Before the Calm
I sit here, on this bleak and dismal December morning, with my head spinning – how is Christmas only 15 days away? I am not ready for this. I am not feeling that Christmas Spirit one expects to feel this time of year. What I have been feeling is anxious, stressed, and fatigued. And it is greatly affecting me – seeping into my everyday and making it a struggle to function. My mood is low. My thoughts are muddled. I cannot concentrate and therefore I struggle to write. I want to curl up into a ball and hide away from the world. But I cannot. I have obligations to attend to, my greatest being my child. And I realize [post-cancer] this is my every-year…
Late autumn is difficult for me, as it can be for so many. For me, it signifies finality. The vibrancy of the early autumn days – the rich reds, golds, and yellows – have vanished. Everywhere I look I see shadows of grey, and shades of murky brown. The landscape is barren. The skies are overcast. The days are short. It is the end of a life cycle and this deeply affects me. I sense the fragility of life so acutely, and it saddens me. As we plod onward, life around us has prepared for an end.
Finality. And this finality triggers an emotional response within me. It’s like a tidal wave of feelings emerging from my depths – feelings of angst, sadness, fear, and vulnerability. How does one function through their everyday, with this tidal wave bearing down on them? How does one pretend to be okay when they are feeling so desolate? I know that I have reflected on this before in my post Riding the Waves. I know that the tidal wave will crash against the shores and create a pool of calm. I know this. But it does not make the wave any less frightening to ride.
Recognizing your triggers (e.g., late autumn is mine) and accepting how they can make you feel is a step toward finding that inner calm. It is important to explore each emotion, give recognition to it, and allow yourself to feel those muddled and frightening feelings without self-judgement. What I have always found helpful for myself (as explored in my post Coping Through), is creating an environment where I feel safe, warm, and settled. I light candles, and I listen to the soft, rich tones of crooners of old. For my emotional distress I allow the tears to flow, and my eyes to rest; I journal my thoughts as I sip on a latte. For my physical pain I use my essential oils, my heating pad, and my focused stretches. During these anxious moments – these tidal waves – I take deep, steady breaths, and I allow my thoughts to cycle through from the painful to the joyous. I work through each emotion. And it is work. But, each day that I focus on slow and steady healing I feel stronger, steadier, and calmer.
And though we are only 15 days away from Christmas and I am not yet feeling that Christmas Spirit I know that I can still find little moments of joy if not for the benefit of me, then at least for the benefit of my 6-year old son. Because, I know the depths of my own courage and I know that I can ride these waves.
I will find my inner calm. And for those who struggle as I do, I hope that you can find yours too.
Before the Calm. Published by Crystal Joy Hall