Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Roommate Situation Part 2

Jeff's brother got his old job back in Texas.  He starts November 3rd.  He will be gone in less than 3 weeks.  This is bittersweet for me.
On the one hand, once he told me he got his old job back a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  The guilt that I was harboring mostly melted away.  In my head, I rationalize it as he took a 7 month vacation and now he's just returning to his old life in Texas.

But then the idea of being alone hits me and the anxiety comes raging back.  I would love to be one of those people who actually enjoys being alone.  I have 5 single girlfriends all around my age who live alone and they talk about how awesome it is, how much they enjoy coming home to a quiet house and have no body to worry about other than themselves.  That sounds like a nightmare to me.

I love cooking for someone. 

I enjoy having someone to talk to about my day when I get home and I enjoy hearing about their day.

I am comforted knowing someone is home with my dog while I'm out and I don't have to rush home.

I am a social person.  I have never lived alone before.  I moved from my parents house, into an apartment with my cousin and his one year old son, and then in with Jeff.  When Jeff died, his parents lived with me until his brother moved in. 

I was talking to my therapist two days ago and we both agreed that Jeff's brother moving out is the best decision for my overall health and the sooner the better.  How could I live with this much tension for another five months?  I brought up my anxiety of living alone.  My therapist was very reassuring that I could do it.  He reminded me that anxiety is essentially fear of being afraid.  With careful practice and not avoiding, I can retrain my brain into recognizing there really isn't anything to be afraid of.  I practiced the other day.  A panic attack began and I just sat with it.  Eventually, after 10 minutes or so my heartbeat slowed, the nausea decreased, the tension eased.  But then I started thinking about how painful it was to experience that anxiety and it came roaring back. 

I know that it's really about the fear of experiencing that pain again.  So I need to continue to practice.  I wrote down what I think I'm afraid of and some practical things I can do to relieve it.  I will try to go back to that list and try and remind myself that my fear is irrational.  That there really isn't anything to be afraid of.

Now that I know how soon he will be leaving, the guilt went away but the anxiety remained.  But I am gaining the tools to deal with the anxiety.

I need to remind myself that I have always been a strong and independent woman.  These drastic changes in my life have made me dependent on others.  I know that this is all normal in my situation and I need to give myself some leeway but I am also angry at myself and the situation in general. 

I don't deserve to have lost my husband and to experience this much pain. 

I don't deserve to have had a very well planned life and then have that ripped away and now fear the unknown path ahead. 

But that is all irrelevant.  It happened, and it's happening and I just need to put my big girl panties on and deal with it.

In less than 3 weeks I will be alone.  I will be ok.

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