Back in the Spring, I realized that since the bombing, I hadn't been interested in the Bruins. I wasn't watching games, keeping up on how they were doing, and when I did see a game, I wasn't really enjoying it. It felt strange and I, as well as others who are close to me, noticed it. I was a little more excited to watch when they made it into the playoffs, but still nothing compared to usual. Fast forward to the Fall. I have been the same way about football and with hockey starting again. I watch games, but don't feel as invested or excited. My sister even pointed it out last week. She said, "You haven't been yourself. You don't even watch football and hockey."
I can't say I don't enjoy anything anymore. I laugh with my friends (who are hilarious), I enjoy spending time with the kids in my life, I enjoy my job. But, there are things missing. There are things about me that have changed, and I know it's temporary. My love of sports will come back, it has to. But, it is frustrating. It's just another thing affected by that day. Another thing I notice and hope changes over time. I know this is something that will always be a part of me, but I don't want it to change who I am at the core. I am a happy, fun loving, sarcastic, honest, sports fanatic. There are many days that I don't feel like that person anymore, but it's still there and it will come back. At least, I believe it will and that belief is what makes it easier.
People asked if I went to the Red Sox rolling rally. They just expected I would. Normally, I would. This year, I dreaded it. I avoided all talk of it, all social media pictures, and all media coverage. The thought of the crowds of people all around the city made me nervous. I worked all morning doing photo shoots. As I walked down the street between shoots, I saw groups of people donned in Red Sox gear heading into the city. They were laughing and talking. I had the instant flashback to when I was running down the streets of Boston, running for my life. I saw people coming toward us who were happy, laughing, and had no idea what was happening. I kept saying repeatedly, "They have no idea what happened. They have no idea." That thought combined with seeing these groups of people, made me anxious. But, I pushed it away and continued on with my day. I couldn't bring myself to look at pictures from the rally or to look at the links to the ceremony they did at the finish line. I think it was a nice gesture, but it wasn't helpful to me that day. The whole message of "the city is healed" that was spread around that day frustrated me because I know a different story. I know about the MANY people who are not healed yet, physically or emotionally. They will be in time, but not yet.
That evening, I was sitting at home. I had originally planned to be at the NYC marathon that weekend, cheering on my cousin Matt. I also saw it as a challenge to get through. However, due to the backslide I had the week before (my last two blog posts), I had been unsure whether I should attend. Plans went back and forth until I found out my aunt was not going and I decided I'd stay home. Well, Matt's mom sent me a message saying they may still be driving down for the day Sunday. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to go very badly but was worried I'd have another big episode and didn't want anyone to have to deal with that and ruin their time. I texted a friend whose reply was, "When you read the message, did you get excited or anxious?" That was the perfect reply. I had felt the anxiety in my chest immediately. So, that was my answer. Once I sent a message back saying I wasn't going, I felt relief.
I haven't had any more big anxiety attacks like I had for the four days two weeks ago, but I have that constant tightness/flutter in my chest. At times, I feel tears behind my eyes, and sometimes when the flutter is more intense, I get a slight headache. I feel like I've been pushing away the thoughts and anxiety to a point where it is just sitting inside of me and I'm not necessarily dealing with it again. It was almost too much when it all hit me two weeks ago, so I shut down again. I have a lot of work to get through and then I will let myself deal with it again.
I worked for months on one of the Boston mayoral candidate's campaigns. All day election day, while I worked 7-4 at the polls and went to the election night party, I felt anxious. I had the minor leg shaking that became very familiar over the last 6+ months. I had the flutter in my chest and I paced as we waited to get results. Then, I found out he won and I was very happy. My friend sent me a text the next day: "I loved how excited you got when the final results came in last night...wish I had a camera to capture your expression. Radiant." I have to be honest, I think that is the happiest moment I have had since before the bombings. There was something about the accomplishment in it combined with how strongly I felt about him as a person that made it that important to me. I've never liked politics and never wanted to be involved. I always voted and did my research on candidates to vote for who I thought would be better, but that's it. I believe the marathon changed that. I realized I wanted to be involved. It was a combination of distraction and wanting to be sure that the person I felt was better to lead the city got the job. I already think about the first year anniversary, how it will be handled, and also the thought that something like this could happen again. So, it makes me feel more passionate about politics, particularly in our city.
I am now spending my days focusing on photography and catching up on all of the work that I got behind on since my setback and the election. More has been happening with anxiety and thoughts from the marathon, but I will share that in my next post.
I have to say that I've had a thought recently when I was frustrated by the setback. No matter what, I have gotten up every morning since that awful day and faced the day. I consider that success. It's the little things.
As always, thanks for reading!