For the most part, things have been good. I've been very busy with work and other things. I got my new computer, made some decisions that will help me plan my Italy adventure, and most importantly, I've been trying very hard to make time for friends I haven't seen in a while. I have a new appreciation for staying connected to people and not just through social media or texting. In fact, it now drives me crazy how many conversations I have through both. When did it become acceptable to have a serious conversation that way? What happened to telling those closest to you the important parts of your life in person or at least over the phone when you can hear their voice? I want to talk to people again. I want to see my friends face to face more often. I want to experience real life, not the life on social media. In the last two weeks, I've gone hiking a couple of times, met friends to go for walks, met up for lunch or coffee or just to chat. I've been wondering more and more why we let ourselves become "too busy" for the important people in our lives. It happens to all of us and i'm certainly guilty of this, but it's a slippery slope. At the end of the day, WHO you have is so much more important than what you have. WHO I have is what got me through the most horrible year I've had in my 34 years.
I've had some moments recently where things have creeped in like they do and will, but I do find I handle at least most of these situations better. I find it much easier and less anxiety producing to talk about the bombings and the year after with those who were also there. I think it's because I know they will 100% understand. I won't have to explain how I feel about something because they already know. A friend who is a survivor and I took a little road trip last week. She and I went to see our friend, an EMS worker and her first responder. He had organized a sky diving day for EMS workers and survivors. We talked nonstop on the drive about everything, both about the last year and other things. I felt at ease with the subjects we discussed. It was nice to spend some time with them and even though we did have those discussions, we also had some laughs. There's just a comfort with these people, my extended family.
As I was on my way to an appointment on Wednesday, I had to drive down Storrow Drive. I had thought about the holiday weekend and how I would keep up on where and when fireworks would take place. I wasn't prepared for the wave of anxiety that came over me as I drove past barricades and people setting up on the Esplanade. I felt a little sick, but it was just mostly the wave of it and some thoughts about the safety of everyone there and then I was able to pull out of it.
As I said, I've been preparing myself for fireworks. It's the ones you can't prepare for though, the ones put off my random people or groups that are not officially organized and promoted. At a friend's Wednesday night, I heard some in the distance and immediately tensed up. I tried to look and locate them, but couldn't. I feel that when I see them, it helps just like when sirens are getting to me, watching the vehicle pass somehow makes it easier. I talked to myself, reminding my brain and body that all was okay. It's amazing how 14.5 months later, the sounds such as fireworks and thunder can still have such an effect. That imprint is still fairly fresh and I look forward to not having the rush of anxiety hit me anymore as time goes on. I will be doing my best to prepare myself for the sounds that will come often this weekend and throughout the summer.
I've been having difficulty sleeping again as well as some bad dreams, though i'm not completely sure what is triggering that. I find my anxiety is there more when i'm alone in the car for a long time or laying in bed at night. It makes sense, but I am working on ways to lessen it.
It is still strange to me when I do not feel comfortable at large events, even when I know most of the people in the room. It took me a good 45 minutes to feel at ease at a fundraiser last week. I stood up, stayed facing the room and just felt a sense of discomfort and being overwhelmed. However, it was not enough to make me leave. I had to walk outside once, but finally settled and had a good time with friends. I know this will get easier over time and so, when it happens, I am certainly easier on myself than I used to be. I think this, in some part, has to do with that realization out of the fog that I was in fact, witness to a terrorist attack and an acknowledgement of what I really saw. It's strange how even though you know something, it can come to you in a whole new way. It's also what has made me feel like i'm living more in the moment and not worrying about the future anymore. These lessons and part of the "new me" combined with the "old me" make me feel almost thankful in a way for the experience. That may sound strange and it isn't the way I feel when something such a memory/flashback or intense feeling hits me, but I do feel I have learned so much about myself, others, and life. That, I am thankful for.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend. I will be enjoying time with some friends and family followed by a couple days of much needed relaxation on a lake.
Today and every day I am especially thankful for those who serve, have served, and sacrifice their lives.