Tag Archives: mourning

The Death Of All Feeling

I attended a friend’s memorial service today. This was the friend who I wrote about who had committed suicide. It was a beautiful service, and even though I didn’t know her very well (she was the partner of a friend), I feel I got to know her in many ways through the people who talked and shared stories about her today.

During the service though, I felt something stirring inside. What it was, I cannot exactly say. But if I were to try to describe it, it was an though numbness descended on my mind, like a net, trapping all my feelings and emotions underneath it. Perhaps a net isn’t the best analogy, since nets are porous and you can see through them. Maybe a thick tarp might better describe it. A think heavy tarp that has blanketed my mind with nothing but numbness.

I can feel the (mystery) emotions just underneath this tarp of numbness, kicking and fighting to get out, but the tarp is wrapped around them tightly, and they are not able to escape. What feelings are these that are trapped? you might ask. I wish I knew. I really don’t have a clue.

Sadness perhaps that my friend felt she had lost all hope. Anger perhaps that the world let her down, and that depression had won. Guilt perhaps that I hadn’t reached out even though I knew she’d been struggling. Envy perhaps that she (hopefully) was able to escape the pain of life. Worry perhaps that her partner will be okay and won’t burden herself with guilt. Resentment perhaps that her doctors and therapists and psychiatrists didn’t help her adequately.

These are all guesses. I cannot actually feel my feelings at the moment – any of them – but intellectually those thoughts are where my mind takes me. So perhaps those are some of the feelings trapped under the numbness.

Will I ever feel these feelings? I know several days after the suicide, I had big feelings come up. Lots of sadness. Lots of tears. But that’s the only time I’ve been able to feel anything pertaining to this person’s death in the last several weeks since her death. Will the feelings ever return?

I sit in the numbness and feel robotic. I have descended into the depths of where unfeeling creatures dwell. It’s as though all of my humanity has left me and in its place is only the hardened rock of my heart. How I long to feel human again.

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Loss

As many of you have read, I have endured a tremendous loss recently of a friend. It was one of the most painful losses I have suffered, not so much because I have lost this person (which would be painful in itself), but how it happened. I have been trying to focus on myself these last several days, and I’ve really been trying to do things that make me happy. I went for a hike with my hiking group yesterday, for example. Then I came home and took a bath. These things made me quite happy. I also went to see a movie with a friend last night in the theaters. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie in the theaters, and it was nice having that sense of escape.

However, I very much still think about the person who was a huge part of my life these last six months or so. A whole mix of feelings have been going through me. Pain, sadness, confusion, anger, frustration, and helplessness to name a few. It is hard enough losing someone. But to have the rug of your friendship pulled out completely from underneath you, especially when you least expect it, well… that was the hardest part I think. Actually I take that back. That was hard. But then what transpired after that was even more painful. The angry words. The accusations. The meanness. It’s been really hard not retaliating. Holding my tongue. Taking a step back and telling myself that it’s not worth it. The friendship is over, so what would be the point of jabbing back. Of trying to defend myself and refuting everything this person is saying about me. There really is no point, and it would only make matters worse. It would only fuel the fire. That’s the last thing I want. I want to put out the fire, so that I can heal. I have to let her go. But it’s not easy.

My anxiety has calmed down quite a bit since I took a break from coming online and blogging, etc. I think that the internet, particularly places this friend visits, felt unsafe and was keeping me in this panicked state. I needed to pull back and let my body calm down and recover. By continuing to post and read her posts, I was keeping myself triggered and not letting myself get to another place with all of it. I was staying in the trauma of the dysfunctional relationship. Because I see now our relationship was dysfunctional.

Which isn’t to say that we couldn’t have fixed it, or at least tried to fix it. I think what was happening at the end was that the both of us were feeling like we had to be there for the other person 24/7, in case that other person needed them. It was a very co-dependent way of operating, and it wasn’t helpful (or health-ful) to either of us. What neither of us realized, I think, was that we were both feeling that way. That we were both feeling worn down. That we both were feeling overwhelmed by the friendship. That we were both feeling sucked dry. And yet this person, rather than deciding to verbalize how they were feeling, and ask for some space (or whatever it was that they needed), instead decided to end the friendship very hastily. And when I tried expressing my feelings of hurt about that, I was lashed out against and being accused of ignoring her feelings as well as playing the role of the “victim.”

I have had people verbally attack me in the past, and end friendships suddenly like this, but I have to say it has been many many years since something like this has happened. I have really made an effort to cultivate healthy and positive relationships, ones where people want to and are able to articulate the difficulties they are having with me, or with the friendship, so we can attempt to work them out. This obviously didn’t happen here.

