A while ago someone suggested that 2013 might be easier than the second half of 2012. What could be harder than the initial months after my brother died, after all? Even then, though, I feared that as the initial months passed, it would actually get worse.
I think 6 months marked the end of the shock period for me. The shock is over, and this is not necessarily a good thing. Shock, or ptsd, must have some attendant ability to wrap its victim in a cocoon. My pain was, and remains, very real. My disbelief remains, and was, very real. But for 6 months after Alex died, I functioned very well in my tunnel-visioned plodding way. I also slept well. I am a lifelong insomniac and perpetual existential-worrier (something Alex also excelled at), and when he died I thought I would never sleep again. Instead, I passed out hard most nights and slept solid and dreamless, in a way I would’ve bargained my soul for in anxiety-filled teen years. I have spent my life in high stress, low pay causes, always wondering if I have chosen the place where I can be most effective. I question, and usually destroy, all of my romantic relationships. But for 6 months after Alex died, I was on a narrow path, hemmed in by shock, body shutting down at night and mind shutting down all peripheral visions.
About a week ago I started not being able to sleep again. I now worry about work at night, and toss and turn. I wonder again what I’m doing with my life, and lose my temper to a degree I have never before, screaming for the first time in my life at someone I love. The existential questionings and insomnia are old acquaintances and I could view this as a return to normal, but they are harder to cope with than usual and more extreme. This return to sharper feelings on other sides does not come with a dulling of the pain of Alex’s death; it just makes it seem that much crueler that not only did I lose my brother, but I can still lose my sanity, my control, my job, and my relationship in my grief. If I can still cry so hard I can lose my voice and get a stomach ache, it seems only fair that I should get that cocoon of dullness back so I can sleep at night. 2013 is scaring me like no year before.