Thursday, October 23, 2014

One Step Forward.... Two Steps Back

I thought I was making good progress and then this week happened.

My last counseling session, we talked about how social I'd been (which wasn't very). I kind of quit reaching out to people for a little bit. Part of that is probably because it was no longer my "homework". So when she asked I had said that I hadn't been very social, but I had a very social weekend coming up that would make up for that. Even in my counseling session I'd said I was a little nervous for the weekend and thought I might be trying to do too much. That should have been my first clue.

Friday evening, I drove down to Denver for a friend's birthday party. We had a good time laughing and what-not. Still, my social anxiety seemed to be acting up a little bit.
I <3 him

I only stayed a few hours because I had to get back home and get to bed since I was running the Homecoming 5k in the morning. The race started at 8, and I set my alarm for 7... which may not have been enough time. 

When my alarm went off I wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep. I was not in the best of moods, but I told myself I had to get up and do the race. So I got up, put on my running clothes, ate my breakfast and headed out the door. I parked at 7:45, had to go get my race packet, put on my bib and take my other things back to the car. I was exhausted and grumpy. And remember that social anxiety thing? Yea, there were over 2,000 people there. 
The run itself was tough. It was nice to be able to run through the campus of my alma mater, but it was TOUGH. I had intended on making a playlist specifically for this run and never got around to it, so I just had my music on shuffle which turned out to be nice because I heard this line:

You wanna raise your voice
Don't be scared to breathe
Don't be afraid to hurt
Don't be ashamed to need

And that really stuck out to me. I heard this during the last mile. The last 2 lines are totally me. If you've followed me from the beginning of this journey you know how much I put up a front so people don't see me hurting and I don't ask for help. I know I need to change this. 
This was definitely my worst race. My time was the slowest I think I've ever done. I was in a bad mood, tired, and just not in it. HOWEVER... I did run the whole thing. And I got to see some really pretty Colorado Fall scenery. 



I was mostly annoyed by the number of people just STANDING at the finish line. Luckily no one got the brunt of my anger. After the race I went home and crawled back in bed. I was excited for my 2 hour nap....

BUT COULDN'T FALL ASLEEP. 

So that annoyed me. I finally got up and showered and got ready for the football game, ran a couple errands and then went to meet everyone to tailgate. Going into it, I still wasn't feeling very social and I probably should have listened to myself when I felt that and I should just have stayed home. But I told myself that I had to go. 

I was still tired, weak and not feeling very social so the majority of the tailgate I sat in a chair and tried to relax. The game was a great one. I'm not very smart though and was in flip flops and a light jacket. And once that sun went down, boy, it was cold. (And I'm cold all the time)

Just before halftime, I got this from my brother:
"I bought this record today, in honor of grandpa. :)"
And I started to tear up. I wanted to go home, but introvert, awkward Jessica didn't know how to do that. I need to work on letting myself cry when it comes and I almost did, and then someone I was with turned around and looked at me and rather than explain what was happening I quickly shut those feelings down. 

I ended up staying for the whole game and we won in the last 4 seconds. YAY!!!! The second I got in my car, I started sneezing uncontrollably. Uh oh.... 

I had another early morning on Sunday having to go down to work. The day itself was fine. As I was getting packages ready to be mailed off to our college students, one of the members of our congregation sat in my office and talked to me. I was able to tell her about what I was going through and we had a very nice talk. It made me feel better. 

Since the sneezing fit Saturday night, I've come down with a bit of a cold. I sneeze a ton every morning when I first wake up and my energy is even lower than it already was. Awesome. I think I just overdid it this last weekend. I've had so much work to do and no motivation to do it. 

Tuesday morning I woke up and it was Cassandra's birthday. That was a hard day. They say the first year can be the hardest because it's the first of EVERYTHING without the person you lost. And so, it was the first birthday. Like so many other people, I wrote a message to her on Facebook and as I was writing it, my eyes welled up with tears and when that happens I just want to stay in bed and cry, but I had to get to work. It was just a tough day all around, not to mention the night before I'd had a dream that I was being chased by a murderer boyfriend so I didn't sleep very well. 
Tuesday night I had a very nice chat with one of my friends. It was refreshing to be so open and candid with her and talk about our love for fitness and food. It made me feel like I was ready to get back to that part of my life. 

I was starting to feel a little bit better yesterday morning. I got up and actually started doing some work... until my computer decided to lose what I was working on and all my motivation went out the window. We hadn't gotten the mail in a while, so right before leaving for work I walked to the mailbox to get the mail. 

Among other things, I got a card from my aunt....
And cue the tears. By the time I got to work, I was definitely not in the best of moods and again... just wanted to be in my bed where I could cry freely. 

Still not feeling great and now with this, I still managed to go to hip hop last night. 20 minutes in I was exhausted. The next 40 minutes were rough. I had moments of energy, but it didn't seem to last long. I did manage to push through the entire hour but I was exhausted. Physically, emotionally. Just exhausted. 

On my way home I heard a song that really resonated with me...

This has most definitely been one of my weakest days. (or weeks really...) but I have to hope that it's all making me stronger. 


Luckily I got most of my work finished last night (and moved a bunch of furniture since my carpets are being cleaned today) and was able to sleep in this morning. Luckily I have counseling this evening after work. 

I am very much looking forward to Saturday. I think we'll go back to my usual "self care Saturday" and spend most of it on the couch or in bed and probably also work on my memory book a little bit. From now on, I will not try to do too much, especially when I know it's a bad idea. Lesson learned. 

