I can’t remember how to be around people. I feel socially awkward everywhere I go, avoiding eye contact and conversation even with cashiers at Target. I strategically push carts down aisles with the least amount of resistance and the chance of running into anyone I may know. I feel invisible and completely exposed all at the same time. I stay at home most weekends watching deplorable amounts of television or reading entire books without absorbing a single word. The only things I am engaged in lately are my pets and my own despondency. The outside world seems suspicious and dangerous. I wonder if this is how hermits are born?
I’ve committed myself to New Year’s events hoping that my promise to bring food to a party will be enough to force me out of hiding. I kept my calendar obnoxiously full in the months directly following Jason’s death because I was afraid of being alone with my thoughts. I’m not exactly sure when the turning point was but it seems to have coincided with what would have been our 3rd wedding anniversary. Now I can’t even recall what I did that day but it must have been instrumental in handicapping me socially.
I have very few friends who I can relate to at the moment but our common denominator seems to be grief. We have very serious discussions over lunch or dinner and occasionally emote enough to make restaurant staff uncomfortable. Sadness seems to be the only language I can understand and I strain to comprehend happiness in others, although I believe I spoke it once.
I keep articles such as “25 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough” or “18 Ways You’re Making Life Harder” saved on my phone so I can refer to them quickly whenever my face starts feeling hot and my throat starts to tighten…the beginnings of a panic attack. I’m not sure why I believe the psychosis that comes along with bereavement can be easily remedied with simple lists. But I try everything and anything just because I don’t know what else to do in those moments of desperation.
I have a fear of these inescapable feelings never leaving and just being trapped inside my head, ricocheting back and forth until eventually my entire brain has been bull-dozed and cleared of any hope. Everyone keeps saying it gets easier. When?