A Brief Journal about Facing and Adapting to My Emotions, My Mental Health, and a New Reality

I feel tired and groggy and a little nauseous today. I drank a little too much last night. This is my last day of Christmas vacation before starting my next travel nurse contract. It feels gloomy today, like a typical Sunday after a long weekend. It feels a little like being trapped, like I am being sucked back into a vortex of sorts. The air feels heavier than it has been, smoggy. There is a heaviness to my body, a tension in my shoulders and neck. I woke up in shame today, for my drinking, for my excessive video game playing. I felt it in my face, like a flushed feeling radiating down my neck and my arms. There was that old familiar sting in my chest. I sat with it and realized it was more than just shame. There was melancholy, longing, loneliness, a little sadness. I miss my wife Bonnie and our cats. I miss being off for a long period and not having the stresses that I normally do, although the brief Christmas vacation brought on new stresses and pressures that were unforeseen.

It’s been a humbling past couple of weeks. I got to the root of many of my issues with therapy: my deep insecurities and lack of self-love and acceptance. I think that this will be the focus with my therapy going forward. So much seems to spawn from this basic belief. But right now, I feel a sense of loneliness and emptiness. It feels like a weight pulling me down. It feels like there is a vacuum in the air, sucking out my joy and contentedness. I feel like I need to take time to get outside today even though I feel like staying in and hiding. I need to get sunlight, exercise, and a sense of freedom that the fresh air provides. I worry about the future. So much seems so uncertain. I thought life would continue the way I thought in my childhood. I did everything that I was supposed to do growing up but it feels like the world has changed so much that that old plan no longer applies. I feel like I have to adapt to something new now and it is frustrating to be a nurse with a bachelor’s degree who has been having trouble making enough to meet our bills. I have had to travel in order to keep us afloat and even save a little for the future. I worry about our stability. We deal with so much when you consider our mental health struggles and neurological conditions as well.

Love is a beautiful thing but it is also hard. I find the responsibility and pressures that come with loving and taking care of a partner daunting at times. The new emotions that I have embraced and become more aware of can be overwhelming. I feel what she is feeling, more as time goes on. I know that this is a good thing and that the pain of sharing emotions during hard times is a reflection of my love and openness and vulnerability. That is a victory in and of itself. But with that, comes the worry. The uncertainty of the future scares me. The loss of function and health in the future and the inevitability of death and separation terrifies me. I still live in so much fear. I am still so hard on myself. I still feel like I should be somewhere else. The anchor of my life is the love I share with Bonnie and the family that we have grown. I don’t know what the answers are for the future nor do I need to have everything figured out right now. I know that we will be okay and that we will see things through. We have the intelligence, resourcefulness, and resilience to change and adapt and make things work.

It’s just hard to see sometimes over the alarm in my body and the lack of self confidence that I feel for myself. I feel like our world is crumbling. Lack of wage increases and increasing prices of everything, it seems like the standard of living that my parents experienced will not be the same for us. It feels like the working/middle class is eroding and taking us with it. I feel lost and confused. The world doesn’t make sense the way I thought it used to. I find myself receding more and more into numbing and distraction. It feels so hard to face reality so much of the time, and then I shame myself for running away. It helps to write these things out. I keep so much inside. I deal with so many invisible things that many people don’t fully understand. What am I to make of this world? What does it mean to live a fulfilled life? I don’t have the answers yet. I thought I did at one time, but there is so much left to figure out as things change. I do know that taking this moment to write out my feelings is a step in the right direction. I hope that this step will lead to better things. I have to hope amidst my mind and body screaming at me that everything will collapse around me. I have to keep pushing on.

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