I think I'm starting to find that the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions.
At least, to the extent that the good intentions are the expectations I have about what I think I would like to get done and what I ought to be able to do, and that the Hell in question is the guilt and self-loathing that comes from falling short of that.
I'm in the midst of a week off from work right now. I went into it thinking that this would finally be the chance to spend the whole week whipping the house into shape and getting some momentum going; I was going to get the Kitchen straightened up and finally start doing some real cooking for myself again, I was going to start going through some stuff that had piled up, catch up on the laundry, take the dog for walks all week, and it was going to make me feel accomplished and good about myself.
And then, as the week goes on, I find myself dialing back, and dialing back. "You know, it's pretty cold outside, and I did take Bodie for a walk yesterday, so maybe I don't need to do it today." It's Wednesday afternoon now, and I still haven't gotten the Kitchen in order, let alone gotten recipes and shopping lists together, gotten to the store, and done the "real cooking" I had in mind. I did finally run the dishwasher, and I'm finally doing a load of laundry; it's done in the washer and I should be hopping up to go put it in the dryer, but that hasn't happened yet. If I'm honest with myself, what I'd really like is to go to bed and take a nap this afternoon. But, I probably won't let myself do that.
I know it's all related to grief, especially since there are certain things I do seem to have energy for. I always seem to manage just fine at work, and to get myself there and back. Church stuff doesn't seem as draining as things at home do, either (which instead of accepting as a positive, the Hell of self-loathing twists around into "being fake at Church"). And the new hobby I started a couple of months ago seems to energize me as well.
But in general... I don't think I really knew what tired felt like, before this year.
I know I just need to go easy on myself. Instead of being disappointed in myself that I'm not baking bread, I ought to feel good that today I worked up the notion to do some laundry.
But it's easier to say I should go easy on myself, than it is to actually do it. I've always had high expectations for myself.
This is different, though. This isn't something I can fix, it's not something that gets better and goes back the way it was. C.S. Lewis used the analogy of an amputation; I often think it's a useful one. And if I had lost a leg, it'd be silly to be mad at myself for not being able to get right back to life as usual.
I would have to take time--probably longer than I would think it should take--to let things heal.
Then would be the slow process of learning to get about on only one leg--and you know, I bet I'd fall a few times while I was figuring it out; and I bet I wouldn't always want to hop right back up to try again, I bet sometimes instead I would just sit and feel sorry for myself for a while.
Finally at the end, once I was all used to it, and I could get around on one leg without really focusing on it that much... Even then, I bet I still wouldn't think it was the same as back when I had both legs, but at least I would finally know how to live with it.
So, yeah. If I'm having too much trouble carrying on without the part of me that's missing, then maybe I need to imagine the wound hasn't healed enough yet, and maybe rest really is what I need. Or, maybe I just need to accept that I'm going to be falling down a lot in the coming months or years, as I try to do things that feel like they should be easy, but aren't anymore. Maybe I even need to give myself permission to just sit and feel sorry for myself for a while, every once and again.
One thing I do know--I am not yet anywhere near that part at the end where I am all used to it, and can just go along without focusing on it that much.