Sunday, July 17, 2011

How I Am Doing

(Note: this was written on Thursday evening before I went to see Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Parts 1&2. I wrote it because I was trying to make some sense of what I was thinking, feeling and doing in my life. And I put it up here because I need to try to be accountable, and also because I am getting really sick and tired of answering the question "How are you?" If you're interested: this is how I'm doing. If you're not, just wait a couple of days/weeks and something better will be up here. Probably about comics or vacations or both.)

"I don't get what I want. I get to pretend things are going to be fine because people tell me they are going to be."

It’s been two weeks since my wife left. And since then life has kind of ground to a halt for me. I’m still making it to (almost) all my appointments, generally keeping up with my responsibilities, and seeing my friends and family. But if I had the choice I would be doing as close to nothing as I possibly could. Most days I can barely hold myself together.

Physically: I’m falling apart. I have stopped exercising entirely, and I have been putting absolutely no effort into eating well. Which means that I’m eating stuff with lots of cheese melted on top, and my diet has become about 35% take-out or delivery. I’ve gained 5 pounds since she decided to leave (the end of May), and probably another 10 pounds since the beginning of July. My lower back, which was feeling okay in May and the beginning of June, is starting to ache again. I know I should be more active and conscious of what I eat, I just don’t have any motivation to do so. (Also, I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable and provide me with healthy dinners, which was a big part of my progress in the first place.) And no matter how much sleep I get, four or seven or ten hours, it never feels like enough.

Mentally: I can’t concentrate. I can barely focus my attention on a single episode of 30 Rock let alone a movie of 90 minutes or more. And considering I am spending almost all of my downtime (when I'm not packing) watching movies…I get tired pretty quickly. Let’s repeat that for emphasis. I get tired. Because I need to focus. On watching a movie. That is just horrible. I can’t read any complicated prose, although I did manage to get through 50 pages of a new book at breakfast time. Usually the most reading I do in a day is when I absent-mindedly check my Twitter feed. This is the guy who used to read about 5 books and 15 comics collections in a month.

Emotionally: I am numb. The most powerful emotions I feel are sadness and anger, and since I don’t really have any solid person to blame for anything I am just spewing them into the void. I try to keep those under control whenever I can, although sometimes I can’t. And those are the days that seeing a scrap of paper with her writing on it, or a bottle of her favourite drink in the fridge, or a piece of mail addressed to the both of us, will set me off on a crying binge. I wake up from dreams where we're still together and I can barely bring myself to get out of bed. Dozens of times a day I forget that no, she won’t be home when I get back, and I won’t be able to tell her the good/bad/indifferent news of my day, and then I feel like I lose her all over again.

And when I’m not actively trying to deaden my emotions, I am passively numbed by exhaustion. I barely get excited to see my friends and family. After spending an hour with people I generally want to crawl into a corner and die, but often I soldier on. I can think of exactly three times in the past fourteen days that I felt real happiness, and that was all in the same weekend.

In two hours I will be going to see a group of my friends to watch movies. Normally that would be something I would be very excited about. But I am going to be surrounded by people who love me, in various forms, and the best I can muster is “attendance.” In five days I will be going to San Diego for Comic Con, something I have wanted to attend since I first found out about it over ten years ago. I am objectively looking forward to it, but that is in danger of being smothered by a startling amount of dread. And I can’t live the rest of my life, even if it’s only half a life, underneath a curtain of fear.

So I will try. I will make a list of things that I need to do in order to live, only pick a couple of them so I don’t get overwhelmed, and take it from there. And most importantly I will try REALLY hard not to beat myself up if I don’t succeed. I have a feeling that this upcoming chapter of my life will be dominated by failure. That’s something I don’t deal with very well when I’m at my prime. Hopefully it’s a short chapter. Hopefully it is big on character development and low on whining. And hopefully in the next chapter I get a jetpack.


alexis said...

These are all very common reactions to grief. I went through a mother fucker of a break up about 5 years ago, when my partner left me and said some of the cruellest words possible to me in the process. I went into a depression that lasted several years and felt like I was living in a nightmare. I couldn't eat or sleep. I couldn't concentrate. I cried every day for four months straight. I lost weight and looked grey and was an absolute mess and horrificially depressed. I COULD NOT READ. I struggled to read anything, and couldn't read fiction at all because I couldn't focus. I felt like I was dying, like I was looking through a telescope the wrong way. The only thing that got it through me were my family and friends, and the belief that I wouldn't feel like this foreverSo I can relate 100%. And you won't feel like that either. You are doing everything right. You are slowly and surely taking care of yourself and what needs to be done. You are slowly moving ahead, trying to eat and sleep and letting your family and friends help. You are moving into a new apartment and trying to do what you can. The only thing that will help is time. You're already doing all the right things. Although, if you have good benefits, a grief therapist or counsellor can also help. I would also recommend body treatments like massage, that can help with the tension, etc. You need to treat yourself as if you have an "emotional flu". You are currently ill and suffering and need to treat yourself with care so you get better.

Anonymous said...

You will get through this, it takes time. Use music to help you heal. In the end, you will become a stronger person because of this. There is no right or wrong about your situation or either person's actions regardless of what people tell you or are thinking. Take it one day at a time, hourly if you need to.

Ro-Bot said...

I feel like I want to share something based on similar experience (my fiancee leaving me) but I don't want to sound like a know-it-all. So I will say this:

Muthafuggin' jetpacks!


Dave said...

Can't really say I've been through what you're going through right now, but my heart's been kicked around a time or two.
Keep your chin up, man. Sometimes when things look the worst, life has a funny way of turning things around for you.

Mike The Bold said...

Mighty poetical of you, sir. I have known grief, sorrow, loss, and several shades of madness, but damned if I know how to make anything one iota better for you. Keep talking. Keep blogging. Know that your friends hold you in high esteem. I certainly do. I hold the opinion that you can eventually recover from anything except suicide and that horrible 'V' remake.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy you know we love you. I've been there as well, and still struggle with the feelings of loss and hopelessness that came with my breakup.

Know that there is no failure in the healing process. Disappointment is honest and understandable. But you're never a failure, you're a work in progress.

Anonymous said...

You have come so far in five years, Doc. You've worked hard to get there, and I hope you ca see the incredible progress you've made.