. We’re not in danger of splitting up, but I get now why so many post-loss couples do: because one or both of you just isn’t the same person anymore.

Now, approaching the six month anniversary of Anderson’s death, I’m not who I was. Am I still me? I used to be optimistic; now I’m fatalistic. I used to be emotionally steady; pre-Ander, I could not tell you the last time I had cried. Now, I know it was two days ago. And the day before that. I used to believe in God, and was even contemplating divinity school. Now, just singing Christmas carols makes me feel like a hypocrite. Worst of all is the mood swings.

Most of the time, I’m like the “old me.” I’m happy, considerate, cheerful. But sometimes, I get into funks, deep, depressing swings of the pendulum where I don’t even want to be happy. I want to sulk. I want to be morose and unhelpful and be quiet and do nothing. K thinks it’s mild depression, and I’m sure she’s right. But every time I think, maybe I should do something about this, I’m out of it and back to my “old” self. I know it’s tied to my hormones and my cycle. I know that it’s grief. But that doesn’t make it easier to get used to.

I don’t like the new me. I suspect most people don’t. I know K finds her frustrating and sometimes infuriating, mostly because the moody new me doesn’t want to feel better. You know how you have those “I just want to stay mad for awhile” times? For me, those can last up to two days now. It sucks. And the worst part is, when I’m in them, I don’t want to get out.

I always do. I can rationalize myself out of a paper bag, and I don’t want to be bitter and to alienate myself. I know that choosing happiness is preferable to staying miserable. At least, I know that intellectually. But it’s hard work to get out of those grief cycles. And much of the time, I don’t want to put forth the effort.

“I literally work harder on my grief than on anything else,” said S. “My head feels like there is a radio in there: radio Grief and radio Shrink.” Yep, that’s me, too. Grief, shrink, grief, shrink. I know the shrink will always win. I just wish she’d win faster, and more decisively, and for longer.

I HATE having to remember how to have fun again. So many days are clouded with indifference and it’s hard to muster up the energy to even try to feel joy, or even something as comparatively modest as motivation. At the same time, I hate that I’m not “living my life to the fullest” and appreciating what I have. I go running because I know it’s good for me, not because I want to anymore. I do things I’ve been meaning to do because I know I will have fun and they’ll help me feel better, but I only really do them because K makes it easy for me. Like, drives-me-there easy. I think that someday, the wanting will come back. Until then, on the bad days, when the old me seems to have gone to an alternate universe, I’ll fake it ’til I make it.


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7 Responses to Fake it ’til you make it

  1. smb0406 says:

    Yes. Every word! That is what I feel like I am doing every day “fake it, til you make it!” I have told people “I don’t even want to be around me.” And it is true, I would like to be anyone else and leave “new me” alone for a while. I guess we are all faking it together! … Great Post!

    • babylossmama says:

      Thanks! And totally… I want the old me back! But I also want my innocence back. And mostly, my baby back. I keep trying to see “creating the new me” as an opportunity instead of a drag. I like the idea of leaving “new me” alone for a while. I’m picturing her in time out while old me gets to go on vacation instead :).

  2. meghanoc says:

    it’s the motto of my therapist. fake it til you make it! she’d love this post. “I don’t like the new me. I suspect most people don’t. ” yes! i feel that way and yes, the new moody me doesnt always want to feel better! I wish the shrink would win faster too. I know it’s in contrast to what I just said about not wanting to feel better. It’s a problem of ambivilence- some days I just don’t want to work at it (grief). SOmedays it’s the hardest work I do.

    It’s amazing how we are all contemplating the same thing. I’m glad we are not alone.

    • babylossmama says:

      It’s totally the ambivalence that gets me on the moody days, too! I don’t WANT to be ambivalent and grumpy… except when I AM ambivalent and grumpy. Ugh. And contrary to what I truly believe and always say, I think a small part of me still does believe that getting “old me” back means letting go of Ander in some way. I’m still working on negotiating that and figuring it out.

      • meghanoc says:

        Ooo. So we’ll said. I was having trouble verbalizing, but you did it well. Worry about going back to the old me means letting go of Mabel. Sums it up.

  3. I really get everything you’re saying. I’ve changed so much since Hugo died – for better and for worse. I do get flashes of fun, but they have to be worked at. My bad days are dark. And then I feel guilty for not enjoying the life that was so cruelly denied to Hugo. It’s a long road.

  4. pleromama says:

    Late to the party here, but anyway…

    I used to recite “fake it ’til you make it” during my drive to work. I also used to cry for the entire drive to work. I think faking it is helpful, but it also makes me very guarded, and I hate that. Zach and I hit a particularly hard time a few weeks ago after just sort of existing together for months. I don’t think either one of us liked the other, and I could absolutely see why post-loss couples split up. After that, I looked through a bunch of old pictures of us from before Owen, just to remind myself that we do love each other and that we used to be fun, happy people. We’re doing better, but I hate having to work so hard just to be somewhere close to normal. Ugh, it’s hard.

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