Surviving 2020 - almost a whole year of physical, mental and emotional challenges/turmoil seemed huge. Little did the world know 2021 would throw its share of curveballs and uncertainty - making it as hard or harder than 2020 from a pandemic perspective.
I think the isolation and divisiveness has traumatized much of the world, and that doesn't even take into account the normal life challenges that would normally be mentally exhausting on their own.
When Emily was diagnosed in March with Type 1 diabetes after almost a week at Childrens, I started having anxiety attacks all day long shortly after we got home. My family would randomly find me laying on the floor with my legs up in the air (or against a wall) trying to breath through the racing heart and feeling like I was going to puke or pass out.
I've been on cipralex - an anti depressant used for anxiety - since after I completed my cancer treatment but was paralyzed with fear about re-occurrence. I'm such a lightweight when it comes to drugs that I only needed half a pill (5mg) to settle the anxiety. It now helps with my hot flashes from the hysterectomy.
When the all day panic attacks started after we got home from the hospital with Em's new diagnosis, the 5mg wasn't cutting it. I had to up it to a full pill a day. That allowed me to function again and settled the panic attacks.
I dropped back down to half a pill a month later when it seemed like we had a better hold on things. Then Em hit a very rough patch emotionally as her new reality started to hit her of living with constant insulin injections every time she ate, I unraveled again. Some of my biggest fears as a parent left me once again laying on the floor, legs up, breathing through the anxiety.
It was made worse by my thinking all the stress would lead to a stroke (...and what would Phil do on his own? and what if he had a stroke and kids were orphaned? and...and...and...)
Talking to Andrea- one of the few people I opened up to - we decided maybe staying on the full pill for all the firsts of the first year of diagnosis might not be a bad idea. I could re-evaluate then. My amazing family doc agreed and was very supportive of whatever I wanted to do. Once we upped the dose, the panic attacks settled again.
Em found her way out of the darkness and is in a much better place with regards to her diagnosis. We started an insulin pump at the end of November and this disease is finally starting to feel like a part of our lives and not the main event.
And then my Grandma died December 1. Her quality of life had been decreasing the last few months especially but she was the fiery, funny, matriarch of our family and honestly a world without out her seemed...not possible. My family lives out east, and every single trip back, there was always lots of visits with Grandma. I have never visited and not seen her. I think the first trip back will be hard.
There are some other things going on that have made me really hate 2021 but they are not things for me to share or talk about as they are not mine to share. I don't say this to be evasive, but just to say without Covid and all that has entailed, 2021 would have been one of the most challenging and heartbreaking years. Ever.
All this to say I think a lot of us are hurting or have been through tough things this year - silently. I know for me I feel like it's been hard for the whole world - how can I justify laying my burdens on anyone else?
It's made me turn into my family and made it very hard to see friends I desperately want to see. How do I answer the question "how have you been" without lying or sounding like "poor me" when I know their dealing with their own stuff?
I am scared of what will happen if I do go there. Tears this year have been few. Its just been easier to bury the hard feelings then deal with them.
And I guess that's why I felt the need to write this post. I don't want to go into 2022 - a year full of new beginnings - making the same unhealthy decisions. Now that we have a much better hold on the diabetes stuff, I want to "un pause" my life. Because that's how its felt the last year (maybe 2). Like its been paused - while I try to just keep my head above water (often unsuccessfully).
Maybe I haven't given myself enough grace for what we have had to adjust to, but I feel like now its time to grow again - not simply exist.
A better parent.
A better daughter.
A better Sister.
A better wife.
I'm going into 2022 not fiercely, but gently. And I hope that makes all the difference.