Coping with Charles’ birthday month has been different this year (he would have been 24 on April 26). Just a few days in, I’m sad sometimes but more often just plain agitated.
Sleep is weird but I’m following Karla Helbert’s breathing techniques which are helping. I’m doing a lot of my self-talk (alter ego conversations) because I get into destructive negative thinking patterns and I have to tell my other self that there are enough people who will put me down and I don’t need to be one of them. I do follow my own advice on that one but it doesn’t mean I don’t wrestle with it.
I don’t feel comfortable in my skin as if I’ve borrowed it and the right one will be returned soon. When did my skin leave only to be replaced by the one I’m in right now?
A number of times, I’ve gone back to my own book to read aloud some of the precious memories I have wrapped up and folded into my mental theatre. The story about Charles coming home from the music studio and playing his first album for all of us surrounded by friends is particularly soothing. Reading this passage does bring me peace.
Everything lately is hard and takes more effort.
Normally, when I hear an idea, I’m on it like syrup on pancakes. But right now, my brain says, “Are you up to all that?” To which I unconvincingly say, “Yes I am,” knowing that even though my brain is in sloth mode, the energy will return and the state I’m in right then is not permanent. Feelings never are. Even the good ones. I’ll get my full mojo back, it’s just in partial hibernation right now and whiny brain is taking up residence.
So far, no itchy rashes like I’ve had in the past. By this time last year, I had raised welts on my face and neck, funky droopy redness on my eyelids. I hope by saying that it doesn’t jinx me and I wake up tomorrow looking like a dermatology poster parent.
Deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise, positive self talk, writing and cuddling up with memories of my boy who died by suicide are helping me manage. It’s taking a lot more of all of those things right now. But after years of this, at least I have the tools.