|"Shadows of Us", by Karen Clarke|
[My brother and I.]
So I am NOT doing a very good job of staying out of the Vortex. I am not handling this very well at all. Who would?, I suppose.
Quite often, I am a two-year old in the body of a 50-year old. Occasionally, though, I am a little bit strong. I am typically at my best when I am with my brother actively doing something to help him, talking to him, and/or just sitting next to him. On the other hand, I am at my worst - as today - when I am back at my own house. I feel empty, helpless, and hopeless.
I really, really, really wanted to share with you tips on protecting one's mental health when dealing with serious illness, dying, death, and grief, but I've got nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nothing to share from my own journey through this experience to inspire you and set a good example of self-care that helps you help others. I totally know it's wrong to say, but I don't really give a damn about my own mental or physical health at the moment.
I know what I should be doing, but I am simply unable [unwilling] to do it. I know well the metaphor of the importance of taking care of oneself in order to best help others - like a parent putting on their own oxygen mask before putting one on their child in an airplane emergency. I have loved tossing that one around at friends and family coping with caring for others, but now it feels trite.
Wait...Actually, now that I think about it, this blog post is a part of self care. Venting one's emotions, as painful as they are, is therapeutic. The other day, I was thinking about the myriad feelings and emotions I cycle through daily, and I wrote the poem below**. Writing that too was therapeutic.
So I guess I do have a tip for you after all: write (or draw, etc.) your feelings and emotions - painful and dark as they may well be. Share them or not, just get them out of your head and onto a medium. It is a pressure release to prevent full throttle explosion as emotional pain and suffering continues to layer your heart.
Like a sculptor working stone, pain carves me from the inside out –
I am angry. I rage
and lash out like a fork-tongued serpent, fangs bared at the world.
I cry torrents of tears,
and thrash about like a wounded shark.
I weep and wail til my heart’s squeezed dry.
I am hollow.
I am full.
I am strong.
I am weak.
I am pain.
I am numb.
I am loss.
I am love.
I am grief.