Wow. To write it all down is crazy. 2013 has been quite the year. Extreme ups and downs and everything in between. I think about it and if I was a different person or even the person I was 10 years ago, I could be breaking right now. I could be isolating myself, overwhelmed by it all. But, I'm not and I haven't been since the day those bombs went off. The truth is, I woke up sad that day. That sadness was only multiplied by my visit to MGH to visit Jen (my cousin) after visiting with her boys that morning. Yet, I still went out to enjoy the day knowing that wallowing it in was no way to be. And then, the bombs happened. And I got up out of bed every morning and left my house.
I didn't always have a place to go, but I would leave and just walk or sit in a park around town. I refused to stay at home. Part of it was fear. I hated being alone in my house. But, part of it was knowing I couldn't let it consume me and that if I was out from morning until night, I would be facing it. I still have moments, as described in past posts, that I just need to go sit near the water or go for a walk.
I used to have no trouble being alone. I could go for a walk, shop, do work in a coffee shop or library, or travel the world alone and be totally content. Now, many times, I have trouble being alone at all. It's when I think about everything. It's when the emotion and anxiety tend to hit. It happens most often in the car if I have anything longer than a 15 minute drive.
I had a photo shoot Saturday for one of my oldest friends. I was so excited to meet the twins. My other friend was going to maybe come meet us and then she called last minute to see if I wanted to pick her up so we could carpool and catch up on the way (a 45ish min drive). It was a relief since even for the 20 minute drive it took to get her, I had a seemingly random outpouring of emotion and anxiety hit me. It started at the beginning of a song I heard, but I could not figure out how or why the song would trigger it. So, I was happy to have the company of one of my best friends to chat with and keep me from having a rough car ride.
I've sort of gotten used to these moments that seem to hit at the most inopportune times. I finally can breathe through it and get it away faster. Sometimes, it's more difficult, but it is what it is. And, sometimes, it stays with me for hours or a whole day, not in an extreme way, but just there, sitting in my chest and throat. I guess you can say i've embraced and accepted it and have faith that it will stop over time as long as I keep doing what i'm doing. That does not mean I don't get frustrated with it anymore, because I certainly do.
A new support group session started last week. I was running late which caused me a little anxiety. I had waited a few weeks for a new group and was frustrated that I would be late for it. Then, to top it off, the parking garage at the Landmark Center is the worst garage (and I go there a lot). It took me 20 minutes to park and I found myself completely anxious and annoyed. Generally, I'm pretty laid back. I don't get road rage, barely use my horn, and can be calm in traffic or situations like I was in at the moment. However, since the marathon, my patience has definitely decreased in some situations. I don't like it. But, I accept it and just try to deal with it when it hits like everything else.
The group was good and brought new people in addition to the others that were in the last group. It's comforting to find more and more people through the group and other ways that are having a difficult time. It is a reminder that, although the public may not be acknowledging it, there are many more people affected by the bombings than people think. It is a reminder that for the majority of those who witnessed it, it is still difficult. For some, it's daily, for others, it's less often. But, it's there. It's in us. Images, nightmares, anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger.
I have to say and have said before, that I never consciously thought that something was going to happen again, that there'd be any more bombs. Logically, I have always thought, "What are the chances of me experiencing that twice?". Lately, I find myself having a different experience though. For example, today I was walking downtown. I had the choice as I crossed a street to walk along the curb or on the larger part of the sidewalk on the other side of a row of trees. I chose the curb because I was closer to it. As I stepped onto the curb from the street, I found myself walk faster when I realized there was a large black official looking SUV there. For a second, I thought, "That car could be a target right in the middle of the city". Of course, I immediately rationalized it and knew I wasn't in danger, but for that one moment, I felt afraid. This is a new one. Before, I was experiencing that fear only inside (evidenced by the anxiety in certain situations), but my mind always kept calm. I hope it doesn't mean this will happen a lot, but I'm preparing myself, hoping my rational mind will win out if it does happen again.
2013 brought a lot (more detail on some of it in the next post) and I'm looking forward to see what else it brings.
Well, that was a lot to read, so I'll give you a break. ;)
Thank you to anyone who is reading. I don't really know who is, but I truly appreciate it. I am working with others who were there that day to put together stories of those affected and we are hoping to be sharing that within the next month.