Last week I mentioned that I feel as though I am doing a million things, and none of them particularly well. Sometimes that feeling is incredibly overwhelming when I think about all of the things that aren’t getting done and the growing pile I have to contend with! I was talking to a friend about it, who reminded me that the person I am now is a very different one to who I was before Claytie died… and that is so true! I have changed in a million big and small ways and I need to make allowances for that. Its hard when I have so many days where I really don’t recognise myself at all anymore, and then I get glimpses of who I used to be and forget that my world is not the same.
I hate feeling like this! It is a combination of huge anxiety, hyperactivity, some sort of dementia and just a heaviness that sits over me. I make lists of the stuff that I have to do in my head, and forget almost all of it in 5 minutes. Even when I write things down I struggle to remember – or I remember in the middle of the night or super early in the morning when I can’t do anything about it – especially when I’m thinking about people and who I need to call to catch up. If you haven’t heard from me for a while, it’s not that I’m not thinking about you, it’s that I’m sure you don’t want me to call in the middle of the night when I do! The whole thing is starting to drive me a little bit nuts! There are so many things that I feel I have lost control over and while part of me worries about it, another part kind of just can’t be bothered – and that’s the part really bothers me. My motivation for so many things is very light on the ground – and I never used to be like this.
I used to be that person who was super organised. I had my lists for everything and knew exactly what I wanted to do. Birthday parties and gifts, Christmas… organised weeks in advance. Groceries bought according to meals planned for the week, often cooked on the Sunday ready to heat and eat; and if we were having a party, everything organised ahead of time and contingency plans made just in case. I’m not that person anymore and it’s a weird feeling. Part of me really misses being so organised and in control and then another part just thinks MEH- what’s the point?!
In the widow community it is called widow brain. People have done research on it. Apparently it is a physiological response to trauma. In a way it is your body protecting itself from reliving the trauma of your person dying and it is a very real thing. It makes sense, no one wants to have the horrible memories of their persons last moments at the front of their thoughts, but is hard to live with when the rest of the world thinks you’re ok – its been long enough by now right?! (That was sarcasm and does not need a response, I know its ridiculous!). I actually feel like its getting worse rather than better for me tho – or maybe I am just more aware of it now… I don’t know?! What I do know, is that I don’t like feeling out of control! I don’t like feeling overwhelmed by the things that aren’t getting done, or that I just don’t have the motivation to do – but there is only so much that I can realistically outsource.
It’s a really conflicted mess inside my brain, and hard to explain to others when it doesn’t always make sense to me. In some cases I have had to give up or at least step back from people and things- some situations require input from others as well as me and I can’t always be the one to chase. In other cases I am really determined that I will get that control and motivation back – I need to for myself and the boys, and to make sure that my world doesn’t implode any more than it already has. I know now that I can’t rely on my memory at all, that my calendar is essential, and to check any lists that I come across to make sure I have done the tasks on them. If you haven’t heard from me for a while, feel free to get in touch and I will try not to be a slack arse and call or text you back if I don’t answer – but if I do forget, please, please don’t take it personally!!!