Oh what a year…
At the beginning of the year, I chose the word Rest for the 2020. Little did I know what the year had in store for all of us. The year started with the country on fire – literally, and went down from there.
After a couple of years working with my counsellor on my PTSD, I decided a year of rest and settling into my new integrated self was just what I needed.
I was in a new space of contentment and hope and wanted to rest in that for a while. No striving to survive. No fight to make it through the day. No expectations to live up to. I thought it was the perfect word for the year to cement years of slow healing and progress.
Then the world changed – maybe forever. I had gone from being a recluse – battling to leave the house for even the smallest things, to having the freedom to go out with no fear; from online shopping to venturing out to the supermarket myself. I started meeting people for coffee or lunch. Then lockdown came and I was forced back into isolation and with it came fear and loneliness. I went back to online shopping. Even church went online for months and I struggled to go back in person when lockdown ended.
A couple of weeks prior to look down, I had eye surgery. I had a calcium build-up on my macula and was losing vision in my right eye. So not only could I not see very well, I could not drive for about 6 weeks after surgery, I was now in lockdown. A friend picked me up to go shopping as I could not see well enough to order online and home deliveries had been stopped as well.
In the middle of the year, I did an epic face plant, and smashed up my face. My whole face was black and blue – it was surprising i did not break my nose. I had a cut next to my right eye, where my sunnies cut into my face. My lip under my nose was grazed and i had a serious nose bleed. I have never been more happy to be isolated than then. The instant headache was intense. Luckily, other than a slight concussion, nothing was broken.
In June, just after our lockdown ended, I went on a writer’s retreat. It was a life changing event for me. This amazing bunch of women got to hear some of my writing, and the feedback was so encouraging. I felt energised about writing and, for the first time, knew I that not only did I have a story to tell, but that I could write it.
In September, my Aunty Kay died. It was really hard. Even tough it was somewhat expected, it still caught me unawares. Knowing my mom was unwell, made things all a little to real. I was unable to travel so knew my trip 2 years ago was probably going end up being the last time I saw my mum.
In October, I had to have emergency surgery on my right big toe – or great toe as they described it. I had picked up a splinter and did not get it all out so it became extremely infected. The relief after surgery was amazing – the splinter was quite large – over 2cm long and I had 3 stitches. It was the same leg as my knee replacement so the doctor was worried about the infection spreading up my leg and putting my knee in jeopardy. This also meant I was unable to drive again for a couple of weeks.
I felt like I was retreating back into my old self – losing the ground I had gained. I had to dig deep into the resources and tools I had amassed over the past few years to stop from regressing completely. I found myself being scared of people again, unable to relax in groups.
I am so grateful for my counsellor who gently helped me navigate my new normal. She gave daily strategies to help me focus and stay positive. Some days were better than others – some just overwhelmed me.
Slowly I began to get better again, find hope. Daily I counted small wins and some not so small. I stopped online shopping and ventured out again. I’m thankful to work for a company that is in no hurry to get us back to the office and has given me permission to work from home permanently.
Then mum got ill and we were told she was near the end. Her death affected me more than I thought it would. I have been pretty numb these past weeks and some days it just doesn’t seem real. I think suppressing everything is why I became ill. I stopped eating well, couldn’t sleep, had flashbacks and nightmares. I went into coping mode so I could work. For the past two weeks I have been fighting the flu and had a few days in bed. I finished work for the year a couple of days before Christmas and am now getting the rest I thought i would get throughout the year.
I will not be sorry to see the back of 2020 for sure. I have not chosen a word for next year yet and maybe I won’t. But I will continue to heal and move forward in my grief. Sometimes you have to stop the busyness and make space for the grief, the joy, the peace to be truly felt and experienced. For the next little while I am detaching from technology as I take stock and recharge.