I started this blog when I was excited about a journey of self discovery. A journey of healing, and growth. I realized that my willingness to talk about my mental health (or lack thereof) was not something a lot of people feel comfortable doing. I thought maybe I could be a source of sameness or hope? Then COVID happened. And, well, my world… the whole world… imploded.
This particular week, the last week of October, is a time of reflection. Exactly one year ago, I moved out of the house I shared with my husband and children. I left. This is not something I am proud to admit. I feel shame and guilt every, single day. Stephen was (and still is) the greatest love of my life. He is kind and funny. He sees the world through patient eyes. He gave me everything I ever asked him to give me. Everything. His greatest gift was letting me go. That is real love, right? Sacrifice? Granted, we had our share of issues… we lost touch with one another… we grew apart. All those things. Yet, I was terribly unkind to him. But, you see, it’s because there were things I never resolved. There were things I never faced. I looked to him to fix everything, and when he could not, I was angry and hateful and cold.
This is MY story. In my story, I choose to honor the good in him. I will never share anything that makes the father of my children look like the bad guy. So before anyone says to me that I’m too hard on myself, please know that I’m not. There is always more to the story. But, truly, he is not the monster in this tale.
So, here we are, one year later. And, I am struggling to answer this question: What was it all for?
I… I really don’t know. Not much time for self healing when you’re in a constant state of high alert and worry. Schools closed and teachers went from being heroes to villains in the span of 6 months (with a summer in between). This summer was nothing short of terrifying.
Covid took down America as hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, more jobs than I can count were lost, and the celebratory summer months were spent at home with Zoom being our new norm.
The nation is also so uneasy as we widen the divide between the LEFT and the RIGHT. Equality, Justice, Love, Hope, Kindness... all in a state of unrest.
In August, my family was impacted personally by Covid. My father-in-law passed away. Life has changed in immeasurable ways. But, I suppose I should be thankful I’m still here. I am… mostly.
Professionally, I'm in knots. Remote learning is simply awful. I miss teaching. I miss the students. I miss the energy and being able to geek out about Latin roots and novels. I miss the collective eye rolls and groans from a class full of 14 year-olds. I miss telling “dad” jokes and watching TED talks. Mostly, I miss the noise. Teaching via Teams is so quiet… and so anonymous. I can’t help but wonder if they feel as alone as I do. Is there REALLY someone on the other side of the screen?
My own children are pretty miserable right now. Not only are they dealing with navigating their big feelings about Mom and Dad not living together, but they also have to deal with the isolation of this whole situation. Tack on remote learning… and yuck. Sidenote: Covid birthday celebrations are really lame, btw.
Creatively, I haven’t felt compelled at all to write or draw or paint. The days have been dark and the nights have been sleepless. I’m exhausted. I’m anxious. I’m depressed. I am really unmotivated.
My mental health is unsteady at best. A few weeks ago, I reached out to my therapist with concerns about my medication. That led to a doctor’s appointment and a change in medication. Have you ever gone through SSRI withdrawals? Holy Moses! It was one one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. As I write this post tonight, I’m about 9 days into the new medication. It’s getting slightly better, but I still have work to do.
So, really, what was it all for?
I can tell you that Stephen and I are better friends than we were a year ago. I can tell you that we communicate better than we did a year ago (because we have to), and I can tell you that I have found a gift I never knew I had. (Teaser alert).
I can tell you that I appreciate my friends more than ever. I can tell you that my hammock and my dog are my lifeline, my mother is an angel, and that coffee is still life. I am addicted to meditation and the power of Crystals.
Yet, things are still unresolved. I have lost friends. I have hurt people. I've neglected my physical health. I eat too much, and I drink more than usual. I have canceled plans, and I have cried and cried and cried. I am angry. I am hurt. I am lonely, and I want to be left alone.
I am human. I am as strong as I am weak. I am awful, but I am a peach. Folks, this is limbo…This is actually healing through a pandemic.
After all, 2020 has been the year of “WHAT IS IT ALL FOR?”