Two Weeks Home in Brooklyn

My roommate moved out. It was a surprise. She was supposed to give me a move out date so that I could provide a move deposit with the management office.

I came home to a quiet space Friday night. It was dirty. It’s still dirty, even though she “cleaned”. And a lot of her stuff is still here. She was supposed to come Saturday. I don’t think she did.

Now it’s Monday. I’m supposed to be working, but it’s difficult to focus. My anxiety level is high. I will go to the roof to try some somatic self-therapy.

…[later]

I went to the roof, sat down and practiced Sensory Regulation. The sensations were numerous including feeling a pit in my stomach that went to my throat, spinning, hyperventilating, and a hard heart beat. Tightness from the back of my throat went to the back of my tongue and then the front of my tongue. I must have sat there with my eyes closed for two minutes. After I felt calm, I came back to the apartment. Now I feel grief.

I found myself walking around my apartment having difficulty focusing on any one thing. I tried to get my co-workers to give me a task to work on, thinking that some urgency would help me focus on something. (Writing this post is hard to focus on; this is now the third attempt.)

I could not feel the anxiety. I only knew from experience that it was there. But now my heart feels squeezed, and I can’t help but shed it through tears.

A couple minutes passed while the dog came over; I put her on my lap, and the tears of grief poured down. She stayed there until the crying stopped. Was this sense of grief a release from that anxiety? Slowly, it lifts.

I look around at my apartment. I had been cleaning, organizing, and trying to make it more comfortable. I don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did before I went to the roof. I think I’m able to focus on some work now, though I am mentally exhausted. It’s only day 3 out of two weeks (minus a few days of work travel) being in my Brooklyn apartment where my life changed because of 9/11.

If my roommate were still here, what would have been different or would it have been different at all? While she was here, I accepted the dust under the furniture and didn’t try to clean it. But now that she’s gone, it’s one more thing to take care of. So, I probably wouldn’t have had such a hard time focusing. Perhaps the anxiety was a matter of these added things on my to do list. Though the thought keeps coming up of how life was a few years ago when I struggled to pay the bills, keep a job, open the mail, and take care of myself. Maybe this grief I felt was for those years when I was emotionally dead.

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