Rocky Road

As if the grief itself wasn’t enough, I have now been diagnosed with postpartum depression.   I was feeling the intensity of the grief gradually lessening and slowly peeling away, and now this whole new level of emotional complexity has slapped me in the face.  It’s not the kind of depression that makes me want to stay in bed, close the curtains, and become a vampire.  It’s the kind that makes me swing ever so high and low.  I alternate between bliss and gloom.  The highs are out of control, where life appears to be full of amazing options and possibilities, and I can’t wait to jump on all of them.  The world vibrates with color and yumminess.  The lows, on the other hand, are not as fun.  The fire of the drive gets extinguished and I become a lump of misery full of stagnation, surrounded by the theme of death and abandonment.  And to think that this is just the hormones playing their devious games!

I used to hold a theory that we are all moving in an upward spiral.  I say “used to” because these days I find myself running in circles, and even frequently spiraling downwards.  It’s as if I am turning back into a child; one that’s in a constant state of a tantrum.  Then for a minute, I snap out of it, become an adult once more, shake my head at my immature behaviors, and remind myself that this is a process.  Until again, the tantrums come on and I degrade one more level, back to where I started some years back.

I have always been a sensitive person but sensitivity has now gained a whole new meaning in my life.  I cry when someone gives me a bad look, or when I accidentally kill an ant in my attempt to bring it outside to safety.  I scream in my car when someone cuts me off or when the traffic is not moving.  I cry for being an angry person.  I yell at my partner for not being there for me, when I don’t even know how to be there for myself.  Again, I cry.  I push him away.  I pull him in.  I throw lamps, kick walls, break things.  And then I sob, uncontrollably.  In the midst of my tantrums, I turn into a wild animal.  There is no reasoning with my mind in that state because my mind has been emptied of reasons.  The only reasons that are left are the ones worth crying over.

Where are these crazy emotions coming from?  I was told that anger is one of those forces that once expressed, gains power instead of dissipating.  I also read somewhere that the more I reject a part of myself, the stronger it becomes.  But I am having a really hard time accepting this “new” me because it’s ruining my life.  And like I would never do to a child, I scold the one in me, afraid to accept it and love it.  Sometimes I think that I’ve created a child in my emotional being so that there is someone to take care of, in the face of losing Leif.  I’m constantly trying to find some sort of tangible explanation for my madness.  The hormones don’t always resonate with the mind that seeks a more solid explanation.  Where the hell is the off button?

I have chosen the naturopathic path to recovery, hoping to bring back some balance into my life through good old herbs and acupuncture.  I’m tired of running into the wall, and just  really want harmony present in my life.  This has been a bumpy ride on a rocky road, to say the least.  But I’m still learning through it all.  Perhaps the learning is the upward spiral, after all.  The mind/heart space is a deep and complex space and experiencing new depths of it, as hard as the experience might be, is always in some way enlightening, even when the lights appear to be out.  Onward, I move, to see what exists around the bend…

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Healing

A slippery, synthetic duvet is slowly suffocating me, pressing me into the pillows that feel like they’re filled with rocks.  I’m tossing and turning to the sounds of the Beagle snoring at my feet, on top of my feet.  More heaviness.  I can’t breathe.  My throat feels like it’s clogged and someone is stomping on my chest.  It’s emotion.  Feeling displaced.  Both, it, and I…

Where am I?  This was a place I called home at some point, for some time.  The room has been transformed from a colorful teenage chaos filled with posters of Weimaraners dressed up as people and the beautiful face of Jim Morrison, to now, an office with two computer monitors and a couch that pulls out for my arrival.  My mother is sleeping in the room next door, ecstatic to have her little girl home, to tuck her in to a bed that was made with love for a sleepless night.  I drift in and out of consciousness, looking for home on this couch-bed, but home was left behind in Boulder, Colorado, and home is out, dancing and being free for a night away from me.

I try to push the Beagle over, to make some room for breath, for blood to reach my tingling feet, and in the innocence of her sleep, she growls.  Why am I here?  I gaze over and next to me, buried under a ton of heavy air sits “The Tibetan Book of The Dead,” and I remember that I am here to heal.   Here to process the anger that has been erupting like a volcano, being projected at home, on home; the anger that they say is the final stage in the grieving process.  But if grieving is cyclical and if grieving is a process, then how can there be a final step?  Perhaps, a spiral into the ether?

The healing has been slow.  Is slow.  I’ve allowed the past to partially scab over, but picking my scabs has become a bad habit.  Sometimes, I just don’t want to forget.  I scratch to remember what I have lost, longing to hold it close to my heart.  Other times, I wish is to forget, but I bump into things that remind me, and the wounds re-open, get dirty, infected.  I bump into babies on the street, or people who don’t know.  I run into people who know but are too uncomfortable to face me.  I bump into smells, sounds, tastes.  I run myself crazy with memories.

I don’t know what I bumped into tonight, in the room from my past or the room of my dreams, but I am startled awake, remembering and feeling; the density of life.  I miss my home.  I miss Leif.  I miss all that never was.  I’m learning how to live so that I know how to die.  I’m trying.

There will be scars, no doubt.  Wounds like these don’t go unnoticed.  Anger alone leaves streaks behind, welts the size of small mountains.  But I will take scars any day over fresh wounds.  The scars show that I’m a survivor.  My heart beats stronger, and day by day, I’m healing just a little bit more.