Falling Apart & Putting Myself Back Together

I fell apart this morning. I only got to see Edward for about 30 minutes yesterday, which is really not enough time to see your person in a day, and I was just feeling so utterly alone by today – the end of a long week for both him & I with a lot of time apart. He was busy at the hospital again & I couldn’t reach him by phone or text. It was a scary alone feeling, I don’t know how to describe it to you well or how to explain what made it a scary kind of loneliness instead of just garden-variety loneliness. I guess it wasn’t just loneliness – it was isolation & depression & panic & fear of the unknowns (will I always be this lonely in this marriage?). I wanted to just stay in bed with the dogs today, give up for a day, but I didn’t & I’m not.

The scary loneliness led to a panic attack. Afterwards I was exhausted from it but I got out of bed, grabbed some coffee & went outside to drink it in the sunshine for a little bit. Then I took a shower. The shower really helped.

Then Edward called! We got to talk for a little bit & he reassured me that the next rotations he’ll be doing (neurology then pyschiatry) will be easier on us both than this first one is/has been. He reassured me that he’s not annoyed with me for calling/texting him while I was having my panic attack & promised we’d have a heart-to-heart once he gets home today. Then we’ll have the whole weekend together. 

I am resilient. I can adjust to situations as they come up. I can heal. I can become more whole. I love Edward enough to deal with the loneliness his career choice often brings to me. We can do this. We are going to have a good weekend together. Just a little pep talk for myself at the end there haha.

No Choir

I have my now weekly therapy appointment in an hour & a half and I don’t really know what to tell her. I’m working on myself so much – but am I getting anywhere? I’ve started a journal of sorts, I’ve been moving my body, I’ve been doing the therapy, I’ve been keeping up with the housework, I have been creating, I’ve been listening to audiobooks meant to help me heal…

But am I rushing this process like I rush so many other things? I always want immediate results. I don’t remember if I’ve ever had much patience. I don’t understand how a person can feel so overwhelmed & so completely under stimulated at the same time. What am I even hoping for though? How/who do I want to be?

Last night, fall apart.

Two nights ago, fall apart.

Before that I think I was doing alright. I don’t remember – blame meds/my mother’s genes. I’m doing alright, right now in this moment, but what will the weather inside my mind be like in a few hours, in eight hours when Edward is still gone? Will I go back to all the dark & familiar paths?

“I don’t know if I can do this,”

or “What if it all gets harder before it becomes easier?”

or “What if it never becomes easier?”

or “What happened to us?”

or “What will become of us?”

Having a husband in medical school is no joke. I’m lonely a lot. I think of the album, High as Hope, which I’ve played an insane amount of times since it came out. I hear Florence singing, “Well the loneliness never left me, I always took it with me…”

I dance to this song a lot. I sing a lot lately, too – in the house or the car. I’m losing weight, I think, from anxiety making my appetite basically nil and all of the dancing to try to help the anxiety. It’s not intentional. I don’t know for sure because I got rid of my scale a while back. Bad thoughts, obsessive tendencies when I’d start using it again, the re-emerging of an old teenage mindset of trying to shrink because I wanted to feel small/lovable. Don’t ask me why the two seemed the same to me, it’s beyond my grasp.

A Universe For Us / Process: Part 3

Yesterday was a victory-frustration-victory-frustration day of creating a universe. I started out by hanging the lights, creating the stars, behind the center of the universe. It took me much trial and error to get that part to look how I wanted. It actually didn’t end up being how I envisioned – creative endeavors almost never do – but it turned out better than my original idea would have turned out. It’s the part of the universe I am most proud of so far: the constellations.

Then came lots of trial and error with fabric & clothespins. I almost started a fire… oops. Luckily I caught it in time though. At first my own perfectionism was really getting in my way with creating but then I got more into the flow of it & had fun. These pictures are what I have so far. But the universe won’t be used by us (or seen by Edward) until Saturday so there is plenty of time to add more. I have a few more ideas.

I’m anxious to show it to Edward, this universe I am creating, because I really want him to like it. I still need to write the script for the ritual. But it’s only Tuesday morning & I have plenty of time. Probably more time than is good for me.

A Universe For Us / Process: Part 2

I had to make a space for the creation of this universe – so the storage/litter box room was cleared out, cleaned & cleansed with incense. I was happy because I thought this part of the process would take longer than it actually did.

Then the basic structure for the universe, the central piece, had to be built.

I accidentally stabbed my finger on a staple while building the first archway. That part was no fun. I’d been unable to find the exact size/shape I was envisioning so I got the extra large ones and built them how I wanted them to be by not using all of the pieces/improvising a bit with the process of putting them together.

