There’s something so rhythmic and therapeutic about knitting. When you hit a groove and it’s just stitch after stitch, creating something. When you see the project grow and take shape. It’s an incredible feeling.
My grandma taught me how to knit when I was 9,10,11……somewhere in there. I remember watching her knit and thinking it seemed so complicated and then she taught me how to knit and helped me knit my very own Condo Sweater. It looked similar to this….and was the perfect pink/peach shade.
I was SO proud to knit my own sweater, especially because it was a popular style back then.
I knit off and on over the years but really started to pick it back up about 10 years ago.
It’s definitely a therapeutic experience for me, now.
So today, I’m so thankful that my grandma taught me to knit so many years ago and I’m thankful that I have ways to de-stress and relax.
I had a counseling appointment this morning. While driving there, I tried to “check in” with myself…..to see how I was doing. How I’d been feeling since my last appointment? Less Anxiety, More Anxiety…Whatever…and as I attempted to “connect”…I found myself shutting down.
Whatever I was trying to connect with or process seemed too great a task and it was as if a huge cement lid was slamming down on top of whatever I was trying to connect into…..I guess, myself…
There was a song on the radio that I liked and so rather than fight against myself…I sang along with the song until it was finished and then I tried again……
I knew I had thoughts and feelings and yet…as I reached inside myself…once again…I shut down.
By this point, I was mildly frustrated and so I tried again…and there was nothing. Brief lines from popular songs flashed through my mind, filling it with meaningless drivel;but I couldn’’ seem to grasp a hold of one concrete, valid thought.
I became aware that this is something I do…..often.
I have so much to think through and so much to deal with and it’s been SO LONG that I’ve been living in a state of heightened stress…at some point I shut down in an effort to not “break” and now it feels like this coping mechanism has crippled me.
It’s possible that my life experiences may also have “broken me”, were I to have fully embraced them all as they came……but I didn’t…
I walked into the counselors office and sat down; and chatted about trivial things not pertaining to the matter at hand and then I brought it up.
“I shut down. Often. And I don’t like it.”
It’s kind of like the whole “building walls” analogy…..You get hurt by people, so you start to build walls to protect yourself; and eventually you end up alone inside your great castle, and that loneliness hurts even worse than the possibility of hurt from letting people in…..
I shut down emotionally because my experiences were too great a pain to bear.
I’ve experienced too many intensely hurtful things.
Shutting down has become instinctive and not a choice.
Now, anytime I attempt to work through something that feels the slightest bit “intense”, even if it would be a positive thing…..I shut down and cannot think straight enough to make sense out of any of it.
It feels shameful because it’s something I “should” be able to do.
I laughed when I said that, because I know it’s a fault of mine…..this belief that I should be able to do anything and everything……that I should be in control at all times….that I should be capable to handle anything and everything that comes my way, with no signs of weakness…..How’s that for holding myself to impossible standards?
I feel angry because I don’t like feeling powerless and out of control.
It takes me back to the days that Nathaniel died and was born.
How do you process something like that? How do you carry a baby for 25 weeks; and plan and dream about and love the being that you are growing inside your very soul….how do you cope with having that piece of yourself taken from you? How do you walk away from your heart? How do you deny everything that your gut is saying to you to leave him when you know they will put his body into a cold freezer and yet you must just walk away and leave him there…..where no one loves him….where no once will or can care for him…..
You don’t….you shut down because those thoughts will destroy you…….
My baby died. I can’t even fathom it, and yet I lived through it….I think those are the wrong words, though. I carried on. I kept on going. I shut down and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. A little boy who was the perfect size for his age. A little boy that they could not find anything wrong with. There was no reason that we know of….he was not sick or broken. Just dead.
Even writing this I seem to flash in and out of these feelings of grief. Shut it down….feel……it’s too much….It’s TOO MUCH…..so many tears….so much sorrow held for so many years….He would have been 11 years old this year.
I held him for such a brief moment. I didn’t know what to do and neither, it seemed, did the hospital. I have so many regrets and so much anger inside.
Why didn’t they ask if our families would like to see him?
Why didn’t we call our families in? It would have been so much more real, then….
Why didn’t I hold him to my chest and sob as if my heart was broken into the million tiny shards that it was?
Why was I so scared that holding him was the wrong thing to do, just because he was dead?
