*******I UNAPOLOGITICALLY INTERRUPT YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED LIFE. THIS IS NOT A TEST OF THE EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM. THIS IS REAL LIFE, WHICH IS FULL OF UNEXPECTED SURPRISES…BOTH GOOD AND BAD. TODAY, THIS DISRUPTION WILL BE A BAD ONE. DO NOT PANIC. YOU WILL BE FREE TO RETURN TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED LIFE WHEN I SAY SO, BUT LIFE AS YOU KNOW IT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!!!!******
I don’t know about you, but that seems to be my world these days. I am not quite sure what I did to upset the universe, but lately my world has been full of bad unexpected interruptions…with no escape. There was a time when writing allowed me to escape the overwhelming disruptions of life, but lately friends, writing has been torture like everything else. Before March 23, 2016, I sat down at my PC and the thoughts flowed so quickly that I could barely type fast enough to capture them. Normally, I am hovered over the keyboard frantically trying to type my thoughts as fast as I can before I lose them. Lately though, I’ve found myself unable to focus and uninterested. Until recently, like 5 minutes ago, all of my writings seemed dark, uninspiring, and quite frankly concerning. Everything I wrote had the same theme…death.
Now, before you get all concerned and call the authorities or flood my email with concern, allow me to clarify. My writings and thoughts DO NOT center around MY DEATH. They center around the death, actually the murder, that my family recently experienced. To say that this time has been overwhelming would be a understatement. An unexpected death is traumatizing and all consuming. I gotta say though, death generally is pretty darn disruptive to life. Honestly, I can’t think of anyting more disruptive than death. Seriously, nothing ruins a good time like death. Once death shows up…there is no more fun to be had.
It’s kinda funny, death is such a fun snatcher…yet an expected but usually unwanted visitor. Death is a visitor that you know at some point will arrive. See, there are very few things in life that are certain…but there are some. The two obvious ones, in my opinion, death and taxes. Yep, you read that right. Death and taxes, in my opinion, are absolute certainties. Listen, in the world according to me, if you are lucky enough to be born, at some point you will certainly die (hopefully you have bacon before you go). And, before you die, at some point you will have to pay taxes. I’m sure minds everywhere are now blown. Well, you’re welcome! Who knew you could have bacon and pay your taxes before you die? Oddly enough though, I think I find the certainty of taxes more frightening than death…but I digress.
Given the certainty of death and how disruptive it can be, how does one deal with it when it does decide to show? Asked another way, what do you do when life as you know it is disrupted by Captain No Fun A.K.A. Mr. Fun Be Gone To Never Return Again A.K.A. Death? Well, you treat it like you would any other disruption. BOOM!
If you have been reading this blog on a regular basis, then you know I have battled with chronic illness and pain since I was 7 years old. I’ve shared at length my struggles, triumphs, set backs, and derailed plans. One thing I think my writing makes clear is that life with tchronic illness and pain is VERY disruptive. Well, if you have been reading this blog then you also know that I recently discovered the power of not fighting how overwhelming and disruptive life with chronic illness and pain can be. Well freinds, that same philosophy applies to dealing with a disruption of life by death. Now, before I continue, let me just say that this only applies when the death causing a disruption is not your own death. If the death is in fact your own…well, that’s a game changer and my words don’t matter because you are dead and not reading them. Now back to it.
Like chronic illness, when you find youself overwhelmed by a disruption from death, it is a good idea to see a professional. As you have likely gathered from this blog, I am a BIG proponent of utilizing mental health services. Also, like chronic illness and pain, it is important to have a great support system. I have been relying on my friends and family like never before when dealing with the death of my cousin. People have prepared meals, said prayers, sat with me while I cried, made me laugh, and just stared at me when I demanded to just sit in silence. The point, support systems are very important.
When you battle chronic illness and pain, you have to be VERY diligent about monitoring your stress. For us, even good stress is bad stress. Sadly, the slightest increase in our stress level, can wreak havoc on our bodies. So, here is what I learned from dealing with my recent significant increase in my stress levels while battling chronic illness and pain:
- Rely on your support system
- Don’t be afraid to step away
- Don’t fight the disruption
- Realize that adults do in fact cry
- Retreating to the covers to rest your mind and body is ok
For those of us battling chronic illness and pain, dealing with stress from death can be like trying to navigate a landmine. You can do it and survive…but you have to be VERY careful where you step and how you maneuver.