Sucker Punched By My Brain

Thanks, PTSD. I was wondering if this would happen.

I was minding my own business when I got hit with mental hell. Not really a panic attack, not really anything I can successfully describe, but it was like I got my mental teeth knocked out, and I was reeling. Shit. I still am.

This morning was another episode of unwilling to get outta bed. I have no problem with this, thankfully no one and nothing needed my immediate attention, and I am determined to get as much sleep as I can this week. I’ve had a lot of problems with memory lately – I have a hard time recalling events and feelings, and I have no clue for the most part who I used to be. I was surprised, then, that this morning I clearly remembered the day of my car wreck and the day after.

I remembered that I didn’t stop.

I hydroplaned early afternoon. By 4pm I was at the doctor being checked for a concussion and internal bleeding (which I didn’t have). By 7pm I was at my grandma’s for our weekly tv watching, acting as if nothing had happened (she still doesn’t know I had a car wreck). By 7am the next morning I was at Enterprise renting a car and by 9:30am I was sitting in law class, on time and with my books and notes.

It never stopped after that. I worked 50 hours a week and was in grad school full time (12 hours a semester). The couple of times I have tried to slow down I’ve had a close family member have an critical injury or a medical crisis.

I’m not really surprised that I’m starting to see some of the harder to deal with symptoms of PTSD. All the digging around in my brain I’m doing is likely to stir up some hard to deal with moments, including the ones I can’t explain or understand or manage very well. And I have very little capacity for additional stress right now, so work emails and some text messages are setting me off.

But dammit, I’m going to do this.

Slow Roll Through My Thoughts

Getting out of bed was too much of an effort this morning, so I didn’t. I alternately slept and meditated, trying to put the things that got misfiled where they belong. I had a dream based on very recent and real experiences, which is unusual for me, and when I finally got up it took me about an hour to make an eat a salad.

I gardened, I wrote a note to a friend with post-partum depression, I did a ten minute yoga video, I returned a work call and I coordinated partnering with another firm for a project proposal.

That was way more productivity than I intended.

I have rushed everything so much for so long that making myself wait to tackle my mountain of to-dos is both challenging and gratifying. Being slow, laying around and thinking and making no intentional moves toward accomplishing anything is…kind of great. I’ve told myself for so long that I couldn’t do this, but it turns out I can. And I am.

Back to Digging Up Trauma

And trying to recover.

I spent the end of the week/early weekend in meetings, but a very generous friend let me crash her cottage, so other than feed myself and show up on time, I had no responsibilities. It was glorious. There was a lot of wine. And it was enough of a quiet space that by Sunday I was back in the middle of digging through the piles of trauma I haven’t yet sorted out.

I disassociate. I don’t get my heart involved but hide behind going through the motions. I fear something as yet unnamed.

The insight from my therapist this morning hit me hard. It was rough to hear what she had to say. I cried a lot. Lately I cry a lot in therapy. But beneath the tears I was happy, because hard as it is, this is what I want. I want to heal, even if it hurts.

The Things I Do Instead

I’m 17.5 hours away from being free of caregiving for a bit, and instead of plotting self-indulgent folly I’m sending wine and pizza to friends in other states who had a bad day.

I could get a bottle of my favorite bottle of bourbon plus a few bottles of wine for what I just spent on my friends.

Because I love my friends, and they carry my burdens. And have for years.

So just one inexpensive bottle of wine for me, but one really meaningful show of support that will last a lot longer than the booze and cheesy bread.

Something to Look Forward to

Grandma is being crazy (loose term, yes I know, but I don’t want to get into it), and I am actually counting the hours until I get to leave. I’m like the custodial parent here: I get all of the bad behavior while everyone else gets to see her perform for company. There is no rational thought happening in her head, and it is really frustrating to me because I cannot solve any problems here. She won’t let me solve her imaginary problems, and she frequently doesn’t tell the truth, so…I’m counting the hours.

One of my coping ideas is to figure out something to treat myself with when I get out of here in a couple of days. I haven’t settled on anything yet, but it’s as varied as a nice dinner out to getting my car detailed. I’m going to be working the next two weeks straight with a lot of travel, and there won’t be much room after Thursday for something for myself, so I have about a day and a half free before I hit the road.

I want to spoil myself a bit, then it’s back to work, back to working on my health and back to recovery. But I haven’t settled on something yet, so feel free to weigh in!

What Does It Look Like to Love Myself Today?

A couple of weeks ago my therapist got down to a root issue I’ve had for a long time. I don’t really love myself. There’s a lot of why, but the why is in the past, and right now, today, I’m remembering that conversation and pondering what to do about it.

I agree. I don’t love myself, and a good bit of the time I don’t even like myself. My life has gotten sideways, and I haven’t spent any time working on being and doing what I like. I’ve been pulled away from what I love, and there’s a lot of disconnect that needs re-connection. Or new connections. I’m not sure yet.

But since I haven’t had much time to rest in the last two and a half months and I have a day that I can before I head back to grandma’s for my last stretch of staying with her, I’m looking at all of the things that I can do with my day. And of all of the things, I just want to stay in and watch tv. Not because I can’t do anything else (anxiety made getting out of bed this morning too hard, so I didn’t, so I’ve done that already today), but because I honest to goodness just want to chill. No hiking, no working, no effort, no driving, no yoga, just mindless tv. Because today I love myself enough to not push myself or make myself feel guilty about doing what I find comforting and calming and restful.