I was in CVS the other day getting some random items when I passed by the pharmacy and a book title caught my eye. It was "Getting Past What You'll Never Get Over." For months, people have told me that this will stay with me in some way forever and I just was going to learn to live with it over time. Although, I've rejected that at times, I do believe that it will, but I've never wanted it to stay in a negative way (i.e. the extreme anxiety, the sadness, the anger). I've been determined that if it stayed, it would stay with me as a series of lessons; a lesson to live life to the fullest because it can change in an instant, a lesson that there is both evil and good in this world and I want to be and to be surrounded by the "good", a lesson that people are hurting from experiences such as this every day and I should do what I can for that cause.
So far, it's more negative than positive, which is difficult and frustrating. I keep telling myself it will change, although sometimes, I wonder if it will. I knew this book would be a good read from the moment I saw the title. When I opened it and read the first page, it was as if this book was written for me and all of the people i've met on this journey. Here's part of the first chapter, "The 'Get Over It' Fallacy".
"When are you going to get over it?"
How many times had I heard that question? I wanted to say, "soon," or "any day now, " or "I'm already over it." I really did. It might make things easier for everyone else, and maybe it would help me not feel like such a negative whiner.
There were times when I wondered what was wrong with me. After all, everyone else had bad stuff happen and they seemed to bounce right back like the inflatable punching bag I had as a kid.... It tipped back when punched, then seemed to magically right itself. Of course, I also discovered that if I punched too hard it came flying back and hit me in the face.
Perhaps no one wants to hear this, but i'm going to say it anyway: the truth is things happen to all of us that we will never get over."
I've said it before and i'll say it again. I've wanted to just "get over it" for 7 months now. I knew it wouldn't be that simple, but I wished it would and I even pretended for a while that it was. Then, thanks to friends, others who were there, and admitting the truth to myself, I realized that no matter how many difficult things I've been through and "gotten over" quickly, this is very different. Those other experiences were just regular life things; taking care of a sick relative, heartache, big life changes, etc. This is not regular. Boylston Street was literally like a war zone that day. I never thought i'd see a bomb go off in my life. I never thought I'd see such destruction, chaos, and pain, especially not in a place I've always felt safe and happy. No, this was not regular, this was completely different, life changing to the extreme. I don't think I truly accepted that until the last week.
I'm ready to give in, not give up, give in. I have been fighting what's happening inside of me. I've been pushing tears away and angry that it was all happening. As a friend pointed out this week, I have been pushing myself to do things that I'm not ready for and trying so hard to be back to "normal" that it's too much. She is right. She knows me very well and is always spot on. I work like crazy which is normal (and when i'm doing shoots, it is one of the only times I feel like me) but I have also been taking on extra challenges and commitments that have caused more stress. I decided to take two trips that were causing me a lot of anxiety to plan, let alone actually go on. I was even supposed to be away right now and was supposed to leave at 10:30 this morning. I canceled my trip and some of the tightness in my chest actually eased when I did. It came back, but it hasn't been every minute, just on and off (though more "on" than "off"). I've decided that besides work, I am going to take care of myself and regroup. The necessity to do this was confirmed this weekend.
I went to a friend's birthday party on Friday night. I felt like being out with friends would be a great distraction. It was, but I still did not feel good. It got to a point where the anxiety eased from my chest, but only to be replaced with both of my legs shaking uncontrollably under the table, until I finally got up and made my exit. Once in the car, it all hit me; the crying, the shaking, the lump in my throat. I don't even know what is triggering this sometimes, but I'm sure it could have been as small as one word someone said in our conversation. On Saturday, I had shoots all day and one was an hour and a half drive away followed by an hour to my uncle's house. I was very anxious and frustrated on the way there and on the way to my uncle's, it all hit. I cried for the last half hour of the drive and when I walked in the house, I couldn't stop and the shaking started. My aunt comforted me and asked what she could do. There's nothing anyone can do in those situations except be okay with it. I told her I just needed some time. I calmed and got ready to go to a concert with them, though I felt I could go to bed right then at 5:00. After a quick trip to see another family member's new dog (good therapy right there), we were off. I had some anxiety all night, especially with the loud crowd in the concert, but I also enjoyed myself. As always, the anxiety hit later back at the house and I woke a few times with it. As of Sunday morning, I made all of the decisions above; to cancel my trip, to give in, to take better care of myself. So, that is where I'm at. This whole experience is not where my story ends, it's just a part of it.