Well, vacation was good. Mostly. It was nice to get away, but my body can't quite handle partying that much anymore because my adrenal/stress response sucks, and bad food makes everything worse. (My family parties harder than anyone else I know.) I forgot my wacom pen at home, which meant I was dragging a goddamn intuos pro around the west coast for a week for no reason. Internet at home for the 3 days before leaving was non-existent, and it's still suspiciously spotty. We need to call the dreaded ISP and spend a good 3 hours turning off the modem and turning it back on again, then being put on hold, then being transferred to someone else to explain the problem before rinsing and repeating, because that's how customer service works these days.
What I'm struggling with right now seems to be straight-up PTSD, which is aggravating a lot of other mental health stuff that hasn't been a problem for me in years, some of it decades. I'm exhausted all the time, weird and banal things make me really anxious, and the days pass in a fog. It fucking sucks. And all from Shaun getting sick, not even me; it's second-hand. The timing and the circumstances were a lot more devastating and traumatic than I could have anticipated, and now that the happy glow of livin' up that cancer-free life has faded, the trauma of it all has had room to creep in.
One of the things that I didn't really tell anyone, because I didn't think that it would impact me so much, was losing all of my old friends after he got sick. It was one of those social situations where you're best friends with a few people, and all of the rest of your social circle is mutual friends that they are closer to. Said best friends didn't step up to the plate when I needed them, I called them out on it, and that was more or less that. These were people who I supported through attempted suicides, through divorces and their own domestic trauma. It's weird how some people can say they have their shit together, that they value good friendship, honesty, forgiveness, that they're not too proud to reach out if they need help, but as soon as someone else is in crisis they're nowhere to be found. If it's not them, they can't handle it. These are people who I'd known for 15+ years. In my one true hour of need, they played dumb. And just like that, my social life evaporated, taking most of my support structure with it.
Trauma comes in many different shapes and colors. It never looks the way you think it will, never feels like how you think it will. It's amorphous, like the shadows in Plato's cave. I wasn't expecting what happened with these friends to play such a big role in mine, or my car. I would have never expected that Mystery Science Theater would help me fall asleep while he was away at the hospital getting chemo. I didn't think that I would still have to fight the tears every time I drove past the street that I would turn on to get to the cancer center. I didn't think that there would be so many things that I'd forget because I didn't want to remember them.
Seeing my family with him for the first time since before this all started was good, though. Talking about pain is the only way to heal. So I'm talking about it a little bit right now. I mean, I can do that - this is my site after all!
I don't really have any grand thesis here, or any wisdom you can take away. But if any of you guys are going through something, you're not alone, and I feel you. It really is a one day at a time thing, though. Before crisis, chop wood, carry water. After crisis, chop wood, carry water.