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For the past few weeks, but especially this past week, I’ve been feeling mentally “off.”
I’m in a bit of a fog with an underlying blanket of what I can only now describe as sadness. Little things make me upset. I’m easily frustrated. I’m on the brink of tears every time I experience or even see something emotional. (TikTok has been killing me!) I crave more than my standard amount of hugs, physical reassurance, and affection.
Most people (especially the majority of men) will look at this and say that it’s due to my period—but it’s nowhere near “that time.” No big hormonal shifts for me anymore, thanks to my IUD.
I have a lot of good things going on in my life right now. On Tuesday, I have my first job interview in over 20 years, for which I am quite excited! My three children are doing well in school, have lots of friends, and are involved in activities that they enjoy. I enjoy teaching my piano students. I’m happy in my relationship.
So, what’s the problem?
I had to force myself to sit in my feelings and process what has been happening to me on my own, as I’m on the waiting list for a new therapist. It wasn’t until I read a post from a friend of mine on Facebook that I started to be able to put the puzzle pieces together. She has also been emotional lately and constantly on edge. She and her children were physically in the school during the Parkland school shooting, and reading about this trial has brought back so many traumatic memories which have caused her to feel physically and mentally off since the trial began.
Her body remembered the trauma much sooner than her brain made the connection.
We all experience some type of trauma at some point in our lives. No one’s trauma is the same as another, and it affects us all so differently. For my trauma, this Wednesday is the six-year anniversary of my husband’s unexpected death. He collapsed on my kitchen floor around 9:30 a.m. He was 42 and passed from an undiagnosed enlarged heart due to long-term high blood pressure—leaving behind our three children, then aged 6, 11, and 12.
I have emotionally processed his death with the help of my previous therapist, and continue to do so with every big life event that our children experience. I’m at a place of acceptance, as grief never goes away because it becomes a part of you. So why does this time of year still affect me so much? I welcome memories of him, and I strive to talk about him every day with our children.
I believe it’s my body. It remembers and clings on to a lot of the things that my brain would rather not. It remembers the pain and suffering of those first few days—things like raw emotion and utter shock. The attempts to try to stuff it all down to be a support for my children. Enduring the horrific receiving line at his funeral of over 600 people. I wish I could forget it all, but my body does not.
My body brings back a blanket of sadness that is still there even though I’m laughing and having a good time. I’m on the verge of an ugly cry at the slightest infraction—things like getting stuck in traffic and almost missing my middle child’s competition, falling asleep alone, or proudly watching any of my children doing what they love, whether it is soccer, color guard, or singing an aria.
My appetite has greatly decreased, and when I do eat, it’s much less than I normally would. I get sucked into my phone to avoid these feelings. I go back and forth between TikTok and those Youtube videos of blackheads getting removed—even though I know that writing about my thoughts or going for a walk would be much more helpful.
I know that this will pass. It has been like clockwork for the previous five years—another thing I need to learn to expect every year. My hope is that as each year progresses, my body slowly forgets the traumatic feelings, and will align better with my brain. I have several books on this topic in my pile of things to read. Hopefully, I’ll get to them soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to think about…
What does your body remember?