The phrase that sprung to mind when this all begun and this feeling still continues to dominate.
A period a relative normality; do a few chores, be with other people (usually not by choice). Feeling I’ll be back to normal soon.
Then it’s all too much; shut down again. Back into the comfort and security of silence and solitude curled up under a blanket.
Swinging between functioning and not. A little energy then nothing. Peacefulness then restlessness. A great night of sleep, then a terrible one.
Overwhelmed. Exhaustion. Inconsistency. Frustration.
Rarely being able to talk or bear the company of anyone else. Intolerance of my own children. Waves of panic when the phone rings and not being able to bring myself to answer it. Massive anxiety when the doorbell goes. Don’t make me have to interact; I haven’t got the energy to focus on it. The easiest ones to see and speak to are the few colleagues from work who saw it all happen first hand in those last few days. Guilt that those closest are the hardest to face and are being kept at a distance. Why is it like this? Maybe as I feel a bit ashamed and I don’t know what to say; I can’t make sense of what is in my head. I’m sorry I’m struggling to let you in.
Yet gratitude for contact from people; especially in written form. So many messages of support and reassuring words. It doesn’t break the silence and I can respond in my own way when I am ready. Then lovely little gifts that mean more than I can describe. Flowers and a little model of the cathedral etched in glass from my mum so I can always see my place of sanctuary. Fruit to nibble on from people popping by; about the only thing I can be bothered to eat at the moment. A package of flowers, teabags and biscuits in the post from my best friend; she knows exactly what is perfect for me. Another close friend sent me a book that helped her family through a very difficult time of a similar nature. Dark mint chocolates from family friends that have known me forever; another perfect choice. An amazingly soft blanket to snuggle into from an understanding colleague and friend who has been in this situation before. A plant and homemade crumble from a thoughtful neighbour; who unbeknown to her, happened to make my favourite. Such simple but wonderfully comforting things. Perfectly fitting my current context. Received with much gratitude; partly because of what they are but mostly due to the thought behind them. Thank you.
Conflict. Loneliness. Isolation.
Involuntarily reflecting on previous mistakes and triggers of emotional pain. Being weighed down by ongoing worries. Thoughts buzzing and racing through my head. But no order or sense to them. In some ways, I feel completely detached – is this really happening to me? Worried about what people will be thinking. People giving up their time and changing their plans. No longer a wife, mother, friend and colleague. Just nothing but a cause of worry, a nuisance and a let-down. I’ve made everything worse. Failure, weakness, uselessness, guilt. At the same time, no energy to process or cope with these thoughts. Wanting to escape from the torture of my own mind. Wanting to get away somewhere completely on my own but not wholly trusting myself in my desire to shut it all out.
Vulnerability, loss of control and fear.