Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When will it be normal?

Mess and disorganization are very upsetting to me.

I'm trying to figure out how to cope with the mess I am forced to live in, just now, and be happy.  I'm struggling.  I'm learning things about myself I don't like very much.  One thing I've learned is that right now and I mean RIGHT NOW, all I want to do is eat.  I want to get a sandwich and chips and eat.  It's not a meal time and I'm really not hungry, but the desire to stuff these helpless feelings down deep inside me with food is very strong.  I don't like it.  And, I don't want to eat.

Another unhealthy coping mechanism I'm using is anger.  I'm crabby and angry.  I know my house was not the most broken by Irene, by far.  I know there are many others in far worse shape than I am, but my feelings are real.  I find myself lashing out or using an unpleasant tone when I respond to others.  Especially people who are complaining about throwing out 5 lbs. of hamburger because their power was off for 2 or 3 days.  I want to tell them to Shut UP!  This is not a good thing.  I think about people I admire.  People with the ability to show grace under pressure.  People with the ability to smile in the face of personal problems.  How Do They Do IT?  I want to be like that.  I want to smile.  I just can't make my face do it right now.

And, of course, there is my good friend alcohol.  Oh friend, I don't want to spend so much time with you.  It certainly numbs me to these crummy feelings, but it doesn't make them go away.  When the soothing effects of alcohol wear off, my feelings are Right There.  Big as life.  No better than they were before I drank.  And, alcohol is fattening.  And, my self control and "noshing" go unchecked under its influence.  This is not good.

What I know, intellectually, is that my house is fixable.  It's going to take a long time to get the insurance adjuster out to my house, but in the end, my house is fixable.  I'm going to need to get my roof fixed.  Maybe I'll feel better when I have a better patch on the roof than a piece of plastic.  Maybe.  I know I will have to pay a hefty deductible to get everything that needs to be fixed, fixed.  I struggle with the amount of the deductible and the cost of the work that needs to be done.  Btw, we can all thank Katrina for the change in the insurance standards and the amount of the deductibles now being 2-3% of your property value.  I know I will need to re-insulate my attic.  I know I will have to have the drywall replaced in my son's room.  Btw, drywalling is super messy.  I know I will have to have the carpet replaced in my son's room and probably the hallway.  I hope I can get it to match the carpet that won't be replaced.  I will paint, clean, get new drapes, get new light fixtures, redecorate... get back to normal.  And this is just INSIDE THE HOUSE.  Let's chat about my yard.  The tree guys we hired to remove the tree from the roof, dropped the tree on my deck.  I really hate that deck, but... another mess.  I have 20 trees either on the ground or leaning.  These have to be cut and removed.  Sorry husband, there is NO WAY we need that much fire wood.  All the trees on the ground came out of the ground.  The root balls are GIGANTIC.  I don't need ten new water features in my yard and I can tell you, dirt is expensive.

These are all the things I know.  I'm a smart cookie.  But, I have feelings.  And I hate my feelings right now.

I know, intellectually, my feelings do not control me.  My feelings are not facts.  My feelings are not reality.  However, my feelings are very strong.  I'm having difficulty overcoming my feelings.  I don't want to use food or alcohol or hostility to people around me to make myself feel better.  But, right now, I'm at a loss.   I didn't feel this way yesterday, but today I do.

