100 Days of Healing – Day 40

I am learning to be intentional about taking days off. For a long time I would have so much anxiety and distress that I didn’t have much of a choice, I couldn’t get anything done and spent hours in a mental vortex. Rather than giving myself some space, I still struggled with the need to “get stuff done”, and probably made things worse because I felt guilty about my anxiety interfering with my productivity. It’s been a battle for me to accept stopping, pausing and resting because I’m so afraid I’ll fall behind and not catch up.

Having a day in which I don’t accomplish anything and don’t intend to is a radical form of self-acceptance for me. And while my mind still has swirls of “but you could…” or “what if you did…” and “you need to…”, I am pushing those thoughts aside and letting the day be the day.

And on a Monday, I am not behind, I am not scrambling to catch up, I am not in the weeds or faltering, I have a normal workday with requests, requirements and opportunities and a schedule that was not negatively impacted by taking a full day off.

100 Days of Healing – Day 6

I slept hard and dreamt again. While I don’t remember much of the dream, I knew very shortly after I woke up what it was about. I was processing having a hidden illness.

I don’t know if it’s because I could realize it or because it was processed, but I don’t feel hung up on having an invisible illness anymore. It doesn’t feel like a burden or weight to have experiences that no one else can see. I don’t feel a need to run around shouting about being broken by trauma, but I also don’t feel my usual aversion to humans in the context of debating whether to hide or reveal my struggles. I simply feel neutral on the topic, and that whatever I choose to hide or reveal is exactly that – my choice.

I’ve made a few steps forward in being regulated – I brushed my teeth and went to bed on time last night. The next step for me is beginning to journal.

I had a post-trauma ritual of recording re-traumatizing experiences as a sort of recorded narrative that served to reinforce the trauma rather than release it. For that reason I have a negative association with journaling. When my therapist suggested I try it, I was not interested until she pointed out that may be something I take back – reclaim as a beneficial thing instead of a negative. I think it’ll help me to sort out the dreams, the slowness and the feeling that only my lowest level cognitive abilities are functioning.

And I am not going to go buy a new journal and go through some ritual of needing a new book and a new pen and nice writing and whatever. I am using the small, blank book the stalker gave me the day I met him in Paris. That day and what happened after made my experience of enjoying myself and attracting energy a liability, and I have not been that person – A PERSON I ENJOYED IMMENSELY – since. Maybe this will help reclaim that too.

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.

Some If, Then… of Trying to Manage Severe Anxiety

I’ve lately been thinking a hospital visit or heavy medication would be a good idea. As I go through constant rounds of severe anxiety, my energy is wearing down, and the last two nights of driving over an hour in heavy mist and fog have just about done me in. I’m super stressed about work, even though it’s something I can and normally would handle just fine, and the thought of going back to my grandma’s house tonight for four days to care for her is just about more than I can stand right now.

So I had this thought last week and it continues to this weekend that the hospital is kind of an appealing option, and feels close to necessary. Right down to the hospital gown, the bed, the bracelet, the people checking on me, the relative isolation…whatever.

Because if I am experiencing anxiety this bad, I might need a medical intervention. If I am experiencing anxiety this bad, and my family will not hear me, I might need something that they would view more credibly, like a doctor and a hospital. If I cannot manage to come off of this going-on-two-weeks spike in PTSD symptoms, I may need something to help me do that. What I am doing is not working, so I need something else. What I am doing is not helping, so I may need to try a different tactic. If I keep going with my current responsibilities, I might go into crisis that I cannot manage.

As I mentally sorted through my options after I got home last night (after driving through some of the thickest fog I have ever seen), as I said to myself, “Ok, if I do this, what am I trying to accomplish from that? And if I take that option, what will it solve?” I realized that it wasn’t really about going to the hospital, it’s that if I check myself in, my family will maybe have to acknowledge the severity of my condition in a way that they presently will not. Then I might not have to struggle under so many burdens. Then I might get a break. Then maybe I will be accommodated. Maybe.

Other option is to hang in there for two and a half more weeks, try to do my job the best I can, try to stay calm and sane at Grandma’s, do the things on my calendar, sleep more on the weekends, then go on strike when my mom’s job finishes and she is more available to help with Grandma. I’ve been at this for two months, I can make is another two weeks, right?

If I do, then…

If I don’t, then…

If this keeps up, then…

Anxiety is the worst, y’all.