I’m working, I’m focused, I’m doing yoga without issue other than that it’s challenging for my body, I’m ignoring things that aren’t important right now, I’m connecting, I’m planning ahead, I’m not pushing myself to do things “just because” or out of some unhealthy sense of obligation, I’m eating for fuel and nutrition and not to cope, I’m sleeping, I’m learning and I am so, so grateful for today <3.
The Sahara Dust is killing any ideas I have about walking outside (I tried it Monday and won’t be doing that again), so I’m probably not achieving my exercise goals this week. Eh.
I also am losing interest in food as a way to numb/cope, which feels weird but is good. I haven’t stopped eating, I just am not focused on eating, and can go hours without any interest in food. It’s such a change from before, and it’s nice! I’ve also been sleeping a lot this week, and letting myself sleep. Things are still getting done, even if they are not all getting done today, and my resting heart rate has dropped another 3 beats per minute – a sign that I have less stress and anxiety.
I had a really great conversation with my boyfriend last night, much closer to when we started dating than recently. We talked about Things Going On In The World until late, and that free flow of ideas and questions is such a gift, because I can’t do that with just anyone, and it reminded me why I like him so much.
I’m trying to both do more things that I enjoy and enjoy more things that I do. Yesterday I traveled across the desert, drank a lot of wine, soaked up the landscape and got rained on. There’s something about me and rain in the desert. I was at Uluru in the middle of Australia twelve years ago and it rained on the full day I was out there hiking – so much so that the rock turned to waterfalls and the desert became green. They said it happens once or twice a year. Yesterday wasn’t as dramatic, but the 20 degree drop in temps due to the rain was a nice change.
When I stopped for the night, my mind turned to how unready I am to carry on with the work of life. I’ve been wondering how substantial the changes I need to make in my lifestyle might need to be for me to be whole, for me to step away from frayed nerves and a perpetually high alert nervous system. It’s not a peaceful way to live, and the recovery time from doing that for several years seems…insurmountable.
I’ve walked more than 20 miles this week, most of it in two big hikes that have left my muscles sore and the rest of me really tired. 20 miles in a week is not a lot, and less than when I’m walking in the evenings at home. However, these 20 miles had a lot of uphill or uprock, some downhill so steep I had to go down backwards and temps that sucked the air out of me. All of my wrinkles are showing, because as much as I drink I need MORE WATER, constantly. It’s not a bad mantra, actually. More water.
I bought clothes that fit.
That is a huge statement about acceptance for me. For whatever reason I have been trapped by the size of the clothes I used to wear. I don’t want to buy new clothes, so I have a fairly limited wardrobe at present of clothes that will stretch to accommodate my weight gain. I also don’t want to buy new clothes because I’m an inch away from shopping at plus size stores, and I have not been able to accept that about myself.
I’m heading off to the desert to try to get my nervous system regulated and to begin practicing a more caring lifestyle toward myself. I need a break from my normal routine and I need space to think. As I was planning my retreat, an email popped up about REI’s summer sale. I have been needing a sports bra that is not like wiggling into a straight jacket, so I had a look and found two things that I’ve been wanting, a new bra and a sun protective shirt for hot weather. Both great for this trip, both on serious sale, both…
…in my size.
My actual size. Not my old size, not the size I wish for, but my actual size. I checked the measurement charts to be sure, thought briefly about ordering a size smaller, then got honest with myself and ordered my actual size.
The items arrived in the mail today (early!), and they fit. It was so nice to have clothes that fit. The size labels suddenly didn’t matter, what mattered was that I was comfortable, confident and excited that I had successfully ordered clothes online. And I am going to enjoy the heck outta that bra and shirt because they represent healing, growth and positive change for me.
I have recently become aware of how often I disassociate – I am presently lacking memory of a lot of time. I hurt everywhere. My weight is at its highest ever at 216 lbs. Getting out of bed is unappealing. Vigorous exercise is less appealing. Healing trauma is appealing, but it’s hard and makes me tired. I kind of just want to quit, in a general sense.