To better days
~Jessica 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

30 Years of Pictures

I haven't blogged in a while.  I decided to go on meds. I started the Celexa at a very low dosage (10 mg) and felt a little better, though I was experiencing some pretty intense headaches. Around the same time, I also cut my hours a little bit at work which seemed to help. The mornings have been the hardest part for me. I went back to my doctor to evalaute the meds and we ended up changing to Zoloft and increased the dosage a little. I've only been on them for a few days but I haven't experienced any headaches or any other wacky side effects so that's good.

I've been starting to function better too, for the most part. I'm trying to be social as much as I can as well as honor what my body needs to get through this. What that means is that some Saturdays I spend all day in bed. It's not something I like to do, but I guess it's what I need. That's what I'm most looking forward to getting through. I want my energy back. I try really hard to focus on self care and even deemed Saturdays "Self Care Saturday". :) I'm trying to exercise and eat better, though the exercise is still not the greatest. I am in the middle of a 21 day get fit challenge. Each day I have to check in and report what I eat and do for exercise so at least that's helpful for some accountability and my eating is definitely better right now. My counselor said she is really proud of how I'm trying to function and honor what I need to get through this grief.

For the past month I've been meaning to get down to my grandma's to go through pictures with her but something has come up almost every weekend until this one. So I called her and asked if I could come down. I was excited for it, but a part of me was a little nervous. It was the first time I'd been back since the memorial service.

I got there Friday evening at 9:00 and we sat in the den and talked for a little bit. She had her handyman get a box of pictures down, but she got my birth year wrong and they were pictures from the 70s and of my mom and aunts when they were in school. Grandma and I went through the box of pictures, she told me stories of them and it dawned on me how amazing her memory is. She could tell me what year they moved to what town and all the details. It was amazing. When we were finished, we looked up and it was midnight! We decided it was time for bed and off we went.

I awoke Saturday morning around 9:30. I had thought about going for a run, but it was cold outside and I had a headache. Usually my mornings I spend a long time in bed before I get up, but I forced myself out of bed. We sat down and had breakfast and chatted for a bit. She was doing some work around the house and I ended up going on a bit of a wander around the house looking at some of Grandpa's things and thinking.






This is the last Father's Day card I sent him. It is still sitting on the shelf where the cards sit. I believe it's the only card up there. That struck me as pretty cool.
Just under the card is the flag my grandma got in the frame the grandkids gave her. She told me how happy she was when she got it because she had been looking for something to put the flag in. I really like the placement for it. It's also in the room where he died. It's hard for me to go in there still. Sometimes I'll go in there and just look at where his bed was.






This was in the guest room where I was staying. Grandpa always always always had a comb in his pocket (and a pen!) and later Grandma told me that she has found more combs and toothpicks around the house than she could count. It made me laugh and think that he's probably laughing from Heaven at her finding all the reminders of him like combs and toothpicks everyhwere. :)






I sat down in his chair and started watching some tv. I turned on the University of Georgia game. He loved his bulldogs. Since I was out of town when he died, I've had a hard time really accepting it. I told myself that once I went there and didn't see him sitting in his chair, it would really set in. That has yet to happen. In the book my counselor gave me, it says to focus on saying "he's dead" versus "he's gone" or "he passed away". Acceptance is definitely a part of grief that I'm not through yet. I sat in the chair and started to tear up and I thought maybe it might be too soon to be there and face everything. I was trying to make myself stop crying when my grandma came in and said we should probably get to work. So we got a box of pictures and headed out to the dining room table.... Where we sat for the next 8 hours.



We took a 2 hour break to skype with my brother, sister-in-law and niece and to eat lunch, but other than that we were working hard. After lunch I was pretty tired of going through pictures and really could have stopped, but Grandma seemed to be on a roll so we continued on until 8:00 that night. I came away with some really great pictures. Here are a couple of my favorites.




Grandpa and I walking hand-in-hand. I imagine when I die, this is how I'll get to Heaven.










How precious is this?! I love it so much.






This was taken the day I was born. <3





I'm excited to get the pictures in my memory book but I know it's going to be quite the process and be pretty emotional. But it's necessary and in the end I'll have the final product that I can look at years down the road.

After we went through all the pictures and ate a little dinner, we went back into the den and pulled out an old home movie from our family reunion in 1991. Grandpa was narrating it and it made me really miss hearing his voice.
7 year old Jessica is so funny
At one point, Grandma came and got me and told me she had laid out all his cross necklaces and wanted me to go through them and see which ones I wanted. 
 

There were some really great ones. I ended up taking 2. It's funny because recently I was wanting a new cross necklace, wondering about any crosses he may have had that I could make into something wearable. But I'd told no one about that. 







I wore the cross and flame one to work today and was so proud when people asked me where it was from and I got to say "It was my grandpa's!" and it made me feel like he was really with me today. 










I had a few whacked out dreams while I was there. The first night it was that my cousins and I were at the dining room table and one of them had a dandelion and was blowing it right as Grandpa was walking by and we were talking about how mad he was going to get, and he just looked at us and kept walking and never got mad. 

The next night it had something to do with the nativity in this picture.  But I don't remember exactly what it was.
Wasn't my brother the cutest???
Today I am exhausted. I don't know if it's because I didn't get much sleep last night or from all the emotions or what. I came home from work and took a 2 hour nap and honestly could have slept until tomorrow if I allowed myself to. I think it was really good for me to go there and have the weekend with just Grandma and me, even if it wasn't super easy and now I'm kind of an emotional wreck. You have to go through it, right??? I guess I'll just keep trucking along and try to deal with this grief as it comes. 

To better days....
~Jessica