i’m in love with my sadness

PTSD is the worst. In fact, it is a shitshow. Like Yakov Smirnoff opening for Spin Doctors at the Iowa State Fair kind of shit show. And I know this because I’ve been living with it for almost 5 months now.

Deadpool GIF to go with the Deadpool quote

Five months ago my life was turned upside down (I think that part is pretty clear at this point) and there are still so many times where I find myself questioning if what I am living right now is actually real. I’m a widow who is 4 months away from turning 30 who isn’t working (thanks Corona -__-) and lives in her parents’ basement. Add to that to the fact that the entire world is a hot mess right now (at least I’m not the only one, amirite?) and I haven’t really left said parents’ basement aside from a quick sojourn to Sweet Home Alabama to meet my new nephew. I’ve basically been alone with my thoughts, memories, and quarantine snacks for the last 5+ weeks. And let me tell ya, the memories on repeat aren’t the good ones. So yeah, sounds like fun right?

I have always been the person who uses isolation as a coping mechanism (pretty sure I’ve touched on this a handful of times). I have used this time to justify not going to my weekly therapy sessions, which is probably the biggest mistake I have made so far. I do not recommend this strategy. I have made things worse for myself and I knew it would happen. But fret not, dear friends. I reached out to my therapist today so please don’t get on my case about it. I used to dread my weekly therapy sessions because I would have to acknowledge that witnessing my husband die is arguably one of the worst things that someone could experience and, more importantly, talking it through was really the only thing that would help me cope with the trauma of that night. So I threw caution and logic to the wind and said “to hell with it, everything is shut down and I don’t need to go”. It didn’t take long for me to see how this was a huge mistake. Massive mistake. I couldn’t sleep (still working on that part, btw) and the times I did sleep I would wake myself up crying or yelling or a combination of the two. I would have dreams where I was being charged with Taylor’s death because I didn’t revive him while doing CPR. Even just getting in bed and closing my eyes can trigger the flashbacks to attempting CPR and screaming/pleading with 911 to get there faster. It has been awful. Truly f’ing terrible, to be honest.

It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I was messaging with an old friend and realized the only thing that really helps is talking about it. Talking about all of the horrible things that happened that night and all of the emotions. Talking about the really hard stuff, the details of it all. Basically all of the things that most people don’t feel comfortable talking about. And I get that, it isn’t exactly what people want to hear. To be honest I don’t want to hear it either, my brain just doesn’t seem to cut me any slack. So today, after attempting to go through more of our stuff from storage (that process could be it’s own post entirely) and getting overwhelmed to the point of tears, I knew I had to get back into therapy. I need to have that outlet. It will only make things better. The last time I met with my therapist she was working on connecting me with someone who specializes in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy. Pretty exciting stuff, right? Stay tuned for that roller coaster ride.

me in therapy

So anyway, that’s my update. It isn’t exactly a great one, seeing as I am basically admitting that I have dropped the ball in a major way, but I have to find a way to hold myself accountable. Even if it means admitting my failure(s) to the entire world (or the 17 of you who actually read my posts). Please don’t be a cotton-headed ninny muggins like me and let your mental health take a back seat right now. Make it a priority. The world is a crazy place right now so don’t let it distract you from what is most important (i.e. YOU). 🙂

-A

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my perfect niece (Charlotte) & nephew (Will). also, guess who gets to finish her sleeve now?! THIS GAL

 

today’s blog title inspiration

**yes I know this is a cover but I really love it and mean no disrespect to The Smashing Pumpkins. It’s a great cover, you should check them out. ;)**

i walk the line

There’s a fine line between social distancing and social isolation. I am really struggling with not plunging myself into the social isolation side of that line. For as long as I can remember my biggest coping mechanism has been isolating myself. Healthy? No. Helpful? Also no. But it’s my go-to.

In 4 days I will be celebrating my four year wedding anniversary. Unfortunately I won’t be celebrating it with my husband. I have been dreading this day since the reality of his death and my situation became clearer in the days after he passed away. I knew that if I isolated myself on April 1st I would risk getting myself into a depression that would seem impossible to get out of. So I made a plan with friends to celebrate and go to all of mine and T’s favorite spots, eat great food, drink (likely one too many) great drinks, and end the night at the Clermont Lounge.

