But maybe you’ve felt it? The heaviness. Felt it physically pressing down on you while simultaneously twisting your shoulder muscles. You felt the sadness. The hopelessness. You take showers not to get clean, instead because they drown out the sound of your sobs.
Maybe you too avoid social interaction because it’s so exhausting. And not because of the people, they’re people you love. It’s the constantly guarding of your emotional state. Triggers lie everywhere and they don’t always come with red flag warning signs. But bursting into tears in the middle of dinner conversation is far from “life of the party” you that used to exist. Make-up is useless because you’ll sob the entire way there. And that’s following the intense meltdown you had just to leave the damned house in the first place. Praying, begging for one of them to cancel & give you an out.
Your mind races, ‘Am I smiling enough, or too much?’ Struggling to pay apt attention to your friends while your brain races through constant threats, balancing cheerfulness all while trauma makes things like saying “Hello” a mental memory feat.
You remember when this was easy, commonplace. When sadness wasn’t constantly overwhelming you. When you didn’t have to pretend to be human, you just were. When battling thoughts of normality or just finally resting weren’t even on your plate.
There’s no downtime. You dread bedtime but you dread waking (if you’re lucky enough to sleep). The darkness has taken on life, like a tangible oppressor. The silence inviting your mind to replay all the things you could have changed. All the things you should have known. All the things you’re sure people are saying. You breathe deep, you count sheep, you watch the darkness as the hours drag on. Tossing, turning, sobbing into your already soaked pillow. At some point in the week, sheer exhaustion takes over, and sleep creeps in. But it brings no rest. Just more exhaustion when the day breaks. Maybe you wake up crying because you don’t know if you have the endurance for another day. To meet your people’s needs: breakfast, clothing, love, comfort. One step, one movement, more tears. You show up where you have to. Stuffing down the panic and dread to give them what they need. All the while you long to just lay in bed, doing nothing, feeling all the nothing and the everything.
As I’ve walked this path over the last few years, therapy & medication have kept me afloat. I encourage you to reach out. Find a therapist that specializes in loss & trauma. Ask your doctor for medications that can help.