Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Losing laughter

I’m not happy. I would like all of you, all of my friends and family, and I would even like me to believe that I am happy. I’m calm. I’m capable of dealing with stress when it comes. I’m capable of making decisions that allow me to avoid stress. I’m thrilled that I’m pregnant. I’m thrilled to be embarking on a new chapter in my life, one where I’m going to be a parent.

Brooke mentioned the other day that she hadn’t heard me really laugh in a long time. I had noticed this about myself. Some things are funny, but I most often find myself laughing along with other people because I think I ought to, not because I’m really inspired to laugh. The threat of losing laughter makes me truly and deeply sad. It brought tears to my eyes when Brooke told me how absent my laughter had been. It was not the only thing that had brought tears to my eyes recently, but it was one of a few.

I probably need therapy. I probably need to reduce my dependence on acupuncture’s calming effects. Outward displays of emotion are necessary to relating to other people, to living. I’m not able to show how I’m feeling, and it’s really limiting me. Being calm and content cannot really replace being happy, but I spent a long time striving for calm and content, with happiness so far out of reach, that I feel like I’m in a good place.

I’m on an outcropping of rock, neither on the top of the mountain nor at risk of sliding down. I need to stop smiling at everyone on top as though I’m not so far from where they are.


At 5:28 PM, Blogger She said...

I know that the pregnancy isn't the sum cause of your feelings, but I do remember feeling out of control, unhappy, miserable, depressed and totally freaked out, all within the space of 5 minutes during my pregnancy. Don't try to rush yourself...these things take time (platitude, I know, but...)

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Emilin said...

That's the thing: I'm not having any feelings of depression. I'm not unhappy. I'm not miserable or depressed or freaked out at all. Everything is calm and muted, but nothing is joyous, either.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Shelli said...

I can totally relate to not being able to express emotion.

therapy DOES help. But like the gym, I hate going, but always feel better after...

At 1:34 PM, Blogger alice, uptown said...

Is it sunspots? I am feeling exactly how you are -- it has been suggested my hormonal imbalances are perimenopausal, not pregnancy, but in any case, I am feeling rather numb and enervated. I even cancelled my vacation plans this week, becaues I couldn't imagine being a happy house guest for that long.

It's not the first time I've felt this way, and I suspect it won't be the last. All I know is, it hurts and doesn't hurt, it comes and goes, and all I can do is ride it out, and look for comfort where I can find it. I hope you can find some for yourself.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Grace said...

I imagine it might be different for other people, but for me, that's the way depression manifests itself most often and for the longest periods of time--as an inability to be anything other than calm and content. No joy. No real laughter. I don't have any real advice (although I do think therapy is a good idea), but I feel for you and I'll be thinking about you.

At 1:08 AM, Blogger trisha said...

It's like this for me, too, Emilin. I have no moods. Always the same.

Very beautifully-put. Thank you for writing this.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Sandalou said...

It's OK to feel joy again. It's not a betrayal. you deserve the same joy your Mom felt when she had you.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger the therapeutic writer said...

That flatness, nothingness, lack of emotion - that's the hardest I think. I was like that for a long time before I slid.

What can I do to help?

At 10:11 AM, Blogger the therapeutic writer said...

One more... from the personal files. Pregnancy and childbirth stirred A LOT of emotions surrounding my mother and the loss of her (she died when I was 21) that caught me off guard. For a while I repressed them (and had that flatness so I didn't have to deal) but when they surfaced... oh it was ugly.

You're not alone.


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