I feel like my life has been on pause for a few weeks now. First there were the weeks (nearly 2 of them) of vigil, waiting for the inevitable end of my grandfather’s life. During that time, I was in survival mode, trying to maintain some semblance of mental health along the way, but my bandwidth for self care activities was low. I paused plans for my week of vacation, thinking that he wouldn’t make it past the week, only to take more time the following week. Then, the immediate aftermath, after he passed. The wave of overwhelming sadness and grief followed by the valley of numbness that followed, as a means of self-preservation. Again, the focus was survival and taking care of my family, especially since hubby came down with a case of the shingles a couple of days after Gramps passed. There has also been the rush of putting together funeral programs, prayer cards, getting a photo canvas for the funeral (since he’s been cremated), and meeting with the church to plan the funeral itself, all of which led to just trying to get through each day, and not leaving much bandwidth for much else. All of this is understandable and reasonable. I acknowledge that this is not a permanent state, and that, after the funeral on Monday, things should slowly start settling back into some sort of predictable rhythm, or at least as predictable as anyone’s life could be, especially someone with depression and mild anxiety.
That said, so many things in my life feel like they are on pause. My therapist and I have agreed to pause our EMDR sessions for now, using the last couple of sessions and maybe the next one to work through whatever the immediate needs are, to make sure I’m handling all of this in a relatively healthy way. I appreciate this, because I have a not insignificant history of suppressing my feelings, which never ends well. While this gives me a chance to, in a way, give my new coping mechanisms and self care tools a trial by fire, as it were, it is also frustrating to that part of my personality that just wants to make consistent forward progress. That part of myself has frequently been frustrated by the therapy process, because it’s not a straight line, and I’m not always making progress, and that is OK. In fact, I think it’s just about time for me to straighten out my desk again, rearrange my printouts, and re-write my affirmations, to remind myself that this is a process, and it’s not necessarily always a straight line. This might also help me re-break the habit of doing my laptop work on the couch and get back to using my desk, because doing laptop work on the couch (ie: finances, writing, etc), frequently devolves into Netflix binging and Sims. I’m too boring for Netflix and chill, I guess.
Outside of my personal therapy session, and the writing front (which I discussed last week), even work has felt, well, strange. I’ve been in and out of the office so much over the past few weeks, that I feel less productive overall, even though I try to do as many things as I can on the days that I have been in the office. I feel almost out of touch with what’s going on there, but, all things considered, I’m not sure if that’s entirely a bad thing. One thing that has become crystal clear to me over the past couple of weeks, especially over the past 7 days, is that somewhere along the way, priorities have shifted, or maybe it’s that my focus has shifted, but the priorities haven’t come along for the ride. So, there will be a lot of reassessing, a lot of refocusing, and a lot of adjusting even on a daily schedule level to try and get things back on track in all areas: faith, relationship, family, mental health, physical health.
I’m not giving up on the blog. Far from it. I need this space to keep myself accountable as far as writing goes, and even as far as self-care goes. I’m still going to aim for posts every Friday. Length may vary, as I battle it out with writer’s block and try to yet again (or maybe still) find my new normal. It’s been a long, crazy year, and there’s still three and a half months left. I’m not waiting for New Year to work on me, though. Once we’re past the funeral, I’ll try to get back on track with my 4 core self care needs (sleep, sun, activity and healthy foods) with even more dedication than I’ve had over the past month-ish, while still focusing on where I’m at mentally and emotionally and giving myself space if and as needed, even if that means just accepting those times when I’m needing to compartmentalize my life in order to focus and get through, even if I would normally feel guilty about doing so. I should have no reason to feel guilty for focusing on my priorities, and I just need to keep reminding myself of that.
How do you handle the feeling of your life on pause? When was the last time you reassessed your priorities?