Sunday, May 1, 2011

One thing that I did not expect when this nightmare started 2 months ago was that I would find myself changing.  My whole personal style is getting a bit of an overhaul.  I am going less for the frummy/hippy look and more for the classic/up to date look.  The truth is that I did not even realize it until I was getting dressed to go to lunch today and I realized that my outfit would look as in place at tea with the queen as it would at shabbat lunch where we were going.

Tonight when Jason and I went out for a little while I found myself reaching for a more stylish and clunky style of jewelery than I am normally known for.  I wore a backwards golf cap rather than my typical mitpachat.  Truth is, over the last few weeks I have been moving away from mitpachot towards hats more and more.  I am also thinking of getting another piercing in each ear (for a total of 3 in each) and one up top on one side.

Now obviously one issue is that my wardrobe is changing because things that I have not been able to do up since I was in high school now have extra room in them (amazing what the depression diet can do for your hips) but when I stop to think about it, I think that I am trying to distance myself from the person who lost Gabbi.  If I make myself a different person, than maybe it will stop hurting so much.  Sounds ridiculous when I actually see it written out like that, but I think somewhere in the back of my subconscious my marshmallow brain actually believes that it will work.

Once I realized that, I figured I should wait on the extra piercings until I am sure I am not doing it for totally the wrong reasons and so I will not really regret them later.   Logically a new pair of shoes, even  if they are really cool looking, is not going  to take away the pain in my heart.  No matter what I wear or what I pierce or the fact that I am in better shape that I have been in since I had mandatory gym classes in high school, I am still going to be the same Rachel that lost my sweet little Gabbi at 32 weeks unexpectedly.  I am still going to be the same Rachel who has to find a way to get up each morning, get dressed in whatever I can find that fits, and find a way to put one foot in front of the other all day until I can going back to sleep to forget the nightmare that is my daytime life.

I find that the busier I stay the less I think about it and the less it hurts.  Of course, then when I stop being busy it comes back in  full force often worse than it might have been otherwise.  Starting back to work has helped.  As has our Rabbi allowing my to listen to music this sefira to keep my mind busy.  I have put stupid games on my phone so that if I am stuck in a waiting room or on a bus I don't have to give myself time to think.

My therapists all say I am doing very well and I am right where I should be.  The problem is that I don't feel like I am where I should be.  I will be doing fine for a few days then WHAM! something will trigger a crying fit or an anxiety attack and I feel like I am right back where I was 2 months ago.

Friday was ridiculous.  I sort of let time get away from me because I was watching the royal wedding with Channah.  Granted I was being sort of productive by combing her hair for bugs while we watched, but even so by the time I got around to showering and getting ready for shabbat it was much later than I would have liked.

I had a few things going on at once- simple things- things I can normally handle, and I just lost it and fell apart.  It really was nothing major- Channah trying to find tights, looking for a proper length table cloth, trying to find my shoes- normal erev shabbat things.  And all of a sudden I was sitting on my bed shaking and hyperventilating with tears running down my cheeks.  I ceased functioning with no prior warning and was at a total loss as to how to continue.  Jason anded up medicating me and sitting with me while I lay down for 15 minutes until the medication took  effect and being late for shul.  I was then able to pick myself up and finish getting dinner together and the kitchen swept and the table set.  But the point is, it came for no reason, out of nowhere, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.   It scares me that with no notice I can lose all control.

Maybe that is why I am subconsciously trying to get away from who I am to become someone new.

They say if you change your name or your location you change your lot in life.  Maybe a part of me thinks God will like me more if I become someone else.

My god.  There has to be something important that I am supposed to take away from this.  I just wish I could figure out which of these threads of ideas it was.  Maybe if I figure out the lesson God will grant my dreams for a baby in my arms in short order.  I guess I am just wondering, if I become someone else, will God love me more?


  1. i also experimented with different personas. i think for me (in addition to yr analysis, which i think is extremely insightful) it was a way to separate myself from "normative" jewish orthodox culture, at which i was failing so abysmally. i felt a lot of pain being stuck yearning to try to have children when it wasn't working and they were dying, and i was looking for halachically ok ways to find satisfaction and some joy that was not part of the culturally accepted norms. i learned how to ski, i started looking for enjoyments that would expand my horizons and gain a broader perspective of the joys of being a human being.

  2. the other thing i've been thinking about is how you are doing fine and then WHAM. i've been thinking about it for a while already, and it's hard to put my finger on, so i was letting it percolate... also, i feel like the situation may be different because you are on medication.
    but i feel like maybe you have a misconception about how grief "should" be going, and also a fear and anxiety of being completely engulfed in it until you are back to suicidal and not able to claw your way out of the blackness and despair. like i said, maybe your situation is that you have to be super alert to that possibility, and that makes sense. and it does seem to me that you are where you "should" be, as the therapists say.

    but i remember being completely knocked over by how i could be functioning, and then WHAM i wasn't. it always felt like all the progress and hard work i had done was gone in a flash, and i was back to the beginning.
    until i realized that this is the NATURE of grief.

    my heart feels for you as i read your fear and anxiety trying to ward off the extreme sadness and trying valiantly to distract yrself and never give yrself time to have it all come flooding back and the disappointment when you have episodes like this.

    i feel like it is possible you are stable enough now medically to not have to fear when you fall back into the abyss temporarily. it was a big chiddush to me that this was the NATURE of how grief works. that instead of it being a gradual improvement where i gradually feel less and less sad, it is more of a zigzag of ups and downs, and steps forward and steps backwards. when i grasped this, i began to use that time to grieve fully and deeply and rail against the unfairness and just submerge myself in the grief and anger as it washed over me. it doesn't take over forever. you don't have to be afraid of it. it is your body telling you to be sad, giving you the time to grieve your terrible loss. respect it and grieve, and i hope you will experience and see that you do climb your way back to functionality. you even described it--you were shaking and hyperventilating, but jason helped you and you took the medication and it wasn't so long before you were functioning again.
    losing it like that is PART of grieving. you are making progress and then there are suddenly bleak days. there are bleak hours. use the time to remember and to grieve, but expect that it will not last forever and that you will have the strength be functional again soon. it eventually becomes 20-30 minutes, and eventually eventually just 2-5 minutes of a brief intense crying jag (like at a bris). sometimes it is out of nowhere. sometimes it is triggered by something very specific, like an event, an anniversary, a comment, or a situation. but the ones that threw me off the most were the ones with no apparent cause. i'd be doing fine for a few days and then WHAM. i hope you will find that thinking about it or grieving about it or being intensely sad is not something that you have to try to avoid at all costs, that it will not swallow you forever, and that it is just the way of grief.

    a bad day doesn't mean that you are drowning forever. a bad episode doesn't mean that all of your hard work is blown away. it's just that gabbi's death demands that you grieve it, and you can't avoid that. and the way it works is by having days and hours of functionality and then WHAM it's time to acknowledge just how much it hurts and delve into the grief. and then you ease back to functionality, until you get hit with it again. respect the grief. respect the waves. respect the unpredictable rhythm. you will not drown.