Then COVID-19 came along and completely decimated the plan and has now created the very likely scenario that I will, in fact, spend most of the day solo. I am dreading it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be That Guy who ignores the advice (or orders depending on where you are) to stay home. If the best way to move past this craziness is to stay home then I’ll do it. But I’m pissed.

Luckily I have the best family, friends, and blog readers to help me through it. Honestly this whole situation is following the theme of my life for the past year and a half (or so), which is you never know how quickly things will change. I’m prepared to spend my anniversary solo, or with 9 or less friends while we stay 6 feet away from each other. I have plenty of pickled jalapenos to eat out of the jar and enough Bud Light Lime to last me a few days (just kidding, kind of). I have animals to snuggle with and a blog I should really write more content for (accepting any and all suggestions btw). I’ve already made it 121 days so why stop now?

TK
Miss ya, T

-A

Today’s title inspiration (obviously). Although, not gonna lie, “it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever” was a close second. If you haven’t seen This Is Spinal Tap then drop everything you are doing (probably not much given the current global situation) and watch it. It is one of my all time favorites.

Two word review: Shit Sandwich

Spotify users! I just updated the playlist before posting this! Be sure to follow my obsessive-compulsive diaries playlist for some of my favorite groovy tunes. It is a delightfully random mix of new songs and old songs from a bunch of different genres. It’s a great playlist if you need a good dance party or if you need a cry. Or a crying quarantine dance party.

pick apart the pieces you left

today’s inspiration

I have three notes on my phone that are ongoing blog posts that I am slowly but surely working on. None of them seem relevant. None of them really explain how I feel, although now that I think about it I’m not sure anything would really explain how I feel. I don’t even know if I can explain how I feel.

I go to therapy every Tuesday, which means Tuesdays are almost always my worst days. There’s a good chance I may have mentioned this before but my favorite coping mechanism is to just constantly ignore feelings and pretend I am 100% doing great when I’m really not. Tuesdays are now the days that I know I am going to have to face things. This week was when I finally admitted that I am angry (which is tied with Guilt for the top spot on my list of Least Favorite Stages of Grief).

I am angry. This is the angriest I’ve ever been. I feel like the grumpy old person who doesn’t want to see anyone having fun, the only difference is I don’t want to see myself having fun. Anger is my newest enemy and it loves to partner up with its BFF Guilt to come and ruin anything in my life that has a chance to offer me a temporary break from grief. And I need a damn break. Anyone who has ever experienced grief knows what I mean.

The worst part about this anger is that I am angry at the person who isn’t here. I am mad at Taylor. I am mad that I am left trying to figure out my new normal. I’m mad that I am left here to figure out finances and money and how I am supposed to navigate life without my partner. I’m so, so angry that I can’t sleep or start my day or drive down the road without having flashbacks of the night I found him. This is the absolute worst. I didn’t ask for this. No one would ask for this. But here I am, somehow making it through this nightmare I am dealing with now. The only thing that really helps are the times I find myself hanging out with people and temporarily forgetting about the bullshit I inevitably will go back to (and I truly cherish those moments, btw, if you are reading this and have spent any time with me where I can actually just be Happy Alaina). What makes me the most angry is that I am stuck here picking up the pieces of our life and he isn’t. And he is the only person I know who would know what to do, or at least know how to make me feel better, and he isn’t here. I am mad that I am left here to worry about it all and he isn’t. The worst part of acknowledging this anger? It is quickly followed by guilt. Because I am the one still here and it doesn’t seem fair to be angry at someone who isn’t.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I will say it again, but I’ll be okay. I just need to be angry.

-AK

all that i know is no way to fix it

Inspiration

You know the episode of The Office where Michael announces Mr. and Mrs. Bob Vance before they are actually married and then, upon realizing his mistake, he goes “uhhhhggshhhhhhhhhh” and awkwardly backs up to join the groomsmen standing at the altar? That’s me in every single aspect of my life right now. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


I’ve been living in a constant state of uhhhhggshhhhhhhhhh (0/10 recommend, btw). But this is my only option, unfortunately. The other day I shared this article on Facebook that resonated with me, and hopefully other people who have experienced loss recently/at any point will find it helpful too.

