Exhaustion

Man, I am tired. Hell, I am exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, physically.In the last few months, I have lost someone I thought was a good friend, had another good friend move away, had work go crazy, flown to Omaha and back over a weekend, had my grandfather die, and found out I didn’t get into the graduate program I have been working for much of the last year trying to get into.

My back hurts. My feet hurt. I just got over being sick. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in at least two weeks. And that’s just the physical stuff. Last night was the first time I’ve had to myself in about a week, and being an introvert, that’s important. I like being around my family, and I know it’s important for something traumatic, like my grandfather’s memorial service. It helped to have family around, and I know we all needed it. I was just glad to get some time to myself, not because I dislike my family, but just because being around people all the time, even people I like, just drains me mentally and emotionally.

So things have been pretty lousy lately. And a couple years ago, that would have been the road to something bad, and possibly fatal; I would probably have started on a road to deep, deep depression that would would likely have lasted for months, if not years, and might have eventually culminated in a suicide attempt. I know some people are still worried that a cascade of bad things happening like this will send me down that path anyway, and I can’t really blame them; it’s happened in the past.

But even though it’s been a pretty lousy couple of months, over the last two years I’ve had a lot of preparation for handling these kinds of things in my life. A lot of awful things have happened, and I do feel bad. But I also know that despite how I feel now, they won’t last forever. And one of the things that’s been on my mind a lot for the last week is my grandfather, who was a pretty amazing man.

As a little background, my grandfather was 93. He was a soldier in World War II, serving under Patton in the 3rd Army, and taking part, to some degree, in the Battle of the Bulge. That was one of the most miserable parts of the war on the western front, and yet despite that, all the letters he sent home to my grandmother were positive; he never complained about things like being stuck with summer clothes in winter. And for my lifetime, that same positive attitude was one of the biggest things I remember about my grandfather. He never got angry, or started yelling, and feeling sorry for himself. Even when he had trouble hearing, or started having trouble walking, or couldn’t drive anymore, he never seemed miserable. It was one of the things basically everyone he knew remembered most about him.

I don’t know that I can get to that degree of optimism; I am naturally a pretty cynical person, and, let’s face it, I do have clinical depression – even on a great day, my life is probably not going to be all sunshine and puppies. But I know that I can at least try and look on the bright side and be more optimistic; that’s what the whole idea of the gratitude challenges I’ve done have been about. I’m not really sure how I’m going to get there; right now I still need to deal with the fallout of my personal life’s wreckage and the fact that, without grad school, I need to find something else to do with my life. But I know that at the least, I can try to follow the example of my grandfather.

But right now, I have work tomorrow. So I’m going to try and get a jump on this exhaustion and get some sleep.

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