getting over myself

Ok, so here’s the deal.  I’m really good in a crisis.  I mean, really good.  Inside and out I can coast through and come out smelling like a rose.  The problem comes when the crisis is over.  When all that great adrenaline finally stops pumping through my veins, I crash.  And crashing is what I’m starting to do now.

One week ago today a dear older friend of mine died.  I had seen her from the hospital and to hospice.  I was her Power of Attorney since she had no close family around, and also the person in charge of making medical decisions on her behalf.  It was daunting, but I rose to the challenge.  A week ago today she drew her last breath, and I’m still helping her extended family who live far away in the everyday managing of her things.

My husband has been a wreck.  He was truly close to this woman, and feels like he’s lost his mother all over again (she died three years ago this month).  Up till the last two days I’ve been fine, coasting along, trying to catch up on the house chores that were so neglected as I was traveling to the hospice every day to be with her.

But Sunday night I could not sleep.  I saw 4am before nodding off, only to wake three hours later to get the kids off to school.  I took no nap, and last night I tossed and turned.  I’m starting to retreat into myself a little, I’ve been feeling physically shaky, and my blood pressure which has been more or less under control, is spiking again even though I’m taking my blood pressure medication.

The delayed reaction to this death is upon me.  At least it only took a week.  I just wish I could have a good cry and get it over with, but my body just doesn’t operate that way.  Not that I never cry, and not that I think a good cry will truly “get it over with,” but it would help my body relax.  I absorb events and emotion in my body.  What my conscious mind doesn’t want to deal with, or for whatever reason can’t deal with, my body takes in physically.  This started WAY back in early childhood, and although I try to be better at it, it’s always my first reaction to “stuff” unpleasant emotion.  I think this is a big contributing factor to my depression AND my high blood pressure.

So here I sit, shaking, blood pressure up, feeling my pulse in my ears, adrenaline still pumping, feeling like I’m in “fight or flight.”  But the crisis is over.  I can relax now, but my body doesn’t want to.

I saw my psychiatrist today, who as usual pushed me.  So this is my homework:

1)  To start keeping my blood pressure log again (taking my bp a few times a day, marking it down, and also writing what’s going on inside me at the time) so I can report back to my regular doctor if my bp medication should be adjusted.

2)  I have nothing on my calendar for Thursday or Friday, so I’m to take one of those days and give myself a mini-vacation while the kids are in school – a “do nothing” day.

3)  To take my Ativan damn it.  I’m good at taking my Zoloft and bp medication daily, but the “as needed” anti-anxiety medication?  Not so much.  I have to get over thinking I have to be on the verge of a panic attack to take it.  Stupid, I know.  But the truth is I hate being on all these meds – however, the other truth is, that right now, I need them, and I just have to “get over myself.”

I share in case there’s anyone out there struggling with depression or medication, or stress or grief – any of these things.  We are not alone.  If we need help we need to move past our own ego, or conversely, our sense of unworthiness, and get the help we need.  I’m doing it.  I’m determined that this crash stays only a fender-bender.

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