My husband had surgery in mid-December. He got hurt snowboarding. I didn’t deal well with any of it.
Seeing him semi-conscious pre-surgery with a nasal cannula, hooked up to an I.V., with blankets covering him to his chin put me back to a place I never want to return. His eyes were closed, his breathing was slow, and I was helpless.
It wasn’t the same thing. He was going to wake up and be just fine. Not have to learn to walk again. Not have to be in the hospital for weeks. Not come home and be helpless.
My behavior was normal. Completely and totally normal. My mind remembered the fear and anxiety and my body reacted. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was testy and OCD about the house being tidy. I made sure everything was done and done properly and then would sit in my closet with the door shut and sob uncontrollably until one of the kids needed me. Finally, my husband told me I was scaring the kids and needed to go to the doctor. That statement, “You’re scaring the kids,” punched me in the gut. The kids have always come to me with their problems and fears. Always me.
I went to the doctor. She assured me I wasn’t the awful human being that I, in that moment, believed myself to be. She explained anger can be extreme anxiety. That my body was using muscle memory of a traumatic event and that was why I hadn’t been able to eat more than a yogurt a day in over a week. She told me….it was time to go back on anxiety meds for a little while. I sat there and cried, relieved to hear I wasn’t going crazy, I wasn’t going to be like this forever, and that I wasn’t an awful human.
The sun didn’t shine in my world for a while. I was still upset and testy. I worried incessantly about my husband, his interpretation of rules, and his recovery. I quickly learned to keep that to myself as he’s an adult and unlike last time, he’s just fine. I was trying to control a situation that wasn’t mine to control. Letting go was, and is, hard but necessary.
Last week, I felt like myself for the first time since he got hurt. I didn’t plaster a smile on my face and chatter out of fear of anyone seeing through my act. Those closest to me knew better but respected my need to attempt to act normal. I smiled a real smile. Laughed without forcing it. I went snowboarding without guilt. I found my happy.
You just have to see it through to the other side.
This post originally appeared on Evil Joy Speaks. It has been reprinted with permission.