All the Feels

When this time of year comes, I can’t tell what I’m ‘supposed’ to feel. I can tell you what I do feel.

I’m sad. My children are bounding with energy to come to Boston. Greg did an excellent job in continuing to make them a priority through this whole, entire thing. They don’t get sad or anxious that I’m here for another surgery. They are excited. I’m sad I don’t feel that way too.

I’m “triggered.” For those of you who use this word frequently and have not experienced actual PTSD, stop using it. I have flashbacks in the hallway of the apartment, in the lobby of the hospital, with the cool air blowing on my face from the air conditioner. I have survived, but will never forget all those hours, days, months and years spent in uncertainty. The little things are the hardest to prepare for (a smell, the color or a paint, the sounds). And it is terrible. So many things trigger the anxiety here.

Anxious. I’m returning for my fourth surgery. Anxiety is not abnormal no matter how “used to it” I am. What is the worst thing about it, is what the anxiety attacks. “You should be calm- you’re used to this.” “You need too much medicine to cope with this.” “You are not powerful enough to do this on your own- what’s wrong with you?” “You are going to feel awful, be awful and have the worst time with ‘this.’” It’s a mind game. But at the root of it is anxiety.

It is so very easy to stay right here, sulking in this. So very easy to, considering what I’ve been through and what I’m going through. But then I realize it has to go through me. I’m not going through it, it’s going through me. And Lord Almighty- I’m going to do something with it.

I’m grateful. For the support, for my family, for my doctors, for my work, for my journey. I’m “triggered.” The familiarity of the city. The parks we get to visit again. The memories that “the last time I did this, I was in a wheelchair (wheelchair rides through an old city with horrific sidewalks are memorable!). The views from the roof top that remind me something greater is at work. Anxiety is a manifestation of fear, and while I still have fear, by God and with God, everyday is a miracle in its own right.

Once you chose gratitude, so many things are possible. Take hold of that possibility and keep going.

May you be granted peace in your journey today.

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