Flashbacks in the Rain

I almost died in a car wreck that happened in the rain. For the most part (and thanks to EMDR and a lot of therapy) I don’t really have problems anymore when I drive. When I do, I have coping skills that work well. So today was a pretty big surprise when I was driving in the rain on my way to a meeting and started having flashbacks, not about my car wreck, but about the day of my brother’s accident. Clear as anything were the memories of getting the call from my mom, picking up his truck, sitting in the ICU waiting room unable to pray and barely able to hold it together, leaning on the prayers and shoulders of friends.

I’ve rarely had flashbacks of my own trauma, much less that of someone else. And while that day was traumatic for me, it hasn’t had nearly the impact that my own trauma has.

As I began to write this post, I also began to ask why and to process what happened this afternoon. I’m dreaming again… I’m processing again… I’m resolving trauma again.

I am done being afraid of the hold the past has on me. I’ve survived this much this long, and I can deal with whatever else boils up. But this was interesting, because as much as the flashback experience while driving on slick roads was not pleasant, it didn’t shake me. I’m now more curious about it, about where it came from and why that day?

I dream when I’m relaxed or when I am processing. Emotions, events – they all get run through my dream cycles in full color and epic drama. I don’t dream the exact thing, I dream versions of it, or nothing at all related. I started dreaming again this week after a long time off. My resting heart rate is slowly dropping, I’m a little more calm during the day and now memories are emerging that probably haven’t been dealt with. The human brain is fascinating.

Am I excited by this? Nope. Am I afraid of it? Also nope. Gonna deal with it and move on…

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Week One Off the Meds

When they all seem to conspire against you…

I’m not going to post about this every week, but I have made it through the first week of coming off my medications. It was hell. And I’m still full of synthetic chemicals. 

The situations and circumstances around me were the real issue, not my response to quitting my first prescription. I’m ok. Maybe a little more grumpy, a little more intense and a little more looking for connection. There’s also a slight internal shift I can’t put my finger on yet. I might have a little more ability to push through? I think I might also be slimming down a tad. Or it was the 6 hours of playing ball on Wednesday…

Between my family, my friends and my job, the week was bonkers. I’m not sure who called who to sabotage my sanity this week, but they did their damndest. I don’t hate people any more than usual though, and I successfully ran a meeting full of strangers, so… Maybe that was a test? I guess I passed? 

I reckon it’ll be January before I’m completely off everything. That’s a bit ambitious, but I’m nothing if not ambitious. And if this goes the way I’m planning for it to, I’ll be much better off by my birthday. 

A Day of Rest

Anxiety pushes me to keep moving, keep going, do, do more and do more than that.

Yesterday I carried a baby around, played with small children while their parents ate lunch (we ran like airplanes and made a “campfire” with acorns, leaves and sticks), worked quietly and watched my football team lose in the last minute after dominating the first half. No exercise, no letting the Fitbit dictate my day, no feeling bad about finishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, no staying up late “just because”. After a week of massive steps forward in my recovery, dreaming every night with dreams that are resolving things in my brain, putting dozens of miles in, hitting a big deadline and enjoying the heck outta some bagels and coffee, I rested. It felt so good.

Anxiety pushes me to keep moving, keep going, do, do more and do more than that. Resting, quiet, stillness have been my enemy. I haven’t quite gotten to taking a day off or going on vacation, but I have finally established a bit of a weekly schedule, set some boundaries for myself and gotten some sleep. This is the acknowledgement of that, that for an entire week I put effort and attention toward taking care of myself, even when I was busy, stressed, anxious and multitasking.

PTSD is a weird beast. It’s taken a long time to beat it back, but this was the first week that there wasn’t a glimmer of light, there was a beam of it. I’m basking in it!