Updated: Sep 9, 2020
I know I preach the value of stillness (and I truly believe in its importance), but I have recently noticed an increased need to constantly move, think, or do. I think this pandemic has heightened my need for movement because I would otherwise be filling my time with the daily activities of everyday "normal" life, and stillness would be a welcomed relief. But with sheltering in place, and minimized interactions outside of my home, I have had a lot more of "alone" time. And I know I have so much to be thankful for, because there are so many people and families struggling with more consequential challenges than this.
For the past couple of months I’ve been feeling a ramped up need to be in motion. That motion takes on the form of my mind just racing with thoughts and ideas, reading, taking a walk (usually briskly while listening to a podcast to keep my mind occupied), binge watching a few episodes of my favorite show, working on a sudoku or some puzzle, getting on the computer to get work done or just surf the Internet, doing chores, or even just sitting and thinking, thinking, thinking. And when I try to settle myself down for a moment of meditation or stillness, I find myself feeling antsy. Then within a few minutes, I find myself in a place of sadness and pain.
I think of my child. I miss her. (We have a loving and close relationship, but she now lives several hours away). I hope she’s ok. I’m sad over her stolen childhood. I try not to go there, and tell myself "Don't start conjuring up images of when she was a little girl." (That can be a trigger for me.) I start to wonder how she is doing. Does she have days like I do where it’s a struggle? Is she taking care of herself? Is she safe and making healthy choices? Is she going to be ok? Do I reach out to her? Oh man, I just want to hug her and tell her I’m so sorry about what happened, I love her, I hope she’s feeling supported, and mostly I want to do something so that she believes in and loves herself. Of course, when I feel this way, I don’t reach out because I know it would just be me laying my shit on her, it will be me thinking and acting like she needs fixing, and I know well enough now that that’s not supportive of her. If anything, I might end up sending her a quick text or silly Snapchat to let her know she’s on my mind. Something with a fun filter or cute emoji.
Then my thoughts turn to my dad. I’ve lost him. I was expecting (and looking forward) to spending time with him and supporting him after my mother died. I envisioned him perhaps moving to a retirement community nearby, or me making regular road trips to visit with him. I worry about him and it saddens me to think that he is alone. But I also cannot imagine having any sort of relationship with him. Perhaps if he admitted to his wrong doings, but when he says he ‘cannot remember’ I then cannot imagine what a relationship with him would even look like. What would our interactions be like when there is this denial between us?
All of these thoughts and emotions run through me and so I turn to something to distract me from these thoughts. I know my therapist, like any good one, will say that it is important to sit with these feelings. To not push them away. But I’ve been sitting with these feelings for two and a half years now. I’m so tired of them.
I’m not afraid of the emotional pain. I’m just so weary of it.