I am working on naming the emotions I’m feeling in the moment, and trying to get to the root cause of them. My therapist has suggested writing an action list for how I can start to feel better about these things, or how I might respond to a “worst case” scenario, but sometimes it’s hard even to predict what the worst case may be, given how uncertain the present is. For now, I’m trying just to identify the reasons for the sadness:
- The world is so broken. I think of all the women like me in the Ukraine making impossible choices about what to do with their children. What would I do? And how can I help, beyond donations to reputable organizations? I see my children complaining about the temperature of their chocolate milk, and I feel immense shame that we’re so lucky. Solution? There is none… Keep praying? Keep sending money? Be grateful?
- I’m in such a time of flux and unknown at work, both in my school and church position. So much has been up in the air for so long, and it’s both scary and tedious. I can’t predict whether college enrollment will rise again, or whether my career–my vocation–will be in jeopardy. The real issue: this is WHO I AM. If I can’t be “this,” then what was it all for, and who even am I?
- My kids are growing up so fast, and I miss the younger years. I’m also afraid of what comes next. I see little glimmers of how little they need me anymore, and I notice times when they’re reluctant to share as much. What if I missed “the best years” because I was too bogged down by the stressors of those times?
- My feelings are hurt, by a lot of different people. Some are family members, who have no desire to see our kids, it seems. My brother, who has estranged himself from me. Some coworkers, who can’t relate to my life situation or other things, and who make me feel very lonely and unseen. Some administrators, who I went way out of my comfort zone to ask for help with impossible situations, and who have not, in fact, stepped up to help.
I’m trying to find concrete actions to take in these situations, but I realize that most of it is out of my control. I’m used to being able to find answers, to work as hard as I need to in order to create change, or make things better. And, right now, I just can’t.