As each month passes, I realize that I'm doing a little better psychologically than the month before.
It seems like its been going like this for over a year and a half now.
First, I was freaking out and petrified when I realized something was terribly wrong with my marriage, but could not figure out what, nor how to respond. I sensed I was being manipulated, but because I was being lied to by everyone in my household, I was lost and feeling insane. Everyone I lived with was against me (though I had done nothing wrong) and I reeled in circles of never ending fear.
Then, I was shocked and in denial when I was screamed at and tormented by Chip that my husband was divorcing me. Even when Gerick finally got the balls to sit down and tell me it was true, he was leaving me for our renters in the tiny house in the back yard, I kept getting mentally stuck on how impossible it seemed that someone I loved and lived with for 24 years could throw me away like trash.
Next, I swung back and forth for 9 months between infuriated outrage & deep, inconsolable grief. I was so deeply hurt and offended that I felt crazy at times. I acted crazy sometimes too… I had to keep reminding myself that hurting those assholes back wasn't worth prison. Then I had to remind myself that those assholes weren't worth inflicting more pain upon myself for feeling so fucking stupid and worthless. My world had fallen out from under me, and pain and fury shuttled me back and forth so often and so powerfully that there were times when I wondered if I'd ever breathe in peace again.
With the help of therapy, medication, and the love and consistent support of friends, the rage and despondency began– ever so slowly!– to diminish. The waves of pain ebbed and flowed like the black waters of a remorseless ocean. At times, I revisited the fear stage or the shock and denial came back. I was scared I couldn't face the world alone. I couldn't believe Gerick really didn't love me anymore. Then it was back to sadness or anger for awhile. Sometimes I was surprised by what hit me and when. And I just had to go with it to get to the other side of it.
Now I think I've begun the next stage of mourning– and if you're thinking “acceptance” then I'm going to correct you, because that's not it…
I realize looking back that what I'm dealing with now is a small part of my 'going crazy' stage that I couldn't even process because it was so far outside my life experience. Considering how many incredibly strange and new things I've learned to adapt to, maybe its odd that I haven't really been overwhelmed by anything quite like it before. Or maybe its just that the context makes it hard to understand..?
Some days I feel almost normal, but even on the best days I have periods of time, minutes or at least moments, where I feel very estranged from reality and deeply uncomfortable. My worst panic attacks happened much earlier in the process, where I had episodes of very powerful “derealization“– which is where reality doesn't seem to 'fit' right. I felt like I accidentally stepped out of my life and into another. I felt like the world had shifted and I forgot to shift with it. Its very hard to describe, but its essentially becoming alienated from existence itself. Everything looks the same, but it feels like you got tossed into some horror movie from which there is no escape. The worst part is that you know its not true rationally, but the part of your brain that decides how shit works is not cooperating. The emotional default setting is “this isn't right- DANGER!” The signals can't be denied, and its the most scared I think I've been since I confronted the whole 'aliens are real' thing when I was a teenager.
But the context isn't on quiet nights or isolated places. This is everyday, normal life that feels twisted and unreal– and I couldn't handle it… When I get panic attacks, most often its because this feeling is starting to come back, and I can't settle down to do anything. Nothing feels right, and then it just gets worse and worse.
Well, over the weeks since my move, the panic and the worst of the anxiety is diminishing too, along with the rage and grief, but there is this lingering, squirm-worthy ECHO of the derealization that I'm now dealing with on many days. Many times, its not truly anxiety, but its still interfering with my ability to feel okay.
The days pass and I'll be better on that front for a while, but then I'll have several days in a row where I look around at my rooms and I can't feel okay. I'll try to find distractions, try to do a few chores, go for a walk if I'm not fatigued, hang out with Cat or the cats, call a friend– anything to stop feeling like I'm not okay.
Currently, things are at the point where I don't often feel angry or sad anymore. Brief sections of time will hit me and retreat, and I can tell that I will get over both negative emotions eventually. I've adapted to that black ocean's waves as they keep shrinking and moving out to sea. But now the biggest thing that bugs me is just not feeling like I'm in the right life. It'll hit me walking into one of my two rooms. It'll hit me as I ride around in the car doing errands with one of my roomies.
Its a source of anxiety, but a very specific form of it that bothers me more than ordinary 'sensitive nerves', which I've lived with since I can remember. Its the next layer to processing my upturned life. Even if it ends up being better in many ways from my 'old' life, I don't think its going to feel that way for a long time. Months, certainly, and maybe even a year or longer.
Sometimes I wish I wasn't so dedicated to a mostly sober life. I think I understand addicts a little better now. I can't be one, but I get it. Staring into the abyss stone cold sober most of the time, just being patient with the pain and fear and moving through it all one step after another–