I wake up and glance at the clock. It’s just after 1 AM. I went to bed at 11:00, but I’m having trouble sleeping. It’s strangely warm in the room. This December heat wave is confusing the thermostat. I’m lightly sweating. I’m hot because we have blankets on the bed for cold nights. I can’t sleep when I’m hot. I have a strange feeling in my chest. I recognize it as anxiety. My mindfulness practice comes to mind. In this practice, we take a step back from the feelings, observe them and label them. Let’s sort through the this box of feelings and see what we have here. I sense it’s more than just anxiety. And, if it’s anxiety, why is it here now?
The first thing I pull out is anger. What? Anger? What is that doing here? I haven’t seen much of anger since the first week after Shayna passed. A little here and there. But I realize it’s been back the last week or so and growing. My friend who lost her son a few weeks ago had asked me about me feeling anger because people kept telling her that is one of the things she is supposed to feel. I replied “Not so much, because anger needs and object-someone or something to direct it towards. And I don’t feel I have anyone or anything to be angry towards.” Here it is never the less. What I am finding is I was wrong. You can have anger without an object. The problem is that anger will then seek an object. I find my patience wearing thin. It’s almost non-existent. Christmas is coming. Ugh. Small talk is annoying. Customers are even more annoying than usual. Anything can bring it out. It’s just lying there waiting, not directed at anything or anyone, in particular. It’s hot and throbbing and diffuse. It’s just sitting there, looking for some direction.
OK, so we’ve got anger. What else? Closely related to anger, the next thing I find in my box of emotions is frustration. Frustration has been hanging around a lot for the last four or five years. It seems about the time that Shayna started having medical issues, the business, started having financial issues. Since then we have been dealing with one diagnosis after the other culminating in Shayna suddenly passing for some unknown reason when she had nothing that was supposed to be life threatening. With Treasured Locks, I have been trying everything I can think of to turn the ship around, bringing in new products, hiring consultant after consultant, watching Shark Tank, watching The Profit. But it’s always two steps forward and two steps back. We’ve been running in place and that is taking its toll on my psyche. I’m not exactly doing for a living what I feel is my purpose in the world anyway, but when I was financially successful at it at least I didn’t feel this frustration.
What else? I feel like there is more. Ah, here we are. Anxiety. That’s that feeling in my chest. Now I find myself constantly wondering “What is coming next?” For the last several years I’ve been comforting myself with “Things have to get better soon.” Do they though? I’m not so sure anymore. Yes, eventually, in the sweet bye and bye it’ll be all right. How do I protect Ty and Kayla and provide for them and for me in the meantime? I don’t know. Thus, the anxiety.
And finally, here at the bottom of the box is depression. I’ve been feeling it coming along for the last few weeks. I felt myself coming out of denial and into depression. The recognition that this life is forever changed, will forever be damaged, has sunk over me like a cloud of doom. This is a wound that won’t heal. This is a stain that cannot be removed. Nothing in this life will ever make this better.
Anything else? No. That seems to be it. Strangely, there is some relief in at least figuring out what all these feelings were swirling around inside of me. Now that they are out in the open, I fall back to sleep.
Then I have the weird dream. In reality, I have a major shipment coming in. A new product being manufacture in China exclusively for us. I’m dealing with a factory that I only have a relationship with through email. I’ve made a significant investment in this first shipment and I’m hoping the 10,000 units I get are done correctly. Well, in the dream one of the units is here and it’s totally wrong. The packaging is not the design I sent to them. The product itself isn’t even the right product. I am devastated. I’m lying down across the bed holding it in my hand wondering “What do I do now?” There is nothing to be done. They were paid via wire transfer weeks ago. They are in China. I have no recourse. As I begin to sink into despair, my only hope is that this is a dream. I look around. No it all looks real. I feel the bed underneath me. It feels real. Then, I notice something is amiss. Everything in the room is a teal blue. The bed, the walls, the carpet, the packaging, the product. And now did I get just one, not the whole shipment? This is my clue that it’s just a dream and I wake myself up. I glance at the clock. It’s 3:30 AM. A few more hours till sunrise. Man, this has been a long night.