Pick Back Up

I bounced back from this weekend faster than I ever have from a severe PTSD episode, but I still don’t have the momentum and sunny disposition I’ve previously had when whatever it is that flips the switch in my brain does its thing. I’m in vaguely familiar but still uncharted territory, and it’s about as uncomfortable as you might think.

But I have so much to do.

I feel like I’m grinding gears, trying to find the right gear to move forward in and not quite getting there while the engine is working. It’s creating a lot of tension and not helping me focus while I try to balance the forces of energy and find the right fit.

Mostly I want to fight.

I’d Rather Go Play

It has been a long week and a half for me. A lot of travel, a lot of cold, exposure to a lot of germs I am sure, a lot of conflict that was REALLY HARD TO RESOLVE and a lot of time-crunched work. And a lot of sleep, because when my body doesn’t want to wake up IT DOES NOT WANT TO WAKE UP.

I have a self-imposed work deadline today that is completely unnecessary and that goes against what I want to work on toward balancing my day. I like to rush to get things done and put off taking care of myself until I finish a task, but that CLEARLY isn’t working for me, so now I need to practice managing my time and workload to make space for well-being. Which is probably why I want to go play. After putting my head down and working through what I just did, I want to just skip around and smile! And I can…as soon as I meet this deadline

My Typical Friday Night Thought Process

By the time Friday night rolls around, my brain is doing something like this:

(checking weather forecast) ok so I didn’t get around to my side projects for work this week and I could work on the mapping project tomorrow, or I could work on that paper I want to write…exercise would be good, but it’ll be pretty warm so maybe I’ll go for a walk if I get up early enough because I don’t want to sweat a lot…but I could work all afternoon and that would be fine, and it’ll help me get caught up so I’ll be ready to deal with whatever happens next week, and I’ve been wanting to get some forward progress on that mapping and haven’t done it…I really need to get my shit together…maybe Monday I’ll try to be better about eating and exercise, I just need to get caught up on these projects……………………

By the time Friday night rolls around, my body is doing something like this:

Wow, I still have a lot of tension in my shoulders, and the spot on my shoulder that sometimes has stabbing pain is flaring up…I really want to rest and take a break…are you noticing what is happening? I need you to take a time out and start writing about your trauma experiences, because you’re still stuck on a few things and you just learned that writing can be an effective way to integrate trauma…you’re also carrying a lot of tension in your hips and your breathing is still shallow a lot of the time, so take some time to practice yoga…you just learned that approaching yoga differently than you’ve done it so far could be really beneficial to your nervous system, so take some time to try that out and see what happens…………..

My weekends need some practice.

100 Days of Healing – Day 90

I have a Fitbit for feedback. I like to know where my resting heart rate is, I like to know how much I’m moving, I like to know how I sleep, and I count calories. I used to do it obsessively, but I’ve stopped that and now just use it for data. I stopped counting this past weekend when I let my phone battery die. I ate when I was hungry, I rested because that’s what felt good, and when I got home the weather and some chores I wanted to get done didn’t give me the time to go for a walk and get in a little exercise. And that’s ok. My weight is back up a bit, and that’s ok. I listened to my body and gave it what it asked for.

And now it’s asking for something else.

Yesterday started out sleeping a little bit too long and being rushed to get out the door to an appointment. As soon as that was done though, I went back to the routine I wanted, slowed things down, took some time to check in with my schedule, make some plans and decide what was important for this week.

I also decided that I was going to go low calorie through Thursday and start engaging in some small exercise every day, because my body needs balance. I don’t do balance, that has been escaping me my whole life, but I think I am ready to begin balance.

And maybe I have viewed balance as something it’s not – a constant state. I think maybe it’s more acknowledging that things are rocking and responding by doing the things that bring harmony back.

I indulged in food, now I am going to un-indulge.

I’ve avoided exercise, now I am going to practice it.

I’ve ignored unhealthy relationships that called and demanded my time and energy, now I’m being intentional about connecting with people who are meaningful and supportive of me.

I rushed out the door, now I’m taking a few moments to calm and center and drink some tea before I go to the next thing.

It’s a small start, but practice begins with those small starts.

100 Days of Healing – Day 61

I’m back in neutral. It’s such a tenuous place, and I expect to be thrown out of it at any moment. Not exactly being present or living in the moment, but it’s going to take a lot of practice for me to be able to be comfortable with not freaking out. That may sound ridiculous, but the constant scan for threats to my perceived safety and security is beyond hard to turn off.

I’m noticing that I’m starting to be able to find some balance. It’s been nearly manic activity or hiding in bed for so long, and now, even if initially I find a task to be challenging, I can usually calmly consider it and get to a place that I can tackle it. If I don’t want to do something I think about it until I can calmly approach it. I even considered doing something that I then decided would be too stressful and told myself no.

Creativity is slowly starting to unfurl in my brain. I get little bits and pieces, glimpses of ideas and a hint of the motivation to pursue it. I’ve been in survival mode, then get standing mode, for so long that it feels like a new game to begin to get close to moving forward. And I’m kind of looking forward to it, and starting to believe I can.

Be the Introvert You Are

That was advice from my therapist, who explained to be that in very simplified terms, people either drain you (introvert) or energize you (extrovert).

People drain me.

One of my new goals as I try to practice a lifestyle that leads (hopefully!) to fewer panic episodes and less anxiety is to be much more mindful about the things that push me over the edge of the panic cliff, and about letting stress build up until my brain freaks out and quits.

I’m in week two of wanting to mostly stay in bed, so this seems like pretty good goals.

I don’t really rest much. I haven’t in years. I don’t take vacations that act like vacations, I don’t schedule down time, I don’t pause – I just speed through life then crash and burn and get up and do it again.

So!

I spoke on a panel yesterday evening about two hours from where I live, so spent a lot of the later part of the day in the car or talking to a room full of people. I really enjoyed it, the topic is of real interest to me and my fellow panelists were very informed on the topic. I stopped for dinner with a friend on the way home, got home at midnight and went to bed.

I woke up at 10:30 this morning. I slept hard.

This evening I’m back at another program, although I’m not speaking at this one, and it’s not quite as far away but it’s very similar. So, trying to learn from yesterday and be mindful of how I feel, I’m taking an hour or two this afternoon to be quiet and still before I hop in the car and go be work me around a lot of people. Then tomorrow I will plan some down time during the day so that I don’t get too rushed and overwhelmed as I recover from this last big PTSD episode.