This post was going to be about how I haven’t needed any Xanax for two full weeks. Wouldn’t you know it, I woke at 4:30 this morning from an anxiety dream with heart and mind racing madly and had to take half a Xanax to calm down and get a little more rest. When the alarm rang at 6:15, I hit the snooze button twice before stumbling into the shower, barely awake. Three hours and two strong cups of tea later, I’m still groggy and feel like I’m sleepwalking.

It’s hard to believe two months have passed since Mike’s suicide. The first few weeks felt like an endless bad dream, and I kept hoping I’d wake up. Since I went back to work on April 5, reality has been slowly setting in. But I’m still numb a lot of the time, just going through the motions, sleepwalking through my life. My therapist told me it would be at least six months before the fog clears and my brain functions the way it did before. I’ve been holding onto that number, thinking “four more months, I’m a third of the way there.”

Last night in my Survivors of Suicide support group, a woman who lost her son eleven months ago shared that she feels worse now than she did in the first couple of months. This is normal, the facilitators told her. The first months you’re too numb with shock to feel the full impact of the emotions – that hits later, when the shock fully wears off and you continue to be faced with the day-to-day reality of living without the person you’ve lost.

She also shared that her doctor, who lost a family member to suicide a decade ago, compared surviving suicide to surviving a bad car accident. The first year, he said, is full of painful surgeries to mend all the parts of you that have been broken and torn. The next two years are about physical therapy, slowly but surely recovering your strength and your abilities. By the third year, you’ll probably feel pretty much back to normal… but you’ll walk with a limp for the rest of your life.

Great. It’s going to get worse, a lot worse, before it gets better. And this healing is a long, long process. There’s nothing magic about surviving the first six months or even the first year.

Can I just go back to sleep now? Wake me in three years, please.


~ by hourbeforedawn on May 4, 2010.

2 Responses to “Sleepwalking”

  1. Bullpucky – every single day you wake up and see the sunrise, THAT is where the magick is! If you’re breathing, upright, and mobile, you’re ahead in the game! 🙂

    Blessed Be,

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