I forced myself to leave my apartment today.
I'm not agoraphobic or anything. At least I don't think so...?
I just usually do not leave the house on my days off.
In fact, I am trying to remember the last time I voluntarily went out on a day off and it was so long ago I cannot remember.
It may have been years.
For some reason today I actually got dressed and went outside and moved around among people for several hours this morning. And it was not for a work emergency, or other urgent meeting, which is usually what it takes to get me to leave home on my day off. I had banking to do and some packages to take to the post office, but normally I would have just waited until later in the week when I had to go out for work.
Instead I made myself get it done today. Partly because the rest of the week is going to be busy so I am trying to make the rest of the week easier, but mainly to make an effort to fight the urge to isolate.
Usually when I have a day off, I sleep as much of the day as possible. That is the best part of having a day off—the part I look forward to the most. Not having to get dressed or go anywhere, and being able to spend a lot of the day on the computer.
I sleep late, I get up and play my favorite computer games, I check my email, I read Daily Kos, I listen to the radio.
I have breakfast in the early afternoon. At 3:00 I sleep for four or five hours. I get up in the evening and get back on the computer. Read dK again, solve a few very hard sudoku puzzles. I make an effort to have dinner before Rachel comes on, but do not always succeed. Then maybe I watch a few of my many TiVOed episodes of Colbert. If I have the next day off, I may stay up until the wee small hours.
If the phone rings I do not answer it, except for my best friend who usually calls me from the subway on her way to work. On Mondays, a day we usually both have off, we might talk for a while in the early afternoon before my nap time, or in the evening after dinner.
I did not talk to her today.
I am in a serious isolation period right now. It's been going on for months. The rational me keeps urging me to fight it, and the depressed part of me just doesn't have the energy,
Family and friends are sending me texts and emails asking how I am doing, posting on my Facebook wall which I never check, calling and leave me messages, and I do not respond to them. At this stage some of them are beginning to worry. "I know something is wrong when you don't get back to me. Call me and let me know you are OK." They know that when I get depressed I isolate myself from everyone. It is a stupid behavior pattern—I avoid human contact and then complain about being lonely. But that is part of the whole syndrome.
I know I "should" make phone calls and connect with friends. I know I "should" say yes when people call and ask me to go to the movies, or meet them for lunch, or even offer to just come to my office with two cups of take out coffee. I know I "should" be grateful to HAVE friends, and people who care! But I am sad, and don't want to be with people when I am sad, but the isolation makes me sadder. I keep saying I will call my friends when I feel better, because no one wants to hear my tale of woe when I am down in the dumps like this. But if I wait to feel better before I connect with people, I may never feel better and never connect, and I know for a fact that connection could make me feel better.
It is a vicious circle.
I am acutely aware that my seven year grief anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. It is a day I am going to be very busy with a special event and surrounded by people for more than 12 hours. I am already dreading the need to put on a happy face for that day. I am already dreading the need to even be out among people that day.
But maybe all the busyness scheduled for the approaching anniversary day is a gift. Rather than being at home going between the bathroom and the bedroom and the computer and the kitchen and watching my yahrzeit candle burn, I'll have to be out and about from early morning until well into the evening.
Instead of just isolating with my memories, I will be forced to watch life go on.
Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey
and a special welcome to anyone new to The Grieving Room.
We meet every Monday evening.
Whether your loss is recent, or many years ago;
whether you've lost a person, or a pet;
or even if the person you're "mourning" is still alive,
("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time),
you can come to this diary and say whatever you need to say.
We can't solve each other's problems,
but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.
Unlike a private journal
here, you know: your words are read by people who
have been through their own hell.
There's no need to pretty it up or tone it down..
It just is.Maybe that is as it should be.