I may not be posting as much, at least for the next little while, and I hope you can all understand why. I am needing to really focus on myself at the moment, and trying to heal the hurt from this loss, and it’s not going to happen overnight. I apologize for being a bit out of touch lately. Especially to those people who I usually follow and comment on your blogs. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just I need time to focus on myself right now. That is my priority at the moment.

 

 

I would like to share with all of you a flower that I found recently on a walk. It was just sitting there on the sidewalk. It had fallen from a bush overhead. These flowers were growing wild, if you can believe it. I just thought it was so beautiful, I just had to pick it up and take it home. This is something I’ve been trying to do lately: focus on the little things that I think are beautiful and that make me happy. Hope you can all appreciate this flower as much as I do.

 

 

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Panic / Pain / Hurt

Over the last few days I’ve had panic hitting me like a freight train. It’s woken me up and kept me up all night. It’s prevented me from being able to do much of anything. Even at my job, I find myself starting to panic and unable to breathe. I don’t think my panic has ever been quite this bad. I know this panic relates to this situation I’ve been dealing with over the last several days, it’s just frustrating how very little control I have over it. No amount of self-soothing or grounding exercises seems to be able to calm my frazzled nervous system.

The amount of pain that I am experiencing, on both a physical and psychological level, is overwhelming. My whole body hurts. I wish I could just shut the pain off but I can’t. It’s like the ocean’s waves, no matter how broken and torn you might feel, they don’t stop for anything. They keep pounding away, rain or shine, day or night, pounding on the sandy banks. I can’t stop this onslaught of pain no matter what I do. No matter how much I try to distract myself, or no matter what amount of kindness or love I give to myself. The pain remains, ever punching, ever probing, ever laughing. Pain please, please take it easy on me. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

I realize I’m going through a mourning process. I never knew how painful losing someone could be. I’ve lost people before, but it has never been quite like this. My friend one day just turned on me. That’s how it felt. Unexpectedly and out of the blue. Maybe it wasn’t unexpected or out of the blue for her. Maybe she’d been thinking about this for a long time. Perhaps a resentment had been growing inside her, one that she tried pushing down, until eventually it came out in a very powerful way. I really don’t know. And perhaps I will never know. This person is out of my life for good. I know that. And that stark reality is so very painful.

I just wish I had been given a chance to make things right. If I wasn’t a good friend, if I took too much, as she says, if I expected too much from her, or more than she was able to give, I wish I could have known that and had a chance to work on it. I would have done anything to be a better friend. The fact that I demanded too much, that I put too much onto this person, well, it weighs very heavily on me.

A part of me understands that this is not about me, and as I said in my last post, that I shouldn’t be heaping unnecessary amounts of shame and blame on myself. But saying it and doing it are two different things. It’s hard not to think I could have done things differently, that I could have been a better friend. It’s just horribly sad that I wasn’t given that chance.

Since I have been trying, however hard, to focus on what I do have in my life that I appreciate, and on the little things that make me happy, I thought I would list the things in my life that I am grateful for at the moment:

– my partner
– my therapist
– my stuffed animals
– my television shows
– the child I care for
– pillows
– music
– my dog and cats
– my friend L
– beauty of nature
– the warmth and protection of blankets

I must cling to all of these things right now to help me push through this very difficult time. I just wish they could help sooth my very heavy and hurting heart. I guess the only thing that will help with that is time. Oh how I wish time would speed up already.

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A hurting heart

My heart is hurting. I had a conversation today with a friend about my mom. Specifically how she didn’t give me what I needed. How she would often ignore me, or inadvertently make me feel like I was bothering her. I asked this friend why my mom didn’t love me. She responded by saying, I think she did, just in her own way. And for some reason, this idea hurts the most. I never knew that the idea of someone loving you can hurt. But it does.

My heart is literally aching. I wish I could somehow be able to cry these feelings out but I can’t. They are bottled up inside, where they will remain.

It hurts that parents can love you and also cause you so much pain. It hurts that parents can love you, and not give you what you need. It hurts that parents can love you, and not protect you from harm. It hurts that parents can love you, yet never teach you to love yourself.

I need to stop writing. It’s hurting just too much.

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Whitney Houston and dissociated grief

Last night I had an interesting experience that I would like to share, and that subsequently got me thinking about dissociated emotions, and in this case specifically, grief.

