I hiked through granite outcroppings with friends yesterday. It was very hot, some parts were very steep, and one of my new PTSD experiences is a bit of vertigo/limitations on depth perception when looking down, particularly if I’m hiking. It comes and goes, but seems to occur more with anxiety. Sometimes it happens when I walk downstairs, and the end result is that I am not nearly as steady on my feet as I would like to be.
As we climbed up a rain-made gully, I was aware that coming back down would not be easy for me. The hike up was steep, I am not at a fitness level with which I feel confident in exerting myself in climbing across rocks and my muscles were cranky at having to work. I used my hands a lot, leaning forward, using all of my body to balance with a hiking backpack and water loading me down a bit.
I just read an article last week about when to push yourself and when to back off with anxiety. If you feel uncomfortable, push yourself. If you feel real fear, back off. I probably crossed a lot into fear, because this was really intimidating to me, but I climbed up the granite faces and made my way to the top with my friends one bit at a time.
Coming down was hard. Way harder than going up.
With a real fear of my feet slipping and sending me tumbling down and vision and perception issues, it was hell getting back down off that rock. We were a few hundred feet up, it was getting hot enough that the rock burned my hands as I climbed down backward rather than go down forwards, and I had to mentally stay present with where I was instead of worrying about what was ahead. At one point my phone fell out of the pack and my screen is now shattered in two places.
But I did it.
I used my hands and feet and yoga practice to balance and support myself as I descended in the way I knew was safest for me. I don’t have the muscle right now to support a more bold approach, but I did have the strength to let myself down over the steep rock faces in a way that challenged my body and held to its limitations. It felt so good to get back on the main trail, where it was another mile back through the burning sun to the condo.
And I did it.
I was so proud of myself for pushing though something that made me really uncomfortable and managing my fear and anxiety so that I could accomplish something that I initially didn’t think I could do.
Forgot to water my mint and it went from vibrant and healthy to scorched. There’s a life lesson here…
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.
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!
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.
Sometimes I’m just not ready. I ruminate for a while on my options and think through what I want to do next before I do it. I think so much of my life happens in a way that demands an immediate response that when I have the option, I take my time. So I’m taking my time on the big pushes forward – the kettlebells, the schedule change, the diet change, the consistent yoga and meditation practice. It’s going to be a lot of work to make my recovery a priority after a year and a half of putting other people’s crises first. It’s going to be a lot of work to drop the stress levels.
But the work must be done. When I’m ready.
After I was almost unresponsive last night and a friend almost came to intervene, I thought today was my last day at grandma’s.
For various reasons it’s not, and I have three more days next week, then I’m done and can try to regain some semblance of a life.
I could take it (relatively) easy till Sunday, hide and just try to survive. But I want more, Little Mermaid style, and I have impulses to eat healthy, swing Kettlebells and get out in the sun. So I guess let’s do that before one more round.