Wednesday, January 1, 2014

a sinking horse and a case of "the afters..."

there often comes a point after a crisis or high stress situation, or even after a climactic life event in which you come down and the dust settles.  this seems to be the pattern within our own family.  for us it sighed hard and deep, in an exhausting "did we really just do that again?".  this "letdown" is often one of the hardest phases to wrestle through. that emotional crash.  a place where the soft lens has been taken off of your reality and your thoughts and emotions have finally found a place to rest.  and you struggle with what to do with them.  because many of them are unpleasant and unwanted.  the adrenaline which kept you going and moving forward seems to dissipate.  and that heavy thick cloud of yuck looms over you.

i like to call this a case of "the afters."

i think i hardly cried throughout brayden's last episode.  and since yesterday evening, i've been fighting back tears by the hour.  ready to cry over the tiniest of things...like my inability to easily open a jar of pickles.  and although laundry is stacked high and i have several days of backed up housework and bills to pay, i don't feel like doing much of anything.  besides possibly staying locked in my bedroom all day.  or running away.  i won't lie, sometimes that thought crosses my mind.  i find it most difficult to accomplish any task and feel not an ounce of energy or desire to propel my way forward.

ugh.  "the afters..."

not a fun place to be.  no rosy airbrushed finish to cover it all up.  it's a restlessness to do, but feeling like you're stuck in knee-deep mud.  a bit like the scene from The Neverending Story where Atreyu and Artax cross the Swamp of Sadness.  The boy screams, "Artax, your'e sinking!"And pleads for him to "Fight against the sadness, Artax!"  yeah, a bit like that.  but maybe not so melodramatic.  for it's more of a dull sadness that threatens to pull you deeper.  and even so, i know i'm not going fully under.

there's guilt in "the afters" too...for you know you have much to be thankful for, yet have a hard time remaining in that state of gratitude.  what we prayed for was answered.  our son got healthy.  he was discharged.  he's home.  it was the smoothest hospital visit we've had yet.  and his shortest episode to date.  we should be hailing "hallelujahs" all day.  for all the things that matter most.  so yeah, when "the afters" try to pull you down into their swamp of sadness, you feel guilty for even letting yourself put a toe into those waters.

so what to do when caught up in "the afters?"

i might just stay in my pj's all day.  braless and all, with rat-nested hair.  but i'll throw that "one more load" into the washing machine.  and that "one more kiddo" into the sudsy tub.  and besides posting a new year's eve pic on facebook or instagram i'll probably unplug from all social media.  and i probably won't answer my phone or texts...and may just unplug and disconnect all together from the outside world as i try to make sense within my own little world.  because sometimes distance and breathing room act as the rope that pulls you out of that sinking sand.  and sometimes you have to intentionally disconnect in order to purposefully reconnect.

and in the unplugging, i will aim to replug and reconnect myself to the One who fully charges.  whose power and instant messaging brings back life to this empty battery.  the One who "likes" all my life posts and pictures, and always leaves a comment.  even on the real and ugly ones.  i'll really try to be tender and gentle and fully present with my kids today.  and make sure i have a smile on my face for my husband who comes home tonight.  who also struggles with "the afters," yet doesn't have adequate down time to rest and wrestle through it.

and i'll wear love and compassion and grace upon my heart. until tomorrow sweeps in on her mercy horse.

for that horse,
is one that never sinks...
even in "the afters."

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