Anthony had heart surgery about 8 months ago. Once he could sit up on his own and work again, I thought it was all over, and things would go back to normal. But I started experiencing things I never have before – lack of motivation. Not enjoying my job like I usually do. Feeling like an exposed nerve, where the smallest thing could turn my day into a struggle.
My sister suggested I see a therapist. The therapist said that I was depressed. I had only experienced these symptoms one other time in my life, and it didn’t feel as set in and gripping – it was a little scary to admit this was happening, when the worst was over. Anthony was fine. So what was the problem?
Apparently the experience was way more traumatizing than anyone really acknowledged. There were moments before and after the surgery that I only realized were traumatizing and intense once I looked back on them months later. Anthony’s face right before they wheeled him into surgery. Seeing him warm and well afterward and feeling the biggest relief I’ve ever felt in my life. Feeling it all spill out when I broke down in the bathroom after it was all over.
I kept saying to my therapist that I didn’t understand why this was an issue now, when it was over and done with. She would just say, “You were afraid that the person closest to you was going to die.” She had to say that about 3 times in various sessions until that really sunk in – I had powered through it with an optimistic attitude while it was happening, and every time she said it now I couldn’t help but start to cry. It’s even hard for me to say those words now – to admit that that was a possibility.
Once I realized that it was okay to be depressed about something that happened months ago, it was easier. I knew that things were not normal right now – I gave myself a break for not grocery shopping or getting random errands done. But I kept working out, knowing that would help with my mood swings that felt out of my control.
And 8 months after the surgery, and after 5 months of therapy, I feel like I am finally coming out of a fog. It feels like getting better after the flu – you feel your energy come back and you finally want to do things like get dressed and be social and outgoing.
I finally feel like myself again – my default setting is happy and satisfied. I feel present and capable of handling my emotions and relationships, even more than I did before the surgery. Obviously Anthony and I have gotten so much closer through all of this, and it’s so nice to have felt secure in our relationship the entire time I was feeling that way. I feel like my relationship and I came out stronger on the other end. Isn’t that how it always goes?
I find myself actually talking to people at work rather than completely avoiding all unnecessary contact. I felt so insecure about making new friends and putting myself out there, and I wasn’t used to that voice in my head saying I was fat, annoying, desperate… I finally feel my confident, “I don’t give a f@#k” self coming back to the forefront.
I feel like I have turned a corner, and I feel the tide shifting once again. I just had my one year anniversary of working in my current position, Anthony is close to graduating, and we are starting to see a lot of potential new friends around us.
Goodbye fog – hello sun.