This happened in some form or another:
· Those first weeks after I found out my first husband was having an affair
· When Rich had brain surgery
· When my sister was critically ill and pregnant
· When Adam deployed to Afghanistan and most recently;
· This last week, when Allison was sick then hospitalized with a rare and bizarre but non-life threatening illness
This checking out is the flight, fight or freeze response in slow motion. A conscious decision on my part to compartmentalize what I can and cannot (will or will not) manage. Some of it is healthy: I couldn’t reasonably work while my daughter was hospitalized and postponing email and mail for a week can be a good practice every now and again.
What I’ve learned is that shutting down or checking out of healthy habits (eating well, exercise and getting good sleep) doesn’t make any of it easier. In fact, it probably makes it more difficult because there’s this big mountain of electronic and actual “paperwork” awaiting my emergence. I feel sluggish and foggy. I contemplated cancelling the trip I’ve planned to the New England states with my sister and parents. We leave next weekend and it felt too soon. I was allowing myself to continue to see the world through the lens of fear and exhaustion – anticipating everything that would go wrong at home in my absence.
Today, I start accurately recording my food intake again. I start exercising with a vengeance. I will get through all the mail, pay bills and even plan some excursions in the New England states for next week. Tomorrow work resumes. The next day, I will feel so much better – healthy and full of energy. Rather than anticipating any catastrophes, I will take my own advice and give love, choose joy and practice gratitude.