What Silent Struggles Can Look Like

Fun fact: just because someone never talks about their issues doesn’t mean they’re not struggling.

It’s been a while since I have publicly discussed my journey like I was doing previously. And that happened for a few reasons.

First, I was tired. On all levels. I get tired of hearing myself talk about the same issues and struggles over and over. I felt like a broken record. I felt I didn’t have anything new to provide, no new insights just working my way through the muck. I was dealing with some major seasonal depression. Winter seems to suck the life out of me and I was needing to spend almost all of my energy at work and trying to survive. Sometimes when you get into that depression survival mode, a lot of things need to be set aside because you don’t have the energy for everything. You have to reprioritize your life and adapt to the energy being leeched out of your body from depression.

I also grew tired of having to battle the same shit over and over. I grew weary of my problems. I hated their existence. I hated that I had to keep battling so hard just to do the bare minimum to survive. I have barely been able to play an active role in my own life. I often feel like everything is whizzing past me and I’m stuck in slow motion while the rest of the world is going in fast forward. I can’t get a grasp on anything. It’s overwhelming and I fear that I am falling too far behind and I will always be playing catch up for the rest of my life.

Second, I was doing some major internal work. I have been sifting through the mess and working on things that required my attention and my attention only. There wasn’t even a way to put some of this into words. It was a continuous self project of trying to figure out what has been holding me back for all this time. What was my depression trying to tell me? What could I do to help myself, my mind, my body, my soul? What needed to be faced? I still don’t know the answer to this question and I shall continue my “soul quest” as I like to call it.

I will admit there were times during this survival mode where I shut down completely. I grew weary of the process and decided to bury my feelings and try to avoid them. I needed a break. I wasn’t planning on squashing these feelings and emotions forever, I just needed time to breathe. I couldn’t stand to talk about death in any capacity. I completely isolated myself from my widowhood community. I isolated myself from a lot of my friends who knew me before Matt died. I avoided my past because it was a reminder of what has been lost.

I broke out of this isolation recently because I had to. For one, my flashbacks came back. Unfortunately trauma demands to be heard. Pain demands to be heard. It gets trapped in your body and it will rear its ugly head whether you want it to or not. It lashes out explosively when you’ve been trying to put it in time out.

I also grew so lonely during this time and I felt like a shitty person and friend. I felt lost. I have had so many moments where I would look in the mirror and I didn’t know who I am anymore. I see old videos and pictures from my past and wonder who that person is, and where did she go? I felt homeless inside of my own body and soul. I’m trying desperately to find my way back home within myself.

I have taken the time to sit with my trauma recently and face it, listen to it, and learn from it. I realized my brain remembers that awful day in fragments that are jumbled and muddled. It’s constantly working in the background trying to figure out what the fuck happened that day. What truly happened that day. It can’t store the memory if it can’t piece it together, right? So I started to sit down and write everything I could possibly remember from that day so I could piece all together and turning it into a flowing thought instead of a fragmented one. I was unable to get through the whole day, and that is okay. I listened and my body made it very clear how hard I should push myself. I will continue this “project” at a pace that I can handle. Sometimes that means I’ll have to walk away from it for weeks at a time because I have to recover and heal from the previous session.

Trauma isn’t something you can heal overnight. It’s too deep of a wound. Trauma injures/harms on all levels. There’s the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. I have had to focus on all of these elements and try to put the shattered pieces back together. But the hardest part is that you’re not taking something that is broken and putting it back together the way it originally was. You have to take these shattered pieces and you realize that some of these pieces can’t go back. They don’t fit anymore, they don’t serve a purpose, or they’re unable to function anymore. So instead you must find a way to get the pieces you do need and find a new way to put them back together. And you have to find entirely new pieces that never existed and find a way to integrate them in with the old. This is a process. A process that cannot be done overnight. As they always say: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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