When The Days Get Heavy
Life can get heavy. It's just the way it goes. When life includes trauma and the life that comes after trauma, some days it can be really heavy.
The month of October was heavy for me. September brought the anniversary of "the day" (if you've read my other posts you'll know what I mean by that) and the death of one of our best friends. Days felt long. And lonely. I couldn't wait to get my kids to bed just so I could go to bed. Not because I was falling asleep at 8pm (because at that point I wasn't even sure what sleep was anymore) but just so that I could close my door and feel like I was shutting out the world. I didn't like it. I recognized what I was doing - but felt stuck.
It was a reminder of how quickly things can turn dark.
I ended up taking a mental health day on a day when my husband was out of town and my kids had school. I told myself that I was allowed to have a "slow" morning and just veg out, but then after lunch I had to tackle the to-do list I had started to make weeks before.
That day turned out to be exactly what I needed.
I gave myself that slow morning. That extra long shower. The silence. The reflection. The morning made tackling that to-do list seem manageable, easy even. I made appointments I had kept forgetting to make. I replied to e-mails and phone calls I had been putting off. And I reached out to people that I had wanted to reach out to, but didn't exactly know what to say,
It's truly amazing how that one day, those 8 hours of feeling productive and accomplished (even if they were small things), started to shine a light in the cracks of that darkness. I made a nice meal for my family to sit down to and enjoy together after weeks of just relying on quick fixes and scattered eating.
As spouses, but especially as first responder spouses, we can easily find ourselves negating our own needs, desires, and fears. It's not because we want to push ourselves down. It's because we are often trying to survive. And when your spouse is living with PTSD, that survival mode can sometimes feel like a constant.
This is your reminder, as we head into the holiday season, to allow yourself the slow time, the quiet time, without guilt. This is your reminder to make that to-do list and start by just checking off one thing a day. I promise that small feeling of accomplishment can make all the difference!
And this is your reminder that you are not alone. If you are feeling sad, angry, confused, frustrated, overwhelmed, or whatever, there will always be someone to listen! And if you want, that someone can be me.
Take care of one another and be kind to yourself,