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.