What happens after mourning? How do you move on from mourning? How does one frame their past in such a light (for themselves as well as for anyone who asks about it) so that it no longer sounds miserable, pitiful, and depressing? Is it just a matter of patience, and waiting longer for ‘time to heal all wounds’ or is there something proactive that people can do to make the transition from mourning back into ‘normal life’ seamless? If I was happy-go-lucky before, will I ever be that way again? I hate to think of myself as a cynic, but I’ve been exposed to life-altering situations that fundamentally changed my perspective/outlook on life. Am I forever changed for the negative? How can I bring the silver lining to light? I needed to mourn, I needed time to read my PTSD workbooks, books about the mind, about following a calling, and just-for-fun books. Processing my vet school experience, the loss of a dream and more, was very important. But I want to live my life again. Sometimes I wonder if I deserve that, or if ‘deserve’ is irrelevant in life. Have I used up all my good luck? Have I used up all my exploration? Have I used up all my lifetime’s worth of worth? Sometimes I feel like a massive drain. On energy, on patience, on materials and resources. I want to reverse that, but wonder if it’s possible, if it will be worth it in the end, or if my attempts just prolong my resource-wasting.
Here’s what I do to try. I smile. I smile at people who come in the door at work, even difficult customers. I smile when I don’t feel like smiling, to condition my brain into believing my body. I listen to good music, and share it with loved ones. I dance, and allow my mind to take breaks while my body works through totally different obstacles. I surround myself with inspiration: RSSing several blogs to keep my eyes on what other people are doing well in the environmental world, in the art world, on explorational fronts. I create, when I can. Sharing my internal inspirations with others in a concrete fashion helps me feel like I am positively deconstructing chaos, just a smidgen. I get up and go to work. Every single day. Which is exhausting, and sometimes spins me round to depression again, but leaves to room to regret not doing the ‘responsible thing’ when I don’t know what else I should be doing. I have had to spin my dream of going to veterinary school to become an educated environmentalist into a dream of still becoming an educated environmentalist via a completely different route (who happened to go to vet school!). That has been key. Mostly, I keep myself open to ways to try and help myself continue to get through this nadir.