There are side effects I could not have predicted.
I only feel safe at home. As soon as I step outside, I feel vulnerable, exposed, on the defensive. The sun is too bright, the sounds are too loud, and everything makes me jumpy and unsettled. Everything is too much. Sensory overload. Overstimulation. Like a carnival fun house.
It's an unsettling place, this new reality of mine.
I have become severely introverted, and I only want to be at home. Even more, I only want to sleep. There are times when I leave the house, as frightened as I am, just to make sure I stay awake and out from under the covers.
I push myself for as long as I can, until the stimulation, sounds, lights, and life send me racing back to safety.
(This lens of thought is very difficult for the mom of two small boys. They need me. I must function. And yet, my body seems terrified even of sunshine.)
A friend explained to me today: I am in the process of learning my world all over again. Think of a newborn, fresh from the womb. Everything inside is cozy, comfortable, warm, and familiar, and this sudden, abrupt entrance into a new world is a serious shock to the baby's system.
So how does a newborn respond? She sleeps 20 hours a day.
She wakes for a while, eats, looks around, takes in as much of this new place as she can, and then she goes back to sleep. And soon those wake periods stretch to a few hours, and the naps become shorter as life becomes familiar and predictable. Eventually, she can make it through the day without needing sleep at all. She will learn her way again.
But until then, a newborn must sleep and sleep, to allow her body time to understand and respond to a new world of stimuli that seem foreign, unknown, and intrusive.
I learned that my heart has undergone a trauma that is equivalent to a head-on collision. Had this happened to my physical body, I would have landed in the ICU for weeks. So it is no wonder that my heart cannot keep up with the demands of the day, or even the decision of the moment. Small decisions can incite panic to a debilitating degree.
I lost my husband. And let's please not forget how he died. Nobody called me on the phone to tell me how it happened. I was there. I'll tell you how it happened.
And now my world seems slanted by 30 degrees. Uneven. Not right.
I have to learn it all anew.
~ ~ ~
Like a newborn baby, don't be afraid to crawl.
And remember when you walk, sometimes you fall.
So fall on Jesus.
Fall on Jesus.
Fall on Jesus, and live.
~ Untitled Hymn