Jesus F. Christ my head hurts. Not sure why, but I’m on my 4th evening of pounding headaches. It’s always worse in the evenings, or maybe I just notice it more now because I’m finally still. Maybe it’s the stress from work. Seventy-five percent of my case managers quit in the last 30 days for better paying opportunities, which is a standard part of the nonprofit industry, though unfortunate that it happened at the same time. The lack of staff puts outcomes at risk, which puts grant funding at risk, which puts my program at risk, which puts my vulnerable clients at risk, which sucks. Or maybe the stress is from my kids who have finals next week. These children I’m trying to guide to adulthood without being either a “helicopter mom” or too detached. The Eldest is supposed to leave for college in eight short months and has let her grades slip this year, putting potential scholarships at risk, which puts her ability to go to her chosen faraway college at risk, which may end up being a tough life lesson. Even if she makes it, how am I going to pay for it? It could be the battle for the IEP at my younger daughter’s school, or my son who is completely uninterested in school, or my stepdaughter who’s mother visits her a few times a year and always leaves emotional turmoil in her wake, or from my doctoral program that just started back up for the Spring semester, or the internship I need to establish in order to collect the data I need in order to complete my dissertation.
This is all part of the journey. All of these daily stressors and worries, both positive and negative, that I use to drown with alcohol every night. I can feel now. I can feel all of it. Like electricity it courses through my system, furrowing my brow and settling in my shoulders and neck like rigor mortis, as if that is where stress goes to die.
And the nightmares. Vivid flashes of unfinished tasks and hidden fears. I didn’t remember my dreams before getting sober. I always just passed out. Now my brain is awake again and it is letting me know it. I know that eventually homeostasis will be reached and my brain and body will reach a place of harmony, and I can’t very well expect 20 years of heavy drinking to be repaired overnight.
Trust the process.
That’s what they told us in grad school. When we complained about writing a biopsychosocial for the hundredth time, or any of the million other seemingly pointless tasks you have to do, or when you couldn’t fathom how a patient treatment plan was really going to work, they always told us to trust the process. They were right. Trust the process. Walk the walk. Do what you need to do. It will come out alright in the end.