Before I go into more detail about my current crazy state, I would really like to thank everyone who commented on my last post - especially those people who know their child's condition is life-limiting. Thank you for your kindness and wisdom and understanding. Thank you for the good reminders about appreciating life in the here and now - because the cold hard truth is that anything could happen to any one of us at any time. We all need to appreciate what and who we have while we still have them. I think it has been helpful for me to confront my fears over Ashlea's life and death. The nursery left me with a real fear that she could die at any time, and while that is still true in one sense, it has been helpful to realise that she is probably a lot healthier now than I give her credit for, and that she is not likely to die imminently and maybe I can let go of some of my fear and hypervigilance.
Now for today's craziness. Since I have started talking about grief and our NICU experience with a psychologist I feel like I am starting to go a little crazy. Are you guys sure that this 'talking about it' idea is as good as everyone makes out???
Over the last couple of weeks I have been feeling awful. I've started talking about how I feel about what we went through and what we continue to go through with Ashlea, and I can feel all the emotions have come up and it feels like they are just under the surface. The problem is there is no release. I feel like I am carrying around all this tension and emotion in my chest, but can't do anything with it. I am not the sort of person who can easily just sit down and have a big cry about it - did I mention we are all a bit repressed in my family? Anyway, seeing as I don't do the big bawl your eyes out thing, I usually do the 'slow leak' of tears instead. So whenever I think about the NICU or 'what could have been' or whatever the particular trigger is I will have a few tears and thats it. But I could do that every day or a couple of times every day, so eventually I figure the slow leak of tears equates to someone else who would just get it all out in one go. The whole point of telling you all that, is that since I have started talking about all this stuff with the psychologist there have been NO TEARS at all. I have no access to any tears whatsoever. It doesn't matter what I watch on TV, or what music I listen to, or what I think or talk about - NO TEARS will come out. Which means that I am carrying all this emotion around inside my body - mainly in my chest and behind my eyes. At times it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and that it is hard to breath because of all the built up stress.
I kind of have an idea about why this might be happening. I think because I find it so hard to talk about how I feel and particularly to let people see how I feel, I have somehow gotten into this weird state as a way of avoiding showing my emotions when I talk about stuff. Its like because I know this is such an emotional issue, I know I can't talk about it without tears, but yet I find it so hard to let people see my tears, I have gotten myself worked up into this state so that now even though I WANT the tears to come out they won't.
Also, I think partly it is anxiety. Even though I have started talking about our NICU experience with the psychologist we haven't yet talked about THAT DAY. The day where I thought Ashlea was going to die right then and there in front of me. And I am TERRIFIED of talking about that day. I haven't spoken to anyone about it. Ever. The anticipation of talking about it is nearly driving me mad. That is why I feel like I can't breath.
I have decided that next week when I go for my appointment we are going to have to talk about THAT DAY. I can't keep it in any longer. I can't keep anticipating having to talk about it. I figure we should just get on with it and do it. I'm not sure that it will make me feel any better, but at least the stressful anticipation will be gone.
Wish me luck.
PS Sorry for all the crazy ramblings of late...you've done well if you actually made it through this whole post! I figure though that if I am still not able to open up my mouth and talk to people face to face about how I feel, at least I can start practising by being more open here!