I was “saddened” to hear about Whitney Houston’s death. I put saddened in quotation marks, because I’m not sure if I was really sad, or if I was thinking that I should be feeling sad when I really wasn’t. You see, when it comes to sadness and grief, I feel very little. Often I will watch a sad scene in a movie and think, “that is sad,” but feel nothing, while my partner is sitting next to me balling her eyes out.

It’s not that I don’t feel sadness, it’s just that the feeling of sadness is compartmentalized. Often, when it does come up, it comes up seemingly out of the blue and unexpectedly.

What happened last night was, my partner and I were getting ready to watch a movie. She turned the news on while I was finishing up doing what I needed to do. The news was covering further details of Whitney Houston’s death. As the coverage continued, I felt this pressure pushing up from inside my body. I didn’t know what it was or why it was happening. All I knew is that I needed to turn the tv off – NOW. However, I felt that was silly, and talked myself out of it, and the news coverage continued while the pressure inside me became intolerable. Finally I did take action, and said very abruptly, can we turn this off please??? My partner, a little taken aback, said, “I was just waiting for you to be ready.”

I sat down, and the next thing I knew, I was sobbing and repeating over and over again, “I love her so much. I love her so much. I’m so sad.”

Then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. All sadness, all grief, every last little feeling got swept up into the vacuum of my mind. It’s like turning off Niagara Falls at the press of a button. I grabbed the remote control, and said to my partner, “Okay then, let’s watch this movie.”

My partner, who had been acting very lovingly during my twenty-second sobbing outburst, said, “It’s okay, we don’t have to rush anything. There’s no rush.”

What she didn’t know was that I wasn’t rushing. I had been thrown into the sadness and grief, and I was flung out of it, into the same state I was right before it happened: ready to watch the movie. There were zero traces of sadness left in my consciousness. Not even a single thought to Whitney Houston. Just a desire to start watching this movie.

Had there been an observer there, invisibly watching the scene, they may very well have ascertained that I was intentionally trying to “shove down” those feelings that had come up. There was no shoving down. None of this was even voluntary.

And that’s what I’m trying to get across – for someone who has their emotions compartmentalized through dissociative mechanisms, their experience of emotions feels chaotic, unpredictable, and overwhelming. I don’t simply “feel” sadness, I am flung into sadness. I don’t simply “feel” anger, I am flung into anger. My emotions pounce on me like a tiger pounces on a sheep.

The truth is, it would make sense that I would have big feelings about Whitney’s death. She was my childhood idol. I looked up to her, I revered her, I worshiped her. Her album “Whitney” was the first cassette I ever owned. However, ever since hearing of her death, I’ve felt completely numb. Devoid of any feeling or emotion. I thought the obligatory “sad thoughts” but it wasn’t genuine. It wasn’t rooted in anything substantial. Those twenty seconds of intense grieving sobs were rooted in something substantial. Something deeper. But just like that, they were taken away from me. Where did they go?

I had a similar experience last summer, my birthday weekend actually, where I got in touch with feelings regarding the death of my grandmother. My grandma, who I was extremely close to when I was younger (closer than to my own mother, in fact), died when I was thirteen. However, any feelings of sadness in relation to her death are absent from my mind. Additionally, any feelings of love and connection to her are also missing from my mind. When I think of her I feel absolutely nothing. Which is a tragedy unto itself.

One afternoon last year, I became a broken teenager mourning my grandmothers death. I spent several hours on the phone with my therapist balling, sobbing, telling her, “I miss my grandma, I miss my grandma. Why did she have to die.” As though she had just died days ago. That’s how real and how raw those emotions were.

After having spent two days in bed, crying for my grandmother, I continued on with my life as though those two days had never happened. I was completely detached and disconnected from it. Those feelings, that younger-feeling part of me, that state, had come on like a wave, and it had left like a wave, leaving me in pretty much the same place as before it came.

In some ways, I wish I could be more in touch with my feelings. Sometimes my lack of connection with people and places of my past leads me to feel empty, hollow; like a shell; like a phony. Because I can tell people how much I love them, and I can tell people how much I miss them, but when I really think about it… do I? How do you know, if those feelings are perpetually just beyond your reach, somewhere in the periphery of your mind where your conscious self doesn’t have access.

Whitney, thank you for all you have given me. For your life, for your enthusiasm, for your charisma, for your music. You died too soon. Way too soon. I wish I could rewind the tape to last night and go back into that sadness and grief that I felt ever so briefly, because your death deserves to be recognized properly, and felt properly. And I wish it could be by me. But… for now I will hold you in my memory, and your songs will be circling in my head, I am sure, for many weeks, and months, and years to come. R.I.P. young soul.

 

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