Let me tell you a little story I feel may be contributing to my poor attitude.  Monday I went to work.  There was really nothing for me to do at home.  The tree guy was coming to remove the tree from the house, and my husband agreed to take the day (morning) off to be home for that.  Really, guys like cranes and ropes and chainsaws and those things really do nothing for me.  So, I went to work.  I drove through our neighborhood.  It's not easy to drive through my neighborhood.  There are trees leaning, branches piled up on the shoulders of the road, branches sticking out into the road.  It makes it hard to concentrate on driving because your eyes are drawn to the devastation all around you.  But, I get out to the main road and away from my neighborhood and things begin to look normal.  I get to my office, and it looks normal.  Sure, there is some damage and some of the lights are out, but it's not too bad.  So I work.  I focus on what feels normal to me.  Work.  Then my hairdresser calls and asks me if I would like to come in for color.  (she canceled me me on Friday, before the storm, to do her own hurricane prep)  I agree to come in.  I need the color.  While driving to her salon I notice all the devastation on Rt. 5, north of the college I work at.  There are areas with power lines on the ground.  So many trees are down, I can even begin to count them.  There are SMECO trucks everywhere.  I get to my friend's salon and things seem normal.  We chat.  We tell storm stories.  It all feels so removed from me, like the hurricane is something that happened to someone else, as I sit in the chair and she colors my hair.  We finish and I pay.  I now know things are NOT really normal, because I didn't even think to make my next appointment.  Normally, I would.  (maybe this misstep is more telling than I first thought)  I drive home.  I enter my neighborhood.  And I am shocked by the look of it.  I was just there this morning.  Nothing has changed.  Why am I shocked?  And this was just the first time I struggled through these feelings.  It keeps happening to me.  Every time I look around my yard or my street or my neighborhood, I'm shocked at the devastation.  It doesn't feel normal to me.

So, I know what my desire is.  My desire is to get back to normal.  My normal.  But it's a long way from now to normal.  The trick is to learn how to make the transition in the most healthy way.  *Sigh*  Now this is off my chest.  I know it sounds like a big whine.  (yeah, pass the cheese)  I needed to do this.  I don't feel like eating anymore.  I think this is good.  Thanks for letting me share.  It feels good to talk about it.  I may need to do this again.  :)





32 comments:

  1. Friend most of the time our feelings just need an outlet.  Someone to hear them someone to understand that they are indeed valid.  I get the exact same way when I am under pressure or even when I'm not, just when I'm being bratty.  The thoughts that run through my head of what I want to say sometimes scare me.  I always resort to two things when I'm in a funk.  Over-spending and not taking good care of my body.  o_O  Seems like I do those things quite often.  We are going through a lot of the same things up here on the Chesapeake Bay.  I pray that God brings peace among the mess to you.  It's o.k. to vent in the mean time.  :o)

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  2. Happiness is so elusive, isn't it?  There's always a barrier to happiness -- something that wants to jump in and steal it from us. But joy is another matter. And that's my pursuit.

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  3. Sometimes we just have to dump it all out and start fresh. I pray your feelings are being more gentle to you now. I know mine sure like to rake me over the coals from time to time!

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  4. honesty...what an authentic post - we all live these stories...

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  5. Thanks.  I guess it does feel better to know I'm not alone.

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  6. Yes.  Joy.  I have joy, but happiness in the face of difficulties.  Positivity in the face of negative circumstances.  This is my goal.

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  7. Thanks for listening ms. amber.  Are you ok up there?

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  8. I love coming here and reading your words.  Real.  Words.  It's hard and I often find myself overwhelmed by the ever growing to do list... yet I try to remind myself to take it slow.  A little at a time.  Love hearing your thoughts.  Let's be proud together that our lives aren't "normal" :)

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  9. Sometimes talking is good fo the soul - like puss oozing from a wound, cleaning out the fester stuff. So sorry about your tree, your house and deck. Hoping for a better than normal soon!

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  10. Hey i feel that need to return to normal. it is normal. smiles. i hope it returns there soon. feel free to air it out any time....

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  11. I'm glad you got your feelings out, happygirl.  So good not to keep them bottled up.  Hang in there.

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  12. Thank you.  I need to find my smiles... again.

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  13. Thanks, but... um... the analogy...  I guess it is exactly right.  

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  14.  You are so sweet.  Ok, I'll be glad my life isn't normal.  Or, at least I'll try.