Unless anyone passing by looked deeply into my bloodshot eyes or noticed the occasional break in my voice and thought enough to ask, it’s not like they’d have known what’s happening inside me or around me. They wouldn’t have had any idea of the gaping sinkhole that had just opened up and swallowed the normal life of the guy next to them in the produce section.

Losing T on Thanksgiving Day and then going through the holidays has given me a constant support group that reaches out to make sure I’m still hanging on (I am hanging on, btw) but the times where I feel most alone and isolated and lost are when I am grocery shopping or running errands. It is almost always when I am surrounded by people. The week before Christmas I went to Target and became so overwhelmed that I started crying in the middle of an aisle with a completely empty cart. There were so many people and they were all in a hurry and I felt like I couldn’t keep up. None of the people shopping at Target that day knew that my husband died. There wasn’t a way for them to know how hard I was trying to keep it together or that I didn’t want to get out of bed that morning. Even now, 33 days after Taylor died, I still struggle. I almost lost it at the grocery store yesterday because it felt like my brain couldn’t keep up. Everything was so overwhelming.

And while I didn’t want to physically wear my actual circumstances on my chest, it probably would have caused people around me to give me space or speak softer or move more carefully—and it might have made the impossible, almost bearable.

So strangers don’t know what I’m going through. And that is okay. They don’t need to. The best thing I can do is acknowledge that I am most likely not alone when I feel like crying over an empty shopping cart at the store. Just being aware that I’m not the only one struggling will make it easier for me on the days where things seem impossible and hopefully provide some comfort to the stranger who finds themselves in the same position.

It’s not all bad news, though. I’ve started settling in to what is my new life (at least I think I have?? Who knows. It isn’t exactly like I really had it all together when T was here if we are being honest). I’ve been spending time with friends, I started cooking again, I got a new tattoo (always a great pick me up, if you ask me), and next week I am going to start my slow, but much needed, return to work. I am allowing myself to have fun without quite as much of the guilt I would experience just a few short weeks ago. I know I still have many days of uhhhhggshhhhhhhhhh ahead of me but the fact that I can make through a day without crying seems to be a decent start.

-AK


Spotify users! I finally updated the playlist! Be sure to follow my obsessive-compulsive diaries playlist for some of my favorite groovy tunes. It is a delightfully random mix of new songs and old songs from a bunch of different genres. It’s a great playlist if you need a good dance party or if you need a cry. Or a crying dance party.

guilty

I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate. I’m miserable and that’s really the only way to describe it. There have been a handful of short breaks in that misery but, for the most part, I just feel stuck and there really isn’t much I can do to get unstuck besides reminding myself that it will slowly but surely start getting better. But the worst part is the constant guilt I feel. It never ends. No matter the situation I am, I feel guilty. I have guilt because I’m still here. I have guilt for not being able to help T before the paramedics got to the house. Then I have even more guilt because I’m still here and he isn’t. I have guilt when I get angry or frustrated with anyone, especially one of the many people who are just trying to help me. I have guilt for all of the times I was frustrated with Taylor for the smallest, most inconsequential things like waking me up when I still had time to sleep or making dinner plans and not telling me until the day of. I would do anything to go back and soak up every second of that time I had left. But the worst guilt happens when I drag myself out of bed in the morning and start my day or the moments I find myself smiling or laughing. Why am I the one who is still here but he isn’t? How can I enjoy anything without him here? I have guilt for being frustrated that he isn’t here to help me through this. I have guilt for not doing more to support our family and friends who are also grieving. I have guilt because I STILL can’t remember if the i or the e comes first in the word grief even though I know the stupid rhyme about it. Guilt even shows up during the off chance that I actually get some sleep. Even my dreams involve the many different versions of guilt I feel.

My last piece of guilt – there isn’t any inspiration or message behind this post. There’s no way to ease the guilt or lessen the severity of it. Right now this is just reality.

no need to cry, i already am

This blog has helped me a lot over the past year and I sure hope that continues because I need it. I need all of the help I can get. On November 28th my husband died. He died. And seeing/speaking/typing those words is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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4/1/2016 (our wedding day)

I’ve lost close family members in my life but the physical and mental pain I am in now is absolutely nothing compared to how I felt during any previous loss. I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know anything anymore. My best friend is gone. The one person who I knew would do anything and everything to keep me from feeling how I feel now is gone.