The skeleton DNA of a universe being created/born…

A Universe For Us / Process: Part 1

I had the idea that, since we’d been going through a rough patch, Edward & I should do some kind of re-commitment or vow renewal ceremony. Edward was open & responsive to the idea – though he’s virtually always exhausted from being overworked at the hospital these days, so most of the planning & ideas were going to be coming from me.
The first day I spent time thinking about what we should do, how we should celebrate our love in a ritual once more & celebrate it’s endurance through the rough times, I felt overwhelmed by my own lack of creative ideas. I knew it was a stupid thing to beat myself up over, but I used it as another weapon against myself. I thought, “If I were more like this person I admire, I’d be coming up with something wonderful…” I thought, “If I were a real artist, a truly creative person, I would have more ideas about this.”

I talked with Edward about it that night & he suggested we go to a cabin in the woods for it. This sparked ideas! I spent the next morning searching for the perfect cabin to rent & found one only 15 minutes from us. It was a renovated A-Frame cabin – we’d have the ceremony/ritual upstairs & then go take photographs together in the woods. I knew what I was going to wear. I tried it on to make sure it still fit.

I started a mood board in my studio with photographs of the cabin & some of the nature surrounding it. I included a photograph of me in the dress I would wear, some handwritten notes about a script I was working on for the ritual & about being barefoot in the woods. I pinned up the golden leaf earrings I wore when Edward & I originally got married in December of 2016.

I texted him the ad for the cabin while he was at work and he said it looked perfect. I showed him my mood board when he got home. I’d scheduled our weekend for August 10-12th. But then we looked at his work schedule – the weekend wasn’t going to work. He would have to work way too many consecutive days at the hospital to make the weekend away possible. I felt rather devastated.

I took the photographs of the cabin off of the mood board.

I decided to follow in someone’s footsteps that I’d witnessed from afar. I would create a universe for us here, in a room of our own little rented house. I spent a lot of time searching for supplies & things we could use. How does one create a little universe to hold a little ritual in? It would be just the two of us, like our wedding, like we like it.

I created a new mood board. It’s still a work in progress. I’ve spent a lot of time online searching for a new ring to wear on my finger, to honor this re-commitment. I still haven’t found one. We haven’t set an exact date for this secret ritual in a secret universe yet.

At first I was disappointed that Edward didn’t have the extra time/energy to collaborate with me in planning this. Then I changed my perspective. I decided I would create a world and invite him to join me in it. I sent him an actual invitation.

Here is a photograph of the original very beginnings of the “cabin in the woods” ritual mood board:

Here is another photograph of the one I am working on now. I’m writing a script for us. We are going to get intergallactic style glitter EVERYWHERE & it’ll take forever to get cleaned up & it’ll be a ball.

This is the beginning of the invitation I made for him. The invitation was quite long but the rest is just for him, not for the internet.

“To My Love, My Edward, My Muse,

Join me in an (admittedly cheesy) world I am creating for us, a secret universe within our real lives, within one part of one room of one rented house in Montgomery, AL.

It’s meant to be a brief shelter from the struggles that life & being human inevitably create for two people who are crazy about each other. We will be safe there. We can be one again – two people looking into each other’s eyes while also hopefully seeing into the future & seeing no end to their togetherness. We can feel safe in the illusion that this little pause will last forever, that we will never have to leave the warm & cozy universe I am creating. I can pretend, for that bit of time, that life will always feel this way.”

Being Anxiously Attached & Learning to Breath Horizontally

I have an anxious attachment style.

This pattern within me had its blueprints set during my childhood/young adult years and I still carry it with me today – even after years with (about 1 year and 8 months of which have been marriage) a man who has a secure attachment style and who is as crazy about me as I am about him.

If you don’t know about attachment theory in adult relationships, Google it. It’s interesting. I want to learn to be more securely attached. My therapist says I am taking on too much at once right now with regards to working on myself and she’s probably right. I just feel this urgent need to heal myself, to feel whole, to stop the emotional pain I am in most of the time, to grow. I want some relief.

My therapist sent me this video today. Apparently I have been breathing the wrong way. I knew breathing consciously/focusing on the breath could help with anxiety but I learned a lot from this video. Maybe training my body to be a horizontal breathing machine instead of a vertical one will help. I’ll try anything.

What I’m Learning Lately / Dancing Is Medicine

My body holds a lot of trauma from it’s past. This has shaped my brain and the ways I think, react & feel. But I can change it, heal & move forward.

Animals are incredibly healing. I already knew this but I am learning it again.

Human connection is incredibly healing. Human contact is as important as food or water. I already knew this but I am learning it again. I am not as good at human connection as I thought I was. But I can learn to be better.

I am not as good at or brave about being vulnerable as I thought I was but I can learn to be.

I am braver in my work as an artist than in real life. I can work on both.

Not all medicine comes in a pill bottle from the pharmacy. Dancing is medicine, making art is medicine, reading or writing can be medicine, a shower can be medicine, housework can be medicine, rituals can be medicine, rest can be medicine, breathing consciously can be medicine…