Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 is a rough work year.

So, I'm working on a project for work that is emotionally draining. OF course, this is the biggest understatement of all time. Without sharing too many details, I'm interviewing families who have lost children through violence. For the last 4+ months, I've been researching, interviewing, reviewing stories and people about their murdered kids. As you might imagine, this is horrifying. But, hopefully this will cause some good when all is said and done.
I'm in this place where I both do and don't want to talk about it. I start to breakdown if I don't let it out a little. But I also don't really want to have to share the awful things that you can't un-know. So, instead of talking specifics, I'm going to purge some feelings.
I find myself feeling much more patient with my children. After talking to someone who is still raw and raging 15 years after she lost her son, coming home to children who whine and argue with me doesn't bother me as much. I do get more annoyed at Xtian for being annoyed. If that makes sense. I know, it's not fair. He is with these kids 24 hours a day, unless I can somehow arrange a day off for him. He's going to get annoyed. And he's not sitting 2 feet away from a mother who lost her only child. But in my heart I'm feeling like, who gives a shit if Warren spilled juice again. HE'S HERE!
I've also been having unstoppable morbid thoughts about the horrible things that might happen to my own children. I'm trying to push these out with positive thoughts and realistic statistics, but these thoughts are sneaky. I won't share them here, because I don't want to give them a voice.
I'm completely physically and emotionally exhausted all the time. I wake up from 8 hours of sleep and can barely pull myself out of bed. Being in a constant state of semi-anguish and seeing other peoples' grief up close is draining me of all my energy.
On interview days, I find that I am leaning a little too heavily on my evening cocktails to erase the day. Not to a dangerous degree, just more than I probably should.
There's more but that's all I can get out today.
So, here's what I'm doing to proactively keep the demons at bay:
I'm committing to exercising at least 3 days a week, preferably 5.
I'm committing to spending at least 30 minutes JUST playing with the kids every day. No multi-tasking, no "let's play the laying on the couch game." Doing something they want to do, with them.
I'm increasing my intake of vegetables and am going to start taking my fish oil supplements again.
I'm committing to talking to my friends and family more often and about THEIR lives.
I'm committing to spending time outside every day. Even if it's only a few minutes to water the garden (brief update: It's growing!)

Anything else that helped you get through a time of sustained stress? I'd love more ideas.


Faith said...

Therapy. THAT is what I would recommend in this specific situation. If that's something you're into, you should definitely check it out.

People who deal with depressing, heart-wrenching, painful stories from other people on a daily basis generally went to school specifically for that purpose. And learned techniques for shutting themselves off from the pain in order to help/get the story/deal with the issue in a productive manner and be able to still live their own lives without wanting to break down and scream about the horrors and terribleness every minute of the day.

I'm talking about those people who do things like social work, police officers, and stuff like that. Those people prepare in their job training, whatever it might be, for the difficult and disgusting situations they're going to encounter in their professional lives.

I think you were an English major, like me. Maybe journalism...not sure. But you likely haven't been prepared mentally for dealing with this kind of shit that you're being bombarded with for, the last 4 months, did you say? I mean, good God, Coley! It takes serious strength to be able to keep yourself from falling to pieces in front of those're exhibiting incredible strength, it sounds like!

If you're into it, please find a therapist. Just until this project is over, if nothing else. ::hugs::

Coley said...

Thanks Faith. That makes a few votes for therapy and you make incredible points. I think you're right and a little professional aid would not be out of place.