What It’s Taking to Stay Calm

Grandma gets up between 1 and 2am to move from her bed to her recliner because she sleeps better in her recliner. Which means I get up to move her. She says her legs hurt when she lays in bed, but she won’t sleep all night in the recliner because she wants to not be sitting for a couple of hours.

She makes everything hard.

Despite demanding that the air conditioner be turned off at night because it wakes her up when it kicks on (she claims she doesn’t sleep anyway so hell if I understand why we need to be unnecessarily warm), she pulled her throw over her legs after I moved her, and tipped her recliner forward. You know, like you do as a kid on purpose.

But this wasn’t (was it?) On purpose, so there’s a thunk and a panicked help and me bolting off the couch to set her upright before she lands on the floor.

I have PTSD. Bolting out of any excuse for a bed in the middle of the night is not great for me, because the sudden rush of adrenaline can be a trigger. And usually is.

Since my family won’t support me and I’m left managing my condition by myself, I’m trying to stay calm, take on as few responsibilities as possible and keep my panic response in check until I can go home tomorrow afternoon. Which means I’m exhausted by 5, hungry all the time and still not really getting back the brain function that’s shut down by anxiety. I have very little energy, and will likely spend the weekend in bed.

“I Know, Honey, We’ll Talk About It Later.”

That was my mom’s response yesterday when I told her my anxiety had reached a point that I would either need to check in to a hospital or knock myself out on Xanax for a few days. Either way, I was losing decision making and problem solving function and about to be unavailable to anyone for anything.

That was her response.

Kind of like the upstairs neighbor, I wasn’t even mad, I just didn’t know what was going on. Huh?

So I calmed myself as best I could, went back to grandma’s, tried to stay calm, handled work the best I could, was very pleasant, and tried to make a plan to reduce my responsibilities as much as possible for a couple of days.

😝

Parking Lot Thoughts

I’m early to therapy, which is surprising given that this level of anxiety usually results in me being slightly late to everything. Grandma’s super-punctual care giver got me out ahead of schedule, so I have a few minutes to sit with my spinning thoughts.

The things that will make this better overall are the hardest to do. I have very little decision-making ability, little problem solving, little motivation – the things I normally rely on to get through life. And I really want them to be there, but they’re not… So now what? Or rather, what, for now?

Maybe just get through today…

Anxiety Days

A hail storm knocked our power out last night. I was knitting and watching tv when marble-sized hail started pounding the roof, and I was so glad my trees were still inside waiting for warmer nights to arrive. It wasn’t terribly hard to sleep since it was quiet and pitch black, and we got the lights back on this morning.

I’ve had severe anxiety all day.

I stopped taking Xanax, so I don’t really have the reset. This is anxiety that doesn’t respond to exercise. It has a lot to do with current work stress. Being mindful helps me take slow steps forward, but still doesn’t stop the spinning and the desire to freeze.

It’s beautiful out, if windy. It’s a great day to hike. I’m inside, still in pajamas, having worked slowly this morning into afternoon and napped late afternoon.

Maybe tomorrow. But not today. And really, that’s fine.

Work Causes Me Anxiety… But Deadlines

I have residual anxiety from this weekend’s meltdown, and the down side to quitting Xanax is that I have a hard time resetting after the bad triggers. I’m still up and down a bit today. And super anxious about meeting work deadlines.

In an alternate universe in which I don’t have PTSD, it’s not a big deal, I sit down and knock it out. In this universe I have a really hard time focusing, I need a nap, yoga somehow put me more on edge, I need two days completely by myself in quiet, I’d rather go for a walk, and about that nap…

I know I can do this. History says I will do this, and do it fine. But anxiety says no, and that shit is loud in my head.

A New Box Full of Trauma

I was thinking I could close the chapter on therapy and roll on down the road.

As it happens, 6 weeks of caring for grandma and working full time with one day off has pushed my stress levels back up to anxiety – producing, and I found a whole lot more trauma that hasn’t been addressed.

I never know what my brain will read as a threat. I am realizing that if I have a lot of stress I tend to start spinning with anxiety, and if I don’t have a way to back out of what’s causing me stress, something will inevitably trigger me. It feels like it comes out of nowhere, but if I think about it, I’m almost anticipating it. Because PTSD brain looks for trouble, looks for negative, likes to be destructive… Ugh.

Then I have to get to safety and quiet so I can start calming down. There’s no calming down when there are perceived threats around me.

Basically, I go home.

And try again tomorrow.

Run for 15 Minutes

My brother gave me Jabra Elite ear buds for Christmas to replace the ear buds that came with my phone. I had ruined them by getting caught in a couple of thunderstorms last summer, and he went above and beyond on the gift. They’re great.

They pair with an app, which I finally downloaded today. As I look at ways to mindfully improve my health, I’m going to have to put in some cardio. I haven’t done that since my car wreck. It was just too much for my brain to handle high intensity exercise.

Now, however, I’m at a point in recovery that I can start pushing myself to make some physical health gains, and I’m doing it with some limitations on what and where I can do it since I’m caring for my Grandma 4-5 days a week.

Do what you can, where you can though! So I downloaded the app, and it told me to run for 15 minutes to check my VO2. Haha, I don’t run, and I’m certainly not able to run for 15 minutes! What a joke! Do only people who are already fit own these? I don’t get a runner’s high, and I hate running.

I did it though. I stayed focused on my breathing, made reasonable goals along the way, went back to my breathing to try to keep a rhythm, and toward the end checked the time a few times.

My health level is poor.

No kidding. That’s why I’m doing this.