Sunday, April 11, 2010

Head in the Clouds

Head in the Clouds (153/365)
Originally uploaded by WeeRobbie

Today I have been focused on my inability to get things done. I have become the biggest procrastinator. I now have a very difficult time maintaining my focus.

It is odd to be in this position, as I have always been one who stays on top of everything. I have always been a very thorough worker, excellent house keeper, and very well disciplined. During the past two years I was able to maintain all of my responsibilities, plus take care of everything that was required in having a spouse with cancer. Now that he is gone, and my day to day responsibilities have lessened, you would think that I would be able to get back on track, or minimally, maintain my level of self discipline. But that is not the case.

I continue to feel like I am in shock. My head feels cloudy all the time. I know what I should be doing, or what needs to get done, but I can't motivate myself to do most of it. It's as if there is a list in my head of what I need to accomplish, but I can't seem to prioritize, or get started. I still spend so much of my time lost in thought. Hours can go by, and I can't account for them. This is not to say that I am not taking care of my home, or kids, but I am certainly not doing it as well as I used to.

Perhaps this is part of my depression. I am on medication for this, and I wonder what life would be like without it. When I have described how I am feeling to others, they often will ask if I am on any medication. I think they are surprised to learn that I already am.

There are definitely parts of my grief that are becoming easier, or more familiar. Yet, there are significant aspects of my life that feel forever changed. I often wonder if I will ever return to who I was, or how I was.

Lately I have been thinking more and more about needing time away from my job. I can't seem to function well enough to feel good about what I am doing. Our caseloads have gone up significantly, and I always feel like I am drowning. I'm a social worker, and my clients depend on my management skills to keep them on track. Right now, I don't know if I am being very effective.

At home, with three kids, there is always so much to get done. Just the laundry alone can take up most of my day. When Michael got sick we decided to hire a house keeper who could come in twice a month for the major cleaning, as Michael wasn't able to help as much. I don't know how I would be able to maintain a clean home without the help. Now that we are depending on only my salary, and we are facing cuts at work, I'm starting to feel like I can no longer afford this type of help. On the other hand, I worry what life will be like without the help.

All of this is very frustrating to me. I wish I could will myself into being more effective, and regain the focus needed to accomplish what needs to be done. But most of the time, I sit and wonder, what is the point of trying?

I don't have any answers here. This is the problem. I don't even have the interest, or energy, to try to figure this out.


  1. I'm guessing that you're going to get quite a few comments with regards to this post. The first few months after Don died, it felt like I was walking through water most of the time - not focused, just managing to do what had to be done and nothing beyond, and most things done without any real care of desire. In part, I attributed that state of mind to having been under stress for so long while caring for Don - I never had more than a hour or two of sleep at a time (and it being restless at that) for almost a year. I suspect your experience was similar. Then, add to that the grieving and the change in workload. When I was traveling after Don's death, I would drive all day, make something for the dog and I to eat, then crawl into bed in the back of my van and go to sleep and be practically unconscious for the night. That changed once I got to the rental house in Bisbee -- then it was a crazy form of insomnia. Whatever -- I think there are months of feeling weird from sleep deprivation, insomnia, stress, learning to cope on our own, depression and sadness over loss, etc... For me, the first winter after Don died, I just set the goal of sorting out all of the "widow's paperwork" and of doing a major garden clean-up of the place that I rented as it was in need of some work. I just putzed around in the garden for a few hours a day, losing myself in thought for long periods that, in retrospect, must have been akin to some form of amnesia as I have very little remembrance of last winter. This year, I was quite different -- still exhausted after spending last summer getting the farm up for sale and sold -- but I think I was a lot more cognizant of everything around me. This spring seems to be the beginning of "re-finding" myself and trying to figure out a future - buying the old project house in Nova Scotia and getting myself and my belongings out there. Yesterday, as I drove the final 400 miles of the long trip from Arizona to my mom's house in Ottawa, I suddenly began thinking of things I would really like to do once I get to Nova Scotia - maybe set up my woodworking shop again and make custom furniture, or get a kiln and do pottery (or something). I can't tell you how long it has been since I've had such a stream of thoughts -- three years maybe?
    Dan, I suspect you're doing just fine for where you're at. It would not surprise me at all if you are feeling some burn-out from all you've been through - coupled with the grief.

  2. Dan,

    I also feel this way a lot of a time. You aren't alone, it's just another widow/er symptom. I always took pride in my organizational and memory skills. But now, somedays I can barely remember anything I need to and my focus and level of concentration is so non-existent some days I'm surprised my house continues to function. We're doing ok, Dan. I don't believe there's anything to figure out. We're just grieving. And time and doing our grief work will help us regain some of the things we've lost. Though not the most important ones....

  3. I think it is just the overwhelming grief and remembering those last few days that causes distraction from other more mundane things. Just sitting in the chair and staring out the window for hours seemed enough to get through.