Troubled mind

Credit: Crystal Schick Calgary Herald

The accident that I witnessed on Friday still has me shaken, as expected.  But what I didn’t expect was how much it would affect my work.

Usually work is a place that keeps my mind so busy while my troubles are set aside for a few hours.  I just spoke with one of the senior partners at my office.  I was supposed to meet with him Friday morning at 9 so he was one of the first people I had to call to tell them I wouldn’t be at work.  He gave me the day off and told me to be with my family because I would be in shock.  Talking to him just now, I realized the shock isn’t going away, it’s just changing.  Now that I know exactly what happened, who he was, and what he looked like, my memories are just more vivid.  I know part of that is filling in the holes from what I actually remember.  But the other side of that is how much more calm I am now than I was Friday morning.  I can actually think about what I saw.

When the senior partner asked how I was doing, I was honest.  I said I’m having a really hard time concentrating.  We talked briefly about how I was feeling and he understood that I can feel OK, without being completely OK.  That’s an accurate way to describe it.  It’s unfortunate though, because I have a ton of work to do.  When I walked into my office this morning it was piled high with boxes, job requests, ongoing work and binders.  I wanted to turn around and leave, but knew it would still be there tomorrow.  I wonder why I’m having so much trouble focusing at work, and if I should have taken a day or two off.  But that seems unnecessary.  After all, I am healthy and safe, and so is my family.

I feel a general sense of anxiety.  A little more than mild anxiety, but not much.  The bigger problem is that this feeling hasn’t stopped since Friday.  It’s changed a little over the weekend, especially when we were at the 24-hr emergency vet hospital with Kaia, who is now OK.  But it’s always been there.  I have a bit of a headache, a bit of a sore neck, I’m having a little trouble sleeping.  No one thing is wrong, it’s just like all the little things aren’t quite right.

This is a completely normal response to trauma.  But I felt like I was fine, which I know is also normal.  It was horrible, but it hadn’t directly affected us and we walked away unharmed.  It was sad, but had my life really changed much?  I’m starting to think maybe we didn’t walk away as unharmed as I had hoped.  I know that I will be fine.  But it’s going to be something that I have to work through.  And for me, that means talking about it.  It means telling the same story over and over until I accept that it actually happened, that I was actually there, and that there was nothing I could do.  I know each of those things to be true, but I need to internalize them instead of hearing them as facts.  I still have the urge to talk to anyone who will listen.  I know that means I’ve got a ways to go before I’m ready to close this chapter.  It will always be there, and I will periodically open it up (most likely by accident), but only briefly.  Until then, it’s still very real and at the front of my mind.  I won’t ever forget his eyes and watching death slip through his body.

Hopefully I find a way to concentrate through the emotions so I can be effective at work while working through my thoughts.  It’s the only way I know to keep my sanity.

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