I’ve been sleeping this week. I’ve been trying to let my body rest as much as possible. That has meant I am also dreaming vivid dreams every night. I’ve noticed that the last two nights my dreams have shifted from a seemingly random and meandering narrative and wandering around places then waking feeling disturbed to dreaming that I am taking control of and addressing situations I don’t like. Last night, for example, I was eating dinner outside under a large awning and someone was flying a drone right over our heads and up under the awning. It was disturbing and unpleasant, so I reached up and pulled it out of the air, knowing that I could do that with no injury to myself if I caught the part that rests on the ground during takeoff and landing. I shook it to break it out of radio control and tossed it on the ground, to everyone else’s shock.
I like to think it’s a sign that I’m ready to take charge of my life again.
I don’t like myself right now – I don’t like who I’ve become post-trauma. I realized this yesterday evening. Disregard the weight gain – I’m not comfortable in my own skin because I don’t like my skin. I don’t like my limitations, and I am not willing to make peace with something I don’t like. Changing myself will be hard, but this whole effort to heal (and therefore be a person I enjoy being) is hard anyway. I understand that self-judging and criticizing isn’t helpful to me right now, and I don’t think I’m doing that, I think I can just admit that I don’t honestly like ME and want to be someone I do like.
So here’s to the start of 100 Days of seeing where I can go with an intentional effort to heal, with a big curiosity about what I can learn and who I can be.
My boyfriend triggered me the other day, and my brain is now reading him as a threat.
He didn’t mean to, but he did something that I’ve previously expressed can be triggering for me. It was a communication issue, and he dropped the ball, so to speak, without having a reason or explanation why. I was PISSED, not only because I had been triggered but now I was facing having to do the work to make him not be a threat. Work I really wasn’t sure I even wanted to do.
Avoiding is easier!
I am working hard to not avoid, to face my challenges and the reasons behind them and I am really trying to heal. It’s hard, it’s scary and it makes me sleep a lot. It makes me react a lot when I even think it should be a fairly calm scenario.
Throw on top of that a person I am close to and trust triggering me because he didn’t bother to do something that is, frankly, common courtesy at least and for me a necessity.
So I did what I have a really hard time doing. In my last decade I had a lot of people run roughshod over my boundaries – a lot of that at work, but trauma stacks up, and I had some traumatizing work experiences. I set a hard line boundary of what I will and will not tolerate, and made peace with whatever outcomes resulted from holding that line.
The result has been both of us working to calm the effects of the trigger, a good weekend, honesty and some teamwork.
I long ago discarded the narrative of a man providing for me, rescuing me or saving me from…whatever. I was raised to do those things for myself, and I do them. Including the saving from PTSD. No one has stepped in or stepped up for my recovery, I have done that myself without much support, except for the therapist I pay, and I sought her out myself too.
I didn’t mean to date anyone at this point in my life, because it’s hard enough to manage myself without also managing a relationship with someone else. I certainly didn’t mean to be in a serious relationship, but here we are. And I find myself having to dig into and rip out a lot of expectations that I didn’t know were there, expectations that, left unaddressed, would get in the way of my efforts to heal. Or maybe would if I hadn’t met just the right person.
Because of our current job/career positions, I’m the one with more financial bandwidth, so I pay for dates. I also give him gifts and buy him things. Because of our differences in personality, I do a lot of the planning and coordinating. Because I have anxiety, I ask a lot of the questions and do a lot of the checking in.
I can’t hide behind him. I can’t run for cover with someone who can provide for me and make a lot of my problems disappear so that I can ignore them. He’s working on a lot of changes right now too, and change is hard. I can’t hide behind his stability because it isn’t there. I can’t let up or slack off because he can’t catch me if I do.
And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Because it keeps me pushing forward, for me.