Why didn’t the hospital walk us through more….better….with details….or information……or something?
I can’t have these “why’s” answered…..
I’ve existed, laying these “why’s” down because I knew there were no answers to my questions…..but what I have not realized was that in being “logical” I was dismissing or down playing the validity of my emotions…I was shutting down…..
It’s ok for me to be upset that my baby died.
It’s ok for me to be upset that my baby died without a reason.
It’s ok for me to be angry that we were not “helped” along more by the hospital.
It’s ok for me to feel sad that I didn’t hold Nathaniel and cuddle him as much as I would have liked to.
It’s ok that I feel shameful for not knowing what to do……How could I have known?
It’s ok that I feel so many “regrets” because I can never go back to that moment…..
I walked away from the hospital feeling more alone and broken than I had ever felt before in my life. I remember standing in the elevator wishing that I were dead. Wondering if I was, because it wasn’t possible to simultaneously hurt this bad and yet feel nothing.
I felt dead. But I knew because of how badly it hurt to even breathe, that I was so very alive and that I had kids to take care of and that life had to go on.
We came home to an empty, still house…..mirrored by my own emptiness. We walked upstairs to the main floor and I remember hugging Jon, and crying. I felt so helpless…..so out of control……and so desperate for another baby……a living baby.
When I think back to that time…..there are a few things that I remember “doing”…..I don’t remember “feeling” anything other than desperation for a baby to love, to hold, to fill the empty places inside of me……
Siah was born 3.5, very long, very loss-filled, very traumatizing, years later.
I don’t know how you make it through an experience like that without shutting down. Obviously….because I didn’t……..
Now how do I move forward….that is my question…….
I don’t want “shutting down” to be the first thing that I do when faced with…..life….
Because I want to “really live” with authenticity and transparency and passion; and not just exist……
This is a post from this day last year. Just reading the post I can feel all the emotions from a year ago. It’s hard to believe that it was only a year ago. It seems like AGES AND AGES ago…..we’ve come so far……
Exhaustion and Low Counts
Posted on June 8, 2011 by Patti
I’ve started exercising again and while I know in my head, that in just a very short time, I will have more energy….at this exact moment I’m SO tired!
My legs hurt. My stomach hurts. My shoulders hurt. Stupid muscles in my neck that i didn’t even know that I had hurt! I hurt!
I know that the end result will be a definite gain in my life, but for the immediate…I’m tired!
Other than that, I’m doing well…..so enough about me.
Angelica has done 2 out of the 4 doses of chemo for this week. She went in yesterday and based on how well she seemed on Monday with her friends, we were expecting a short in and out. She had an LP and after that she needs to lay down for about a hour, but they could give her the chemo and so while her appointment was for 8:30am, I expected them home before noon.
The whole morning just kind of went screwy. The traffic was BRUTAL and it took them over an hour and a half to get in. Then is took a bit for her to get in for the LP. While she was sleeping off the sedative, Jon got the results of the blood work and her Hemoglobin was at a 72. This was a fair drop from the 95 that it was on Friday. Typically around a 70, Geli has higher blood pressure, a faster heart rate, feels like she just cannot catch her breath, has a hard time moving around and definitely has trouble going up or down stairs. Aside from her heart rate being slightly elevated, she was doing fine, but….seeing as her counts are just heading down, down, DOWN…. They ordered a transfusion and there began one of the LONG clinic days. The blood didn’t even get to the clinic until after 1pm and they didn’t get her hooked up until 1:30pm. It takes about 3 hours for the blood to run and so they didn’t even leave the clinic until 5:30pm and then there was the hours drive home.
If we are prepared for a long day it’s less stressful than when we are kind of blindsided with it.
All of her counts are headed south. There is a good chance that she will have low to NO infection fighting ability for most of the next 3 weeks. This is a bit scarey and I’m asking for prayer to really cover Geli and us during this time.
Obviously, we can handle anything that we have to…including a long hospital stay, but we don’t want to have to.
We’d just like for Angelica to stay healthy and strong.
There is a good chance that she’ll need another transfusion either Friday or Tuesday and she’ll most definitely need platelets before she gets the intramuscular shots on Tuesday. It looks like we’re in for a few long clinic days over the next little while.
We’re looking at the finish end and just needing the strength to stay strong until this “intensive” phase of treatment is over.
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