My mind is filled with random thoughts of this journey after losing Amber. The anniversary is just a couple of weeks away and everything in me is on "heightened alert". Today I have worked inside at my makeshift office, also known as the dining room table, looking out at the sunshine... it is a beautiful warm day, and I am thinking about why I do not care about going out to enjoy it.
After losing Amber I was afraid of almost everything, and it was no surprise that after two and half years, I was diagnosed with PTSD, Panic Attacks, and Agoraphobia. I had already been prescribed medicine for insomnia and depression, but they were not enough to help rid me of the agonizing fear. I think back on all the things I managed to accomplish during those early years after our tragedy and I realize there really was no other way, it was non optional... I had to keep moving, whether life was to include happiness or not.
I remember a day when sitting in the backyard with Chuck relaxing, when our cat, Max, began to chase after a bird. The bird did not move in the least and I jumped up, shooed it away, and was shocked at it not attempting to escape. Chuck talked to me, in his gentle way, about the bird "shutting down"... it was too frightened to move. I knew that I was like that bird, I was too afraid to do many things and I was in that "shut down" mode way too often.
Life continued on being very busy with work, my efforts with working in suicide prevention, and I began to take classes at West Virginia University, and this all before being diagnosed... what was I thinking? I aced the classes but it was complete torture for me to accomplish all those things, and yet I just could not stop. I was afraid to stop and...I was afraid to go. I am not sure if anyone noticed the change, or if they thought it was as simple as me "just grieving". It was never simple. I was around so many people and each time I wanted to run back to the house and hide, where I knew it was safe. I was planning the first of many walks for suicide prevention and the anxiety was intense, and there were times when I doubted my ability to pull it off. I was not able to do a speech that year, I tried to hide from the cameras and news, but I got through it and was blessed in many ways. I knew that the event was very important for many people, including myself and family.
There were some very special people around me at that time in my life that gave me strength, even though I saw them suffering also. I knew they knew me...they knew what I was feeling, I was sure that they felt the same as I. Kindred spirits, I suppose, but they gave me courage, and with God's direction, love, and strength I kept moving.
It's been almost seven years now since that tragic day, and I am different, changed, and continually changing, and everyday brings something new. God is such an enormous part of my life, and I feel that there is never a separation from him, and that is so different than in my younger years. My entire world revolves around what God would have me do, and with that comes time needed for quiet, studying, praying, and "listening". My calling is to help others find their strength within. To discover their self worth through the love of God and because of God's unconditional love. I know the journey is difficult... it requires the removal of our heavy burdens so that we may find our path to healing. One of the most difficult tasks I have ever had before me was to believe that I was a person worthy of love.
Somewhere in this process I have discovered my happiness is not dependent on whether I am inside or outside of the house. I can enjoy being inside the house as much as out...it is not because of being afraid in the least, it is about discovering that my joy can be from any setting, with anyone, at anytime of my choosing, because wherever I am, God is also...
Blessings to each of you!