I’m Not Alright

I’m not alright
I’m broken inside, broken inside

The lyrics come from a Christian song that’s all about how being broken brings you back to God. Well, I posted this snippet because this is where I am right now. I’m not alright. Sure, someday I will be. But right now, I’m not alright. (Still love God. Big fan. Don’t misinterpret!)

Nate (awesome brother in law) wrote about how awful the question “how are you” is, and it resonated hard. When I’m feeling kind I tell people “I’m here.” And when I’m not feeling nice I snap with some version of “NOT THAT GREAT THANKS”. Sorry if you asked that question and I responded with “pretty shitty” but that’s what a few people heard me say. I’m working on it. I sound ridiculous cursing, but pain is pain.

I met a therapist last week. I called my employee assistance program, said “I’m not alright” or some version thereof, and asked to be connected to (free!) help. And so that’s what happened. You know what? It wasn’t bad. It was a sounding board that I could talk to, and since they weren’t emotionally bound the way I was, I didn’t have to feel guilty for making them feel bad. Did that make sense? Like… A coworker asked me a few months ago how I was doing. I said “well my sister is dying and it sucks”. And let me tell you, the coworkers expression said “you weren’t supposed to say that” even though their words were “wow I’m sorry.”

I’m having enough trouble as is. I cant be bothered feeling guilty about whether I burdened someone who can’t or won’t handle it. You know? So my therapist was all *nod nod nod* and I didnt have to deal with one of those “ok I asked but didn’t REALLY want to hear” faces. It was…nice. Plus, as I said at the end, “my sister would be really proud of me for being here”. You know I’m right. Liz loved when I touched my emotions. 🙂

It was hard. She suggested writing. I said I used to but I was feeling…cowardly? Afraid? Like I didn’t want to invite people in to my grief, in case they suddenly couldn’t handle it? But Nate gave me some courage (unintentionally) this week. So I’m going to try. It won’t be pretty. I’m aiming for “honest stream of consciousness”. Don’t feel bad if you’re not up for it. I’m not sure I am either. We all feel a little less alone when we go “oh it’s not just me?” So here’s my attempt. Its a way to answer the “how are you” question without you, dear reader whoever you are, actually needing to ask.

The best I can share: finding a big rainbow ornament in this silly all-Christmas store this weekend. Best friend was visiting and bought it for me. I love it.

The worst I can share: asked my kinders what “fun thing” they did last weekend. Student told me she played with her big sister. It hurt but I couldn’t grieve in that moment so, let me just say, that sucked. I want that. I get mad that I can’t have it. I’m not mad all the time, but I’m mad sometimes. Its easier to be mad than sad. I’m trying to figure out why that is but I’m not really working very hard at it yet so don’t expect some Grand Reveal of All the Answers. I don’t have answers but I have a lot of feelings. I guess you realize that now.

3 thoughts on “I’m Not Alright

  1. Marie, I feel your pain. I lost my kid brother when we were in the prime of our lives, me in my late 30s, Steve in his early 30s.
    The grief was horrible. I fought it with all I had, but that wasn’t enough. I finally came to think of it as a huge tsunami that would crash over me when I least expected it would, and then slowly recede until it clobbered me again.
    In time, the waves became smaller and less frequent, but the first year was horrible. And I learned to let the waves clobber me without fighting back, and then wait patiently as they receded.
    What helped me through it was having a spouse who never stopped listening, never stopped caring, never said “snap out of it, will ya?” Also, praying for the repose of my brother’s soul was theraputic in a way I didn’t expect. It made me feel….I don’t know…useful in some way.
    There is no easy way through. But the pain of the loss will slowly become less difficult to bear as time passes. In the mean time, don’t lose sight of the ones who love you and their need to be loved back by you, even in your grief.
    A friend who is a military vet told me that this is like having PTSD. There is no cure, but you learn to live with it and cope, and life goes on.
    Best wishes,

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