I’m coming up on year 5. It is hard to believe Logan would be 5 this coming February. It is hard to believe I have survived the last 5 years. It is hard to believe all the changes my life has endured the last 5 years.
November through Marchish-April are the hardest months of my life, every year, for the last 5 years. I find it quite funny that my body responds before my mind can even connect the dots. The overpowering anxiety that takes over. The chest pain, rapid breaths, nausea, extreme fear. The inability to focus. The out of control feeling. Being trapped and I have no clue why. My normal modes of avoidance do not penetrate the magnitude of these 6 months. Wow, 6 months, I just realized that means for half the year I’m a psychopath.
One would think after 5 years of systematic anxiety, I would catch on faster. But apparently I’m emotionally unaware. I have been told by multiple people over the last few years, including a therapist, that your body has memory. And when your mind doesn’t pick it up right away your body goes through that trauma again. When Logan died, I didn’t sleep normal for a couple years, hell I still don’t. My therapist told me my body prepared for 9 months to bring a baby home, and it didn’t get the memo of loss. So it naturally behaved in a manner that suited a newborn being home. The constant fear that I am forgetting someone, all. The. Time. Is rooted in Logan being gone. I am missing something. I am forgetting something. There is a routine that should naturally be occurring, but because life is unfair, it’s not. After 5 years, I’m willing to accept that I will always feel like I’m missing or forgetting something. That my ducks are not in a row. That my life is somehow in a spinning wheel of chaos, forever chasing that one thing that will set it right and make it all stable again.
I joke periodically that my brain is Swiss cheese and blame it on getting older. But I’m legit 34, and there is no way I’m accepting that as old. With each passing year I like to think that I am somehow gaining some knowledge, perhaps even acceptance, not sure I’d go as far as understanding. But I think this is the new me. The “post-Logan” era. The “hi, I’m a hot fucking mess, please don’t expect me to be rational with all things, to be socially awkward, to drown internally, etc etc.” But know that I’m trying.
I recently read a quote that went “you aren’t lazy, you are exhausted from the years of surviving” or something close to that. And I was instantly like “BOOM!” Magic stick! Holy fuck does that touch a nerve. More like it bangs a deafening truth, like the awful sound that comes out of Godsmack (no offense). I literally feel lazy all the freaking time. Which is unfathomable to me because I’m also tired all the damn time. But this sentence, it is a perfection summation of my life the last 4 years. I’m tempted to call it my “new life” because it really is a different life and I’m a different person. I’m not lazy, and if you know me well, or even barely, it is easy to see that I bust my ass. For work, for family, for friends, for a stranger. I constantly try to pour positivity and kindness into others because I know first hand that you DON’T know what someone is going through. I have perfected putting on a “brave” face while literally feeling like I’m suffocating on the inside. I have been on the verge of tears while desperately hanging from that life rope.
I’m not lazy. I am a loyal friend to a fault. I help whoever and whenever I can. I try everything I know and research everything I don’t know on being a good parent to a child on the spectrum, who has lost a brother, who has some behavioral issues, who is behind emotionally.
I’m not lazy. I’m exhausted. I don’t even think Webster’s has a correct term for the amount of exhausted I am. I’m 98% sure I will die of a heart attack. I don’t like to speak of my experience in terms of “trauma”. Something just doesn’t feel right. I didn’t watch a friend die on the battle field. I didn’t have to do checks after a raid. I wasn’t abused. But as the years have grown, I’m starting to accept the word “trauma” into my fold. I have tried, settled, died, tried some more, settled, died, and repeat. I don’t think I have ever achieved “thriving” or “peace”. I have always looked at myself from the sidelines as surviving. I’m not brave, I’m just simply trying to survive the life I have left.
And I hate it. Being so unsure of who I am day to day. I have achieved and accomplished so much in the last couple of years, yet I can find pure joy in it.
So the next time I don’t respond to your text, or your phone call, or you catch me sitting alone or even in a crowd, just staring or being quietly subdued, please remember, I’m not being lazy or rude, I’m literally just tired. And, I am trying.