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Snapchat filter FTW

I’m now part of a group that is almost exclusively reserved for those who are decades older than me. I am a widow. At 29 years old. I hate the word widow. It wasn’t until today that I even said it it out loud.

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Monday was my first day of therapy since losing T. I’m seeing a new therapist, which I feel is for the best because OCD is the least of my worries right now. Am I still struggling with my OCD? Absolutely. In fact, I’d say it’s gotten worse since That Day. But I don’t care. I honestly could not care less. I’m sure this is probably the complete opposite of the advice that should be given but, at this point, if picking or checking or any of the obnoxious/annoying habits my OCD has so graciously given me helps me cope with the loss of my husband then why would I try to stop them? I’m not using the teensy, tiny amount of motivation that keeps me going everyday to stop doing the things that I don’t even realize I’m doing because they are some of the only things that comfort me right now.

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2015

The only piece of good news in this post? I still have that teensy, tiny bit of motivation. Everything I’ve done since the day Taylor died has seemed impossible. I preformed CPR while pleading with a 911 dispatcher to send someone to save my husband. I rode in the ambulance while they were trying to revive him. I cried in the ER after the doctor told me “it was not looking good”. I’ve cried for hours and hours and hours until I fell asleep. I worked with a funeral home to plan a ceremony and cremation. I’ve spent days just existing because losing Taylor still doesn’t feel real. I wouldn’t wish the last two weeks on anyone. It’s been truly awful. But there is still that small bit of motivation that keeps me going.

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Babies in 2012

Live like Taylor. Give 110% to anything and everything you are passionate about. See the best in everyone and be a friend to everyone.

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November 2019
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2018
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2016
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One of my favorite pictures we’ve ever taken, inspired by iconic ATLiens (2019)
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Comparison for reference 

-A

Given the overall depressing nature of this post, I felt it was important to share this information again. If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here to start an online chat for free and confidential support. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line via SMS message at 741-741 for free crisis intervention. *please note that the numbers listed above are available resources to those in the United States*

hello it’s me

today’s blog title inspiration

When I tell you that I have started the process of writing this blog post for months that is no exaggeration. I started one back in May by writing it down on paper but then I lost said paper and used that as an excuse to just give up. I didn’t want to give up on the blog, necessarily, but kept putting this intense pressure on myself to come up with a blog post that is helpful and not just me rambling to come up with content. I have had intense writer’s block for the better part of 2019. Actually, I’d describe it more like writer’s anxiety. I started this blog over a year ago (time flies when you’re constantly picking your fingers!) when I was officially diagnosed with OCD in August 2018 to raise awareness/laugh at my struggles but I had no idea that a few months later I would be struggling with such a deep depression that I would cry before I got out of bed every morning. I am not lying when I say my life has taken a complete 180 since August 2018. I was open about my struggles when I started treatment late last year. Once I left the program I decided to take a leap of faith and hit the reset button on life. I left my job and started working part-time, which turned into a full-time gig (which I could create an entirely new blog post on because I’ve never experienced things randomly work out so perfectly). I spent so much time thinking of all the things that could go wrong if I followed through with leaving my job that I didn’t consider the positives. My goal here isn’t to encourage people to make major life changes based on my experience. However, if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I don’t know where I would be today. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just don’t know if I would be in the positive, supportive place that I’m in now. I spent so much of my life (basically all of it seeing as how I’ve been checking for as long as I can remember) thinking that Anxious was a normal state of mind that it gives me anxiety to not have any anxiety (so much free time?? What do I do??). Sometimes it is worth taking the risk, no matter how scary and terrifying. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Don’t worry, friends. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder never leaves. It’s an unwelcome guest that has overstayed its welcome but can’t take a hint. Do I still check the door before I leave? Yes. Do I still make sure all electronics are unplugged before I walk out the door? Heck yeah. Do I still pick my fingers endlessly? ABSOLUTELY I DO. I am torn because I would rather my life not be a giant ball of anxiety but without the anxiety how would I have content for this blog..? 

-AK

PS: Back in May, when I took pen to paper to physically write a post (that I never typed or published), I wrote something that simultaneously stuck with me and made me laugh at my lame humor: “Basically I am a Mean Girl to myself. I am both Cady and Regina (and also Karen).”

 

 

It has been 364 days since this post, which is mind blowing to me. If you’re reading this, please know that I am so incredibly grateful for your support.