Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Treadmill of Dread

Today when I woke up, for a split second, I had no conscious awareness of the events of the last month, it was like before I knew that Ed existed, and then, like a blow between the eyes, it all came crashing in on me again. I have spent most of today either crying or on the verge of crying. It feels like I am mourning the loss of my life before Ed. While I would hate to relive the last month over again, I wish I could go back to a time before I new about Ed. Losing your innocence is a tough thing, especially when you are out of practice because you have had a such a good life that you haven't had to face that particular challenge in a long while.

After only a week of having Emily home I am feeling mentally and emotionally fatigued from trying to be 'up' all the time regardless of her mood, which ironically is quite good day in spite of mine. I am going to chalk it up to this jeeshus head cold that has been making me miserable and hope that very soon I can be more comfortable with our new life and less stressed by the constant fear that I am doing things wrong.

I have never liked being around sick people because I feel their pain as though it is my own, they call it mirroring and apparently some people are born with more mirroring neurons that others. I'm pretty sure that I got too many for my own good. For me, if you stub your toe, I can not only actually feel the pain in my toe and but I can also imagine how you are feeling in response to the pain. So I have to work really hard to suppress those thoughts and detach myself from other people's experiences. With Emily it is magnified because of our close bond, so being with her 24/7 is draining for me. In addition to working hard not to let her pain and anxiety overwhelm me, I am constantly worried that I have prepared food she won't eat and constantly obsessing over finding the right foods for her 'magic plate'. 'Magic Plate' is what they call the process of presenting a patient with food to eat, without giving them any way to dwell on it before, during or after.

I am on a tread mill of constant dread. Dreading preparing food she won't like, dreading calling her to come to eat because I know she hates coming to eat. Dreading that she won't finish. Dreading that we won't be able to successfully distract her. Dreading that her emotional pain will overwhelm her at any moment. Dreading seeing that look in her eye that she gets when she is so exhausted from being anxious, that look that just beseeches me to make it all go away. Dreading not being able to give her relief from her pain.

I have to learn how to let the dread go. Not suppress it, as has been my lifetime habit of handling unpleasant feelings, but actually let it go. I'm not sure how to learn this skill but I am sure that once learned, it will come in handy, it will be one of those transferable skills that I am always preaching about to my students.

On the positive side of the balance sheet there is Derek. Ever cheerful in the morning regardless of how much sleep he gets, ever optimistic, ever ready to do whatever he can to make things better for either me or Emily. He has been an emotional rock for us through this. And he does laundry too. My respect and admiration for him has grown to new heights over the past month. Thank you to Robyn and Jeff for teaching him how to be such a wonderful husband and father.

Gotta run, there's supper to cook!

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