I've debated writing this piece because it's not the most uplifting subject. Then again, I'm hoping it is hopeful by the time I'm finished. Deep breath.
There aren't any words to adequately explain or describe 2020. I don't even need to list the events of this year for you to get the point. It has not been good. Not only in our country but around the world.
As a person who takes medication for depression and anxiety, I thought I was doing okay. I try not to read or watch the news but enough of it gets through for me to keep up on current events. And enough of it has gotten through to lead to a bit of an emotional breakdown the other day. I don't know what the catalyst was, I just know it hit hard. It was the perfect storm of all that is going on, my connections to parts of it, and a change in my medications at a time I probably shouldn't be making changes. Who knew?
For an entire day, a well of emotion built up in me and got let out with a lot of tears and a physical upheaval of my heart. I haven't cried this much in a long, long time. It hurt. I hurt. And I couldn't stop it. So I let it happen. At one point I was sitting in the grass outside just sobbing. My little kitty, Zoe, wandered up and curled up in my lap. She knew and she comforted me in the best way-cuddle and purr.
So what brought this on? I don't really know specifically but the situation with the wildfires reminded me of the summer of 2000 when I was on fire assignment from July 23 to October 16 with 2 days off. Needless to say, I had a bit of PTSD and had to do some counseling to wrap my brain around my emotions. Wildfires bring out the best and the absolute worst in people. To put it plainly, it's scary.
What people don't understand it that when it happens, we really don't have any control. Not over the weather, the conditions, where it's going to go, what it's going to burn. These big fires thumb their noses at our attempts and we are left doing the best we can even knowing it isn't enough to save a house, and animal, a person, a favorite place. What happens is fear, and then blame, and then anger. So not only do we, on the fireline, fight the fire, we fight the fear of many people and it's ugly. We take it to heart without even knowing it.
Add in this whole COVID thing and a whole new layer of fear gets added to our lives. We are going through the stages of grief before we realize we haven't lost anything yet. Denial, Anger, Bargaining.... We are again up against another thing we have no real control over. But, we soldier along, doing our best to assimilate it in our minds and hearts.
Social unrest in the form of racial equality, or more, equality for everyone. Why is it so hard to treat everyone with kindness? I don't get it. I never have. But it's happening. And sadly, it has to come to this for change to occur. It's ugly. Is the timing bad? When is it ever the right time to deal with something so important and necessary? As a woman, I've been in this battle forever.
And politics. Talk about a dysfunctional family.... What is the real problem? When will I ever get to vote for someone I want instead of the lesser of two evils? Both parties are a mess and while I refuse to vote along party lines, I still want to be able to talk about my choice without girding my loins for battle. The whole process of elections has become a mud throwing contest of epic proportions instead of a this is what I can do platform. Yeah, its been this way for some time but it seems to get worse and worse. It makes my stomach hurt. Another thing I can't control.
So, on September 12, 2020, right in the middle of changing happy pills, I burst. Waves of despair and sadness. I felt so helpless and as with any kind of really deep hurt, I wondered when it would end and prayed it would be soon. This kind of pain is part of life but I don't have to like it. And I don't have to care about what it will teach me or what I'll appreciate when it's over. In these moments, I just want it to be over.
And it was the next day. Not totally but way better. I had a counselor years ago that taught me how to cry. Like honest crying. Get it out, don't hold it back, make noise, let the snot drip kind of cry. I did that. Even with all the smoke that's been drying out my eyes, they cleared and became bright and shiny. Catharsis at its best. Painful but necessary at times.
So what is it that gets us through the hard times? For me, it's not being afraid to let go knowing it's painful. Cry, cry, cry. It's family and friends to lean on and letting them in on my pain instead of hiding it. It's paying attention to every day moments that lift my heart, the geese flying over morning and evening on their way to their feeding grounds and back, honking away. Or just watching my 3 month old kitten's brain work. I can report that her attention span is .04 seconds and her joyfulness at every little thing is just what the doctor ordered. And many more things. Many. More. Things. Why is getting caught up in the ugly easier than remembering to take in the beauty? It's kinda like, why is it so much harder to lose weight than gain it? It just is. Until we've had enough and do something about it.
So, there you have it. My brain at work, battling my heart for purchase. All I can say is 'play nice, you two!'