Learning to cope [?]

It’s been nearly a month since I posted about being stressed and unhappy and I hate to admit that not much has changed. I’ve had happy moments in between now and then and I’ve laughed and enjoyed life, but it’s all been marred by the sadness I’m feeling—and much of that joy was being faked if I’m completely honest.

According to the professionals, I’m not ‘depressed’ I’m just extremely stressed and when added to the fact that I’m still grieving, it makes it difficult to cope. This is nice to know since I don’t believe that I’m suffering from depression, but it basically means that I am too stressed and I don’t have an outlet for that stress. And the grief? Well, by some accounts that will be with me for the rest of my life, it’s just a matter of degrees. (No, you don’t ‘snap out of it’ on the year mark. Really. Despite what you may have read. But that rant is not for this post…)

When I lost Paul I lost my confidant; my biggest supporter; the one person who could make all of life’s stresses seem insignificant. Of course, since Paul died there are so many new stresses in my life. That irony is well noted.

And now I need to find a way to cope on my own. And it’s really, really hard! But, I’m stubborn and determined and I’ll figure out a way to manage if it kills me!

Ideally, I would have that amazing friend like they have in Hollywood movies. You know—the best friend who is a solid rock; the friend who is just there and just sorts you out. They know what you need even if you don’t and they’re not afraid to just bulldoze their way in when you build a wall. I don’t know if that person exists off screen or not, but they don’t exist for me.

[Side note: I do have friends and they are wonderful, but I don’t have that amazingly-close friend who just ‘gets me’ and maybe that’s because I am extremely weird and (as one friend puts it) so different than everyone else and no one will ever get me. Heck, I don’t think Paul ever totally understood me. But really, I love my friends!]

So, I need to be my own best friend. I need to be my biggest supporter, my biggest cheering section, and my own life-sorter-outer.*

How does one do that? I just don’t know. I’m experimenting with several things though.

I’m writing down my thoughts and feelings and emotions and other sappy rubbish. Some in the form of (bad) poems; some in the form of letters to people that never get sent (including letters to me); some in the form of journal entries; and some in a free-flowing ‘non-form’ form.

I’m being all creative and crap. I’m drawing and sketching; I’m doing arts and crafts; and I’m working on crochet projects—new and old.

I’m taking time for me. I’ve gotten rid of the cable so that I can concentrate on relaxing and reading; I’m (mostly) taking back my lunch time; and I’m trying to pamper myself.

I’m trying to be healthier. I’m getting a bit more exercise (still not enough); I’m eating healthier foods; I’m drinking more water; and I’m getting more sleep.

Overall, I’m just trying to find the connection I used to have with my heart, mind, body, and soul. I’m trying to reclaim the peace and happiness I once felt. I’m trying to re-establish my self-esteem and my identity.

I’ve convinced myself that all of these fears and stresses and unhappy feelings will go away if I get accepted to grad school but then I start to worry about what will happen to my remaining shred of sanity if I’m not accepted. And then I remember that those thoughts are exactly what I’m supposed to avoid in order to find peace in my world. So instead of thinking about that, I think I’ll go turn on some soft music and read a book for a while.

Sorry for whining again…

* This reminds me of that Friends episode where the girls read a book called Be Your Own Windkeeper.

9 thoughts on “Learning to cope [?]

  1. Do you ever feel like Paul is still with you? Do you ever just talk to him even though he’s not there? I think I would. I think Jeff would still hear all my daily concerns, whining, and nonsense and dying wouldn’t get him out of it. And I don’t mean that to be trite, I just hope you still talk to him and let him be your confident from time to time, even if he can’t answer back in a traditional way.

    I think about you all the time. And I admire your determination and efforts at being happy. I can’t help but feel that happiness will come, in abundance for you.

    • I do still talk to Paul. A lot. In the olden days, I would talk to God on the nearly 30-mile drive to and from work. I’d ask for God’s guidance and just chat about anything, really. Then when I’d get home, I’d talk with Paul about this, that, and the next thing. It was great having Paul to help work through problems with me.

      Now, I find that I rarely talk with God, but instead I chat to Paul on my drive to and from work. I ask Paul for guidance and I ask him to please tell me what to do.

      I’ve heard from many other widow(er)s that they talk to their dead spouse now instead of God. It’s strange, but I almost feel as if Paul will pass on a message to God for me or something. (I’ve not lost my faith at any point in this journey, and I am quite convinced that God doesn’t mind me talking to Paul instead of Him.)

      I guess the bigger problem is that Paul no longer answers back so I still need to solve things on my own. The bonus to him not answering is that I don’t have to listen to him whinge when he doesn’t like the color of a sweater I want to buy. (But I’d rather him be here complaining about my wardrobe and getting on my case about my habit of licking my lips!)

  2. boo! i’m sorry this is happening (still) to you
    (geez that sounds trite)

    this friends thing is really hard, especially as you get older. everyone would love that someone special and it’s even more poignant when you’re stressed and needing the support. having that support taken from you must be hard (trite again! sorry), but it’s also difficult to see it fading away

    i’m working on a kind of contentment realising that i am my own champion. it’s taken approximately 10 years off and on to come to this blinding conclusion, but for me not expecting anyone else to take up the slack or be responsible for my entertainment/happiness/self worth/confidence is lessening the disappointment with life and letting me get the most out of it.

    it is crap though when you’re right in the middle of it all though … keep your chin up (you possibly need some Billy Connolly)

    • Thank you! I really enjoy hearing from others who are trying to be their own champion (I like that term!) and have actually found much inspiration from your blog!

      Billy Connolly always does make me happy… I should spend some time on YouTube today.

  3. Oh Frances, I’m so sorry that you are going through all of this.

    You are an incredibly phenomenal person. I think of the experiences that we went through together, moving across the pond, and the life’s experiences that we’ve shared. You and your outlook on life is not weird; it’s honest, spirited and true to yourself. I’ve always loved that about you.

    Grief is unique to every person. When you have that one person in life who completes and compliments you in every way, it is like losing a part of yourself. Please don’t be hard on yourself; it’s a process and you will get through it in your own time.

    With every day, it’s another step, albeit big or small. You surrounded by people who love and care about you. I understand what you mean about that “one best friend”… I’m a complex blend of all sorts of things… and moody, passionate and hermity. So know that you are never in it alone even if it feels like it sometimes.

    You’re always an inspiration to me!

    • Thanks, Kellie! It’s always nice to know that there are folks who don’t think my outlook on life is weird! I suppose that having shared experiences helps. I’m honored to be of inspiration to you – and you should know I’ve always been inspired by you, too. (And a bit jealous because I’ll never be as good of a seamstress as you ;)!!)

  4. You’re not wierd, you’re strong, amazing and inspirational.

    but I know, nice tho those things are to hear, they don’t really help with the practical stuff or the pain.

    For want of anything more useful to say or do, I’m sending you a virtual hug, much love, my thoughts and a place in my heart.

    (still keeping my fingers crossed for your grad school application too!)


    • Thanks, Rebecca. It is nice to hear those things and it does help to know that I’m being thought of by others, but sometimes it just gets so overwhelming trying to deal with it all on my own–especially when I thought I’d never have to deal with things on my own again.

      And I know that I can chat with friends and interact with people on Facebook and stuff, but it’s not quite the same as being able to pick up the phone throughout the day to say: “I’m stressed, tell me everything is going to be OK,” or even “I just saw the funniest thing and I have to tell you all about it.”

      Stirling applications open up on Nov. 1, and I’ve got my calendar marked with a reminder. I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve sent it off!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s