Grief for my Old Life

Last week I was diagnosed with macular degeneration.  It is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60.  It can proceed at different rates.  They told me that an intense dose of vitamins could help, so I got some and started taking it.  It’s called AREDS and I took two a day.  Fortunately I wrote it on my health chart, where I keep track of things that  are important so I don’t forget, or sometimes to see if I can improve things.  I started feeling periodic nausea the next day, and it got worse for three days.  At which point I realized it might be due to the AREDS, so I stopped them and slowly began to feel better.  It took more than three days, and I still don’t feel back to where I was before all this happened.

Possibly because of my vulnerability to depression and anger at myself when things don’t go well, when I get knocked down by something I don’t bounce back very quickly.  So I have continued to feel bad, to be super-sensitive to the stupidities of what’s going on the the world just now: impeachment hearings, fires in the Amazon, the fact that I contribute to the degradation of the world every time I open a bottle of supplements and have to throw away the non-biodegradable wrappings “for your protection”…  That’s the worst, that I am a collaborator with the exploitation and damage and can’t stop doing it.

Yesterday I was feeling really cross and cranky.  It led me to do things out of a spirit of rebellion.  I must have done twenty digital puzzles, one after the other, with almost no break.  I really wondered what this was about, usually that kind of behavior is to avoid something painful.

This morning I wrote a little about being cross, and felt that I needed to turn it around somehow.  Well “turn it around” is not really an option, that invalidates it which prevents positive change.  But I didn’t want to be putting that kind of energy out into the world.  Thanksgiving is coming up, so I thought I’d write down my gratitudes.

As I started through my morning routine, breakfast, walk dog, etc. I realized that what I am feeling is grief.  From my journal:

3rd cup — coffee.  I thought I’d try it even though I was feeling a little sour of stomach this morning.

Writing my gratitudes helped me get in touch with what was making me cranky.  It’s grief for my old life, the life I had when I could still ski and snowshoe, when I had circle dance every week in that amazing sacred space that I built.  When I had Nia and yoga to keep me moving, and I could go to Christine’s & stay overnight so we could both go to Ron’s dance in Littleton…  But even with all these potentially nourishing activities, I was not able to take them in to offset the energy drain caused by PTSD.  I think that had something to do with some trick of dissociation, which I don’t fully understand.  Some part of me protecting me from feeling really good about what I was doing while I was doing it.  Because that was “thinking I was so great”?  Because of some mistaken loyalty to Mom?  It doesn’t really matter, I don’t have to know.  I can still grieve the fact that I wasn’t able to feel the satisfaction of living a life that used my skills and talents and that helped the world I love.

Another blog post exploring dissociation.


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