Dreaming All Night

Losing someone creates unexpected ripples or perhaps humongous waves that seem to hide beneath the surface, but then the next hour along and you’re swept away in a tide of despair all over again. It can be the slightest remark or smallest memory that pings back to your conscious and a small laugh of comfort can turn into a great sob of upset. Well, that’s grief I guess.

Having now been on anti-depressants for nearly three months you would expect the swell to begin to calm. And at first, it felt it did, but there came a time when it seemed to fade away. As days go by I feel myself struggling, my motivation is ebbing and the old familiar fatigue is becoming a good pal. Most nights I’m in bed by 10pm and most mornings, getting up before 8am is a struggle. For weeks I was unable to settle and sleep, now it’s the reverse and I’m to the wind within minutes of hitting the pillow. Which brings another possible strange symptom of sertraline, dreams. I’ve never been one to have dreams for a long time but it’s every night. Some I remember, some I forget. But as soon as I wake, I know that in my sleep I’ve been off in some imaginative subconscious adventureland.

And it’s exhausting. Having to be strong, having to smile, having to fight back the tears that build and the inevitable traumatic memories that return of seeing your loved die a horrific and devastating death. Having spoken to someone recently who lost her Mother in the same circumstance and then to hear her fight was fruitless after three years of trying to find justice for their loved one being left in such agony, it’s heartbreaking but it is also nothing short of filling a renewed layer of hopelessness.

I would have hoped a week in Cornwall would have refreshed me, but instead a good portion of the time I felt anxious and lost. Even sitting in such beautiful surroundings doing all the things I love, I couldn’t help but feel impatient and in a sense of unease. And I know a lot of it is due to the fact that right now everything feels wrong without my Dad around. Having become so used to caring for him and being available to him all the time, to have that switched off so suddenly is a difficult psychological thing to come to terms with. The house being so quiet, the to-do list is shortening and my time feels pointless now I’m not doing everything I can in which to give him the best quality of life. In essence, I guess I feel defeated.

Over time, I guess this will have passed. Or at least I hope it will have. Grief is nothing that will dissipate completely, it will always be an old familiar. Each day is learning to swim against a tide that changes without warning, and each day is just as exhausting as the day before. But it will weaken over time, and I will get stronger. It just takes time.

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