Thursday, January 20, 2011

Like a Newborn

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.

Even sunshine.

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


The Kennedy Krew said...

Oh sweet precious friend, I ache for you. I am praying for your heart to heal! You are so right - Fall on Jesus my friend!

alliepage said...

Trish there is so much hope in that "untitled hymn"... He does long for you to live. I thought of that song even as I read your post yesterday that you seems appropriate for your journey. I am a "fixer" trisha and I so wish I could "fix" this newborn place for you. So I take my fixing and pray for you and your boys. Trusting and praying.I love you sweet girl.

Meg said...

That hymn is so touching, isn't it Tricia? It's always been a favorite of mine. I'm praying for your heart, your life.

Mrs. MK said...

So grateful for your wise and understanding friend!

My prayers are with you as you adjust, somehow.

Joel and Ingrid said...

You have managed to beautifully capture the painful experience/truth of loss. Praying that God is a calming set of sunglasses for you as the sun tries to overwhelm you. And for your tender heart to have the strength to mother your boys as it tries to find all its shattered pieces.

Hillbilly Handiworks said...

I just started following another blog today of a young family going through tragic circumstances. Mom (38) had a stroke on Jan 11th and was found by her 12 yr old DD. The girls were homeschooled. The stroke was very serious and she is still in a coma. Brain damage is certain; the amount not certain.

The girls had to be put into school; Dad is torn between being a husband and staying by his wife 24/7 and being a Daddy to two little girls while they are all in a fog of uncertainty.

Perhaps you could pray for this family. It won't be easy. But, life isn't easy for either of you right now. But, in praying for them, you might find healing.

I blogged about it today...if you want to find out more there is a button to their blog.

Kay Day said...

Sleep. Rest. Good for you for doing what you can, but you don't have to push yourself.
Take your time. Your body and heart know what to do in God's hands.