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Therapy Homework – Have a Coping Plan

My therapist has told me in our past few sessions that I needed to develop a coping plan for the upcoming holidays and for our wedding anniversary, which is November 11. For those of you who don’t know what day that is… it’s about 5 minutes from now.

I’ve never been the sort to remember “morbid” anniversaries, like the day a loved one found out they had terminal cancer or the day someone died. I know plenty of people do that, though, so I usually marked them on calendar so I’d know to keep my eye on their mood. Now here I am, having spent all week in this dark funk dreading the day coming up, and not really having a solid plan.

Originally, I was going to keep a reservation I’d made in the mountains. It was a small cabin getaway, and I was going to surprise her with it. Obviously, she wouldn’t want to go with me now, but I had thought I’d go alone. Then I had a few dreams about going up there by myself, getting nice and drunk, and shooting myself in the head. (You should shoot from the side, by the way. If you ‘swallow’ the gun like so many movies do, you run a much higher risk of surviving.) So, after some consideration on that, I decided that I’d stay in town and I cancelled the reservation.

My ‘plan’ now is to stay home, by myself, and start cleaning the house. I’ve let it get a little messy, and the bathroom renovation made that mess bigger than I wanted it to be, but that’s not what I mean. I mean start boxing up things that are hers, or things that remind me of her. I spent most of today making a playlist of really good “Wallowing in my Misery” songs to blast throughout the house tomorrow. I expect that I’ll cry a lot, sometimes so much that I just drop to the floor and sob it out, but I also expect that maybe I’ll sing along, dance a little. Cleaning out the reminders just seems like the natural next step at this point, something productive instead of destructive.

Another thing I’m going to do is cook an “anniversary meal.” It’s not going to be anything fancy, like cheesy gooey mashed potatoes (pommes aligot) or fat cheesy rice (risotto). But it’ll be something that I wouldn’t normally cook. Learning to cook is a goal I’ve set for myself, with the end goal of that being jambalaya. (It’s not going to be that either.)

Plans or no, I don’t really know what tomorrow is going to look like for me. I know that I’m going to shun contact, because tomorrow is MY struggle, and I need to face it. I know that it will probably get really, really dark at some point in the day. I also know that I can call any one of my friends if it gets TOO dark (you know where I’m talking about) and they would probably drop everything to come and sit with me, or at least comfort me on the phone and talk me down until I felt stable again.

If you text me tomorrow, or call, or use any of the various messaging services and I don’t answer, don’t assume the worst. I’m turning my phone off when I go to sleep. I’m probably not turning it back on until Friday.

I will be okay. I couldn’t have written that fucking letter to myself only to turn around and prove it wrong, after all. I may not fully believe it yet… but that doesn’t mean I’m not trying to believe it. I’ll get there. I will survive tomorrow, and one day I will love myself at least as strongly as so many of you do.

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