Broken Strings

I figured the time around Rowan’s birthday would throw some hard days my way, as memories were dredged up and pushed to the front of my brain in a way they haven’t been in a while. I expected moments of sadness over everything surrounding his birth and the time after — the bittersweet joy of his first birthday.

The memories of this last year are a photo being edited, with someone toggling between blur and sharpen, shifting everything in and out of focus. Sometimes they hit the undo button until I feel like I am back in that moment, back in the hospital holding his fragile body to mine. Back in those days after he came home when I watched him choke with every feeding. In those flashes it all seems to recent, so tangible, but then it snaps back to now, when I somehow have a one year old and the last year seems fuzzy to the point of being opaque.

I thought I was prepared, and maybe I would have been had I not also developed a cold that settled in my lungs and left me feeling breathless for the better part of the last week. Rowan was getting some of the best sleep of his life, and I was coughing all night long. My motivation or lack thereof is tied to my general feeling of well being, and I was decidedly on the “lack thereof” side. My usual way of creating order from the chaos in my head is to create order from the chaos in my house. Cleaning, planting, rearranging, and throwing myself fully into the pursuit of accomplishment. This last week has seen an absence of that desire. I wanted to want to do these things, and the inability to care felt like it was pulling me under.

There was just so much. I needed to nap, to clean, to write, to do a million small tasks that all pulled together into that leaning tower of obligation that crashed down on my head in spectacular fashion. In complete withdrawal from all non life-sustaining activities fashion. In take an Ativan for the first time since last summer fashion. I was a guitar string wound to the breaking point and every movement felt like it was bound to be the final pluck that would cause it to snap. It was scarily reminiscent of the days last year when I desperately wanted to escape my skin, when I felt like there was a vibration at my core that was threatening to erupt and send me shattering into a million pieces.

The air felt like television static. Sounds were amplified and being touched felt painful. I was using every bit of willpower in my possession to not lose my shit on the people I love. To not let out a scream that would be sure to traumatize my kids. To stay attached to the earth, all my pieces kept together and whole. Implosion felt like an actual possibility.

Basically, I felt broken. Again.

Then today I woke up and could breathe normally for the first time in days. I guess it’s not surprising that not being able to take a deep breath would make for a bit of anxiety. I’m still overwhelmed, but the string is less taut. The Rowan stuff hasn’t magically disappeared, nor have all of the obligations and responsibilities of life. I still don’t feel overly motivated, but the panic of that has dulled a bit.

I still feel out of tune, but less like I’m going to snap and poke someone’s eye out. I’m writing something for the first time in more than a week. Maybe I will rearrange some furniture and put some clutter on the curb.

Or maybe I’ll take a nap.


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