Thursday, April 10, 2014

just because i'm losing doesn't mean i'm lost

“It's the skin and bones that keep me on the road
The shoulder blades of a beast that haunts my soul
Wandering lonely and scared
I live the tragedy I shared

It's quick to drag you in but hard to shake
It gives but doesn't match how much it takes
Growing stronger and loud
I lived it, but now I'm wanting out

I built the fence, I hung the sign
Wine red letters said 'Keep in mind
Where I been so don't come in'
But how long can you live in shame
And drop a life long curse on your own last name?
The trouble is, I'm used to it”
(Avett Bros., “Skin and Bones”)

So, bear with me because this one’s got a few song quotes – they’re all relevant, I promise.  And there really should have been a Nine Inch Nails one, too – but then it just got too long…..
            I’ve been nothing but honest on this blog.   Especially from the very beginning of this particular journey.  When he was first diagnosed, when we knew, and the aftermath.  I’ve taken you with me – on every step.  I talked about being diagnosed with PTSD (maybe talked around it and never actually used the acronym, but it was there). I think it’s also no secret that things haven’t been fun, and not getting better.   Right after Thanksgiving, though, is when I think I can pinpoint a true downhill path that I started to take.  I cannot tell you all the things that were worse, because I didn’t recognize them as such.  I thought it was coping.  It wasn’t.  I WASN’T. I don’t mean drugs or alcohol – there are other things that aren’t healthy that can be equal or greater to the damage of substance abuse.  *Eating.  *Gaining weight.  *Obsessing over things I could control – mainly, my kids.  *I wasn’t sleeping.  *I kept getting sick.  I was so *irritable or *sad or *despondent.  All the time.  All the time.  And I didn’t recognize it for what it was.  I thought this is what should be.   I gave myself excuses to be this way because of what I’d been through.  Almost giving myself permission to not care at all, or to act this way.   I’m not going to write about the weeks leading up into the next paragraph.  They were ugly and dark.  But they served their purpose - because I knew.  I knew that this wasn’t working. 

“Just because I'm losing
Doesn't mean I'm lost
Doesn't mean I'll stop
Doesn't mean I’m across

Just because I'm hurting
Doesn't mean I'm hurt
Doesn't mean I didn't get
What I deserved
No better and no worse

I just got lost
Every river that I tried to cross
Every door I ever tried was locked
Ohhh and I'm...
Just waiting 'til the shine wears off “
(Coldplay, “Lost?”)

            So I started therapy.  I found a psychologist that I like and I’ve been going for almost 6 weeks now.  It is good.  Things aren’t better, but I kind of feel like I have hope that they will be.  I think I was missing that before. 
The first thing we did was work on ways to help me sleep (without medication).  I worked on learning to breath (I’m not kidding, there’s technique!  And, ASLO, not kidding – it really works!) Calming my mind so I didn’t obsess and worry and drive myself crazy lying awake most of the night.   I’ve been sleeping a little better.  I think I will sleep even better once my ankle is healed and I can go on my normal walk/run again.  (side tangent – I sprained my ankle March 14th and I’m still not able to do more than slowly walk, and only a mile or two) 
Next we worked on setting goals.  Which is an ongoing thing.  These are things like journaling, expanding my LOCAL social support network (with people other than my kids), setting limits to comfort eating, etc. – and that seems a little overwhelming when I write it down like that, but they’re small steps and the homework is not a burden. 
   This approach to therapy is work, though, and it’s not a lot of fun.  But it’s better than the alternative of staying where I was or being on medication.  I’m still sad.  Still overcoming the urge to obsess over things.  And we’re not going to talk about the number of cookies consumed this week.  But some things have gotten better.  I’m praying again.  Sarah and I are laughing together again.  I’m willing to do the work.  I want to be happy again.  I want to find some kind of balance between holding on to some of who I was, and Rob’s memory, and what the future looks like for me now. 
Which brings me to what I actually wanted to talk about in this blog post. 
   One of my homework assignments for this week was to try and quiet my mind, close my eyes, and visualize where I see myself in 5 years.  NOT where I see my kids, or what I see myself doing with/for my kids – but where I see myself.  When I mentioned this to a friend she said that she found digging deep  - or the “who are you” questions - impossible for her because outside of being a wife and mother was a black hole in her own thoughts.  Which is exactly how I RIGHTLY felt – because I was perfectly content in that role. Now I have to explore that black hole, because things are very different for me; my identity can no longer be wrapped up in who I was.    I have been struggling with this assignment.   
  But, finally, I think I have come up with an answer that’s good enough for right now.  In TRUE ‘Krissie’ fashion: it’s a song.  Because I think in song lyrics,( sometimes I even dream in song lyrics).
  I cannot really visualize what I see myself doing in 5 years.  But, I think that those scenes will come.  For right now, I have decided in 5 years I want this to be my theme song – I want to be able to sing this song at the top of my lungs and have every word be true.  Just thinking that this could be true is enough.  It’s enough for now. 

“Don't look back
A new day is breakin'
It's been too long since I felt this way
I don't mind where I get taken
The road is callin'
Today is the day

I can see
It took so long just to realize
I'm much too strong
Not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I'll turn it around, oh yes I will

I finally see the dawn arrivin'
I see beyond the road I'm drivin'

It's a bright horizon and I'm awake now
Oh I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin'
The clouds are breakin'
'Cause I can't lose now, there's no game to play

I can tell
There's no more time left to criticize
I've seen what I could not recognize
Everything in my life was leading me on
But I can be strong, oh yes I can…”

(Boston, “Don’t Look Back”)