It’s been some time since I was a guest on her show, and it’d even been a few months since we talked, so it wasn’t until today that I learned about the loss of Tiffany Werhner earlier this week. To say that I was shocked, and saddened, doesn’t even come close to what I’m really feeling today.
If 50 was all about celebrating still being alive, 55 is more about just being tired. It feels old. It is getting harder and harder to find the things worth celebrating, but I know that they are still there. It just takes more work to focus on them than it used to.
Most importantly, I know that being alive at this age means I can still make a difference. I
Someone you know is likely struggling with anxiety. Likely, many of you are, too, just like I am. With general anxiety running rampant across society right now, we can also assume that a large portion of social anxiety is going around too. If you have a friend who has struggled to keep plans or stay in touch, be kind. Recognize their anxiety and take a small action that sends the message that you are happy to see them. For me, it’s been a sincere hug or smile upon seeing me. It’s an immediate reminder that this person wants to be with me. There is an undeniable feeling that seeing me makes them happy.
They probably have no idea how much they have done by expressing that to me, but it makes all the difference in the world. I can immediately go from being all in my insecurities to all in the acceptance and warmth of long-time friends. It might not seem like much, but it is.
Yesterday, I was a guest again on my friend Tiffany Werhner’s radio show/podcast Moments of Clarity. We chatted about my story of child abuse, dissociation, major depression, and eventually, my experiences with therapy and more. If you are a survivor or know someone who is who could use a reminder that the abuse does not define them, and wasn’t their fault, please share this with them.
Something else interests me about grief though and that is the grief that child abuse survivors have because it’s complicated. We aren’t grieving a person we’ve lost, we’re grieving something we never had. A safe, happy childhood or a loving parental relationship that didn’t exist. The lack of any kind of family bonds as an adult, or the inability to trust anyone. Those are things we can, and should, grieve. Often we aren’t given the chance to do that. Other people expect us to “put it behind us” because it was a long time ago. We may even convince ourselves that the best option is to suck it up and forget it, no reason to think about any of that. But, I think there’s a reason to grieve the things we didn’t have as children. They are very real losses. They have very real impacts on our brains and our emotional well-being. We can’t change it now, but we can allow ourselves the freedom to feel grief over it. It’s part of the process.
I heard someone on the radio use this phrase to describe herself as we were out grabbing a few last-minute items to assist with riding out Hurricane Ida. She was talking about evacuating her home in New Orleans at 10:30 last night, driving to Alabama to seek shelter, and then doing the show remotely from there.
Here, we aren’t in as much of a need to evacuate, we are further from the coast and the storm surge, but it’s still going to be a long, dangerous couple of days. So, we are spending a lot of time, and both mental and physical energy, preparing to possibly be without power, for needing to leave if the house is damaged, and so forth. It’s a lot. And that is on top of all the mental energy necessary to deal with large COVID outbreaks we’ve had in recent weeks, all of the recent events in world news, and the various personal and professional challenges that we are also dealing with.
Running on fumes is a really good description of how I think most of the entire state feels today, and yet, there’s a storm coming that we are all going to have to deal with, while everything else just continues on as well.