I've frequently visited the Navy Yard since the marathon to sit along the water. I've always loved to be near the water and I've found myself there a lot more in the last 5 months. Sometimes it is calming and other times, it brings up emotion I'm not expecting. This time, I was overcome with a sense of loneliness. I don't know why. I am surrounded by the most amazing friends, family members and supportive community. I was with friends and great clients all day. But, this happens every so often in these last months. I have feelings of being completely alone. I think it's more the feeling of not having people close to me who understand what I'm dealing with and when I feel it hitting me (like on my car ride), I don't know where to turn. Anyway, I cried a bit and then went home and crashed after doing some work. I felt completely exhausted. Between the mental/emotional exhaustion and physical exhaustion from being busy with no sleep, I had hit a wall. I had to force myself out of bed Sunday morning. As I said before, I refuse to let any of this take over my life completely. If I feel down, I make myself get up, go out, and find things to bring me up. In my last post, I spoke about the person I was before the marathon.
I am still that person. I have more and more hours and even days straight feeling completely like myself. I know I’ll be the same person on the other end of this and will be even stronger, more understanding of trauma and PTSD, and with an even bigger purpose. But, for now, I struggle. I don’t let myself stay down. I don’t hide out in my house alone. Maybe that is why everyone thinks things are completely fine. In fact, I spend less time alone than I did before April 15. I hate being alone. I think this is because I don’t want any of this to have control over me and cause me to shut myself away. When I'm alone, I think about everything. It’s also anxiety causing at times to be alone, which I think is partly fear, that if something bad were to happen, I’d rather be with other people. This is something I just recently realized.
From day one, I never thought in my head that another bomb could go off. I thought, “What could be the chances of that happening in front of me again.” I never logically thought I was in danger. That is, at least, in my head. My body has been telling a completely different story for five months. My body is telling me I’m afraid and I’ve been ignoring it. I know this by the anxious feeling I get and other physical reactions in certain situations. A friend described it perfectly by saying i'm having physical flashbacks instead of mental flashbacks. It's as if my body has been replaying the events of that day, especially in crowds, around a lot of noise, and when anything comes up on TV, social media, or conversation about the marathon. I seem to feel better when I’m talking about it than if others are (especially since others are usually speaking in anger). I think that has something with feeling some control over the conversation, which makes it easier.
I’ve come to terms with that fact that many people seem uncomfortable around me if I even mention the marathon in any way. I don’t expect people to talk about it with me. I talk to people I know can handle it. But, that day is now a part of me and will be forever in some way. I don’t want to pour my heart out or chat about it when I see people on the street, and I don’t. However, if someone asks if work’s been busy and I say that things have been slow since the marathon but things are picking up, I watch their face change to discomfort. My message to these people is simple. Calm down.
Just because I mention the marathon, I’m mentioning it because it’s relevant to the question you asked, not because I’m about to start talking about that day. I even say things are picking up so it’s good. If you can’t handle my even mentioning it, then I'm not really sure what to say to you. I’m saying this because every time someone does that to me, I feel awful. I feel alienated and anxious. And I don’t blame anyone. Obviously, people who weren’t even there can’t even feel okay talking about it with someone who actually experienced it. I get it. Then, there are the other people, who in the same situation, are fine and just say that it makes sense and to take my time. And then, we talk about the weather, their kids, life in general, anything. Mentioning it is also a way to let people know that it is still affecting me at times. It goes back to being honest. I would much rather people know that I, as well as many others, are still dealing with what we experienced. I'm still me. I'll still be horribly sarcastic, will make fun of you, listen to you talk about your own life, go out for a drink or coffee, and enjoy the little things in life. I just may not be able to do all of that every moment of the day like I did before. But, it will come back fully in time. It has to. I refuse to feel these things forever. It's why I've never medicated or let myself stay hidden away. I deal with everything as it comes, feel it all so that I can take control over it, and keep pushing forward. That's all for today. Just a little bit at a time. :)