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  15. I'm so sorry for all the devastation that you've experienced.  After the week we've had, I understand a bit how you feel.  Everything seems normal and then I return home, see all the flowers on the pool fence and WHAM! the grief jumps out and hits me.  *hugs* I am praying that you will experience the Holy Spirit working in you to bring about the change you desire to see, like increased self-control. *hugs*

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  16. I am so sorry for your loss.  I know my house will be fixed, but when you lose someone, it is forever or, as we believe, 'til Jesus brings us home.  Thanks for the perspective.  :)

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  17. Disaster hitting home is never easy...we went through the flood in 2008.... and the feelings so raw in the moment. I tried to focus only on the task I was dealing with. When I would see the visuals - overwhelming -I would focus on the people and thank God they are alive and working on their homes like I was- strength training in the making for the soul!! I remember getting offended by people who would say well yours wasnt as bad as mine or when it would be talked about as trivial. Everyone copes their own way. minimizing,  anesthetizing or exaggerated. Feelings how every they come or we use them are how we feel. Look up! Behold the goodness of God in the midst of trail. Look for the little nuggets of love around you! Like all these lovely comments! :0)

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  18. I'm so sorry you had to deal with all this.  I remember how long it took to clean up after Hugo. And how long it took to feel like normal again.  Praying you get back to your normal soon, that you rest in the Lord. 

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  19.  grief. it is hard. Great job expressing yourself and staying away from that sandwich.
    like the others here, I wish it was  easier....for you...and the others reclaiming their lives after the hurricane.   YOU are the face for me with the hurricane victims and YOU are the one I wonder about and pray for by name. blessings happygirl.

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  20. Oh momma, there are SO MANY people worse off than I am.  Thank you so much for your prayers.  I am feeling the love.  I am praying for families who have lost EVERYTHING, including loved ones.  So sad.  Again, thank you.

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  21.  You feel my pain.  Thank you.

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  22.  I can't get over the love poured upon me.  Yes, my home has been invaded by tree, water, and weather.  I guess that is the violation I feel.

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  23. I'm so glad that the community in this blog world is a place where you feel safe sharing your grief because it is far better to spew it out here than to let it fester and drive you to all of those other things that aren't terribly good for you.  And, it lets us know how to pray for you.  I will be praying that things come together quickly and that God shows you how He is in the midst of all this.

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  24. Thanks for the follow. I'm so encouraged by my blog friends. They are amazing.

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  25. I'm so glad you're able to process your grief here. Thank you for your honesty. I'm lifting you up right now.

    Mel

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  26. oh girl. my heart aches with yours. i wish i could hug you.

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  27. All this working in warzones and natural disaster zones during the last few years has taught me that it's normal and ok to be upset. At first I was impressed by those people who demonstrated resilience and positivity in the midst of hardship. Now I'm impressed by people who are honest. You're amazing for having such insight into your own processing of a completely valid trauma.

    And I think you may have successfully talked me out of buying a house. I certainly don't envy you the amount of work you have ahead and I don't know how you keep up.

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  28. It is so hard to be present to our feelings when they are uncomfortable and our life is so chaotic...and yet, this is sometimes the most fertile ground for learning, growth and healing...I'm so sorry you are going through so much and pray you will experience ease more and more as things come together.

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  29. Valerie @ Chateau A La ModeSeptember 2, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Hello happy girl, you've been through alot so all your feelings are perfectly normal. The good thing is you are dealing with your feelings and this is a great place for you to do this. Know wonder you feel better. Keep doing what you're doing and I promise you will smile again. Hugs to you!

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  30. I cannot imagine the devastation and to see it everywhere would indeed be overwhelming. Talking through your feelings is the best thing that you can do for yourself though. And if you have a shitty day or two, SO WHAT! I think having a tree sticking out of your roof allows you to be entitled. Just keep breathing (in between having sips of your vino). Eventually it will come back together again. 

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  31. I think that your feelings are healthy and what happens as part of a grieving process. It is like grieving a loss--shock, sadness, anger, and finally I get to the acceptance part in which I am able to take some action.  It took us so long to get back to any kind of "normal" after Hurricane Hugo.  Just getting through 23 days without power was bad enough.  Then we had to deal with the devastation at work in which a building was destroyed. But the human spirit does persevere.  It does take time to grieve it all though.

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