In our lives, the breaking point is a sign of weakness and we’ll do everything we can to avoid the breaking point.~ Meredith Grey – From Grey’s Anatomy season 5 episode 3
At the beginning of this month I wrote a post on how I wanted to get back to my theme of this year: self-care. When I wrote that post, I booked myself two and a half hours of pampering at the beauty specialist – a facial massage, a body massage and a pedicure, with a foot massage. The first appointment I could get was for three weeks in the future, and little did I know just how much I would need it when the day came around.
More bad news
The appointment was made for late Saturday afternoon, and on the Friday before hat — last Friday, that is — Master T was called by an endocrinologist after having had two biopsies in the week before. The news wasn’t good, and where our life was already upside down with the stroke he had in March, we have no idea what the next weeks and months, and maybe even years will hold for us. We have a lot to deal with, and it makes me panic when I think of all that has to happen, and all that could go wrong.
When I hurt, I hide
The past years have taught me some new things about myself, or rather, it magnified things I already knew was there. One thing I learned is when I hurt, I hide. I hide because I need to step back and see the full picture, to understand what has happened, to assess the future, to see my place in it. Hiding from a painful situation helps me to find the words I lack to understand my own feelings in the situation. And here I don’t mean to be able to tell others how I feel, but for myself to understand how I feel.
My default is to always tell everyone I am okay, or I will be okay, while I break up inside. It’s like it would be a sign of weakness to tell people I am hurting, I am shocked, or that I just don’t know. Also, I hate hurting people, and it feels like I would hurt others if I tell them I just want to be left alone, as I need to deal with this first before I can answer any questions or be grateful for support. So, I push my own feelings aside, answer people’s questions, say thank you, etc. while inside I scream: please, for now, just let me be.
My beauty specialist
I have a lovely bond with my beauty specialist. I first went to her about two months after my mom passed away, and she has seen me cry many times while she did all those Brazilians. Not because of the waxing, but because I told her about my mom, about Master T’s health, his depression, the flooding of our house, my breakdown in 2018, and more recently, the situation with my son, my father’s passing, and of course, Master T’s stroke. When I saw her for my pampering appointment, I told her about the most recent news.
It was while I lay on the massage table, and we were still talking — about 5 minutes into the massage we always go quiet, as she wants me to relax — that she asked me: “Have you thought about talking to someone about everything?”
Me: “Yes, I have thought about it, but I am not ready for it yet.”
Her: “Why not?”
Me: “I am not ready to allow the pain. I’m afraid admitting how much it hurts, and how scared I am will bring me to breaking point. And breaking down feels like a sign of weakness.”
It was quiet for a while, and then I added: “I’m afraid it will hurt too much and I won’t be able to handle it.”
Her: “I understand, but please think about talking to someone. I think you need it.”
Me: “I will think about it, but for now I just want to be strong for him.”
Breaking point, a sign of weakness
I know it’s not a sign of weakness if I allow myself to break down. I also know that if I breakdown, I will get up and be strong again. The thing is, I can’t. It seems like there’s something blocking it. I am blocking it, and not always consciously.
I really am afraid of how much it will hurt. And I really am afraid that I won’t be able to handle the hurt. It’s not only what’s happening with Master T now. It’s everything together. It started in September 2016, and it just didn’t stop after that. So many things had happened, and new things are piled onto the mess we were already trying to deal with.
Focusing on self-care
My beauty specialist said she was afraid everything will overwhelm me when I least expect it, and I know she’s right. Which is why I try to focus on myself, on the things I need. You might all have noticed that I have cut back enormously on the number of posts I share. I also walk away from the computer more than I did before, and when I do, I mostly indulge in watching one or two episodes of Grey’s (I told you I’m addicted!), or I watch a movie with Master T.
But, I have not only cut back on my writing. I have informed my work about what’s going on, and asked them not to plan me in for any office days, for at least the next month, until we have some idea of what appointments will follow. I can do all my work from home, which means I can log in whenever I want, and can catch up on hours I might be otherwise occupied. Thankfully, they were very understanding, even though I was afraid they might see it as a sign of weakness that I don’t want to be ‘burdened’ with having to go to the office, and looking for replacements if I can’t be there.
To me, it’s also focusing in self-care not to give in to the breaking point, but to take my lead from Master T and just take things day by day. Where my mind go to dark places thinking about the future, he stays focused on the now. I know my beauty specialist is right, all things can come crashing down on me, but I hope focusing on self-care in my own way will help to prevent that.
Note: My inspiration for this post came from my pampering appointment, and the quote at the beginning of the post.
© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay