That quintessential lazy Sunday morning we almost never experience as a family because my husband is usually at work. This past Sunday was different, my husband was home and we all stayed in our pyjamas until almost 10:00am!
We started the morning with a nice breakfast and then Olivia was asking to see some pictures of her when she was young. We decided to look at some old photos from our vacation to Spain a few years ago. At that time we only had Olivia.
It was fun to relive that trip. The first picture was of my daughter in Plaza del Sol in the centre of Madrid. When looking at that picture, I can remember that I was stressed because she had barely slept the night before. My next thought was that I couldn’t believe that that had stressed me out. Was my only worry that she would be cranky? If I had only known what true stress was. If Oscar had barely slept, I would be panicking that he would have a seizure. Then I thought, how could we ever do a trip like that with Oscar?
The photos continued.
We went to a flamenco bar in Seville. Our one late night out with Olivia. (She had probably gone to bed at 9:30pm, so not even really that late). I thought, I could never or would never do that with Oscar. Why? I would be worried about his medication schedule and panicked with the lack of sleep causing an increased risk of seizures.
We finished with the pictures and went about the rest of the day.
As we started preparing dinner my husband said, “Alright, what is going on, you have been short with me all day.”… I had been???
Of course I denied it and we bickered a little bit and then I said that it must just be that I haven’t had a break in awhile. And of course my husband said to go take a break! So I took a minute. I made a tea and went upstairs.
Then I reflected…Why had I been short? I don’t want to be short. I then realized that I was feeling all of the emotions associated with grief. Why???
I had been reminded of the life that I used to have and was grieving the loss of that life. To some it may be difficult to understand why this can be so painful to someone, but it is.
I did not recognize or understand why I had been acting so emotionally. I wasn’t able to make that connection until I took a moment for reflection. The best way I have come to describe this is that the emotional part of my brain is unable to connect to the rational part of my brain.
I have mentioned this to my social worker before. Regardless of what my rational brain “knows”, it is sometimes still unable to neutralize what my emotional brain “feels”. I am learning that this is a common characteristic amongst people who have experienced trauma.
I have been in therapy for two years (less frequently now), I read about trauma, I work on myself and despite all “I know” there is still a disconnect in my brain. My rational brain is sometimes still unable to counterbalance my emotions. I think that the more frequently I can create a pathway between my emotional and rational brain the more often I will have an appropriate emotional response.
What I learned from this is that reflection helps.
What I learned is that in order to reflect, I need a second.