I lost 5.4 lbs on my juice cleanse last week. No surprise there. I gained a little more than half of it back the next day after a bean and cheese burrito, a handful of chips with salsa and a small piece of cake. Figures.
I immediately started thinking up my next crash diet. Keto! I’ll do keto for a month and get my weight down. And not because I really believe in fad diets or think this is a sustainable lifestyle, but because it’s important for me to see right now that I can. Did the weight come back immediately? Yes. But more to the point, I did it. And I can keep doing it. I am starting to believe I can make the changes I need to long term for a healthier lifestyle.
I’ve been walking this week and tracking my calories, or at least close enough to it. And I’ve lost nearly 2 lbs since the post-juice weight jump. I’m 3 lbs down total, and I’m pretty pleased with that, because that wasn’t crash diet, that’s real, and the juice was the kickstart I was hoping it would be. I needed to see that I could do it so that I could have the confidence to continue through what will be a longer and greater challenge.
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 picked up my kettlebell yesterday. And swung it 30 times, just to be clear that I did more than pick it up.
There is so much trauma associated with fitness and strength for me. Not because it needs to be, but because it got filed in my brain that way. It took two years of therapy for me to figure out why I am so adverse to exercise of any kind, and why, on some level, I like being fat.
I often forget that’s the case, because it’s one of the hidden effects of PTSD for me. It rarely comes to mind and leaves me puzzled a lot until I can remember just how loaded with trauma “exercise” and “being fit” are. It has a lot to do with timing, and nothing to do with exercise or being fit in and of themselves.
So kettlebell was a big step forward for me. Exercising – even small efforts – this week in the middle of a lot of drama and struggle has been a big step forward for me. I kind of want to just say “Oh ok I took a step forward! Look at that! Done now, I took a step, don’t need any more!” But that isn’t going to get me far, so more stepping it is.
I went for a really hot three hour walk this morning. After hot rock climbing two days ago my leg muscles are still sore, and my feet hurt from putting nearly 20 miles on them in three days.
I could have been miserable for a good bit of that walk, and the last mile and a half back to the house was scorching. I chose instead to meditate, to be mindful and to embrace the challenge. And the heat.
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.
I’ve leaned into healing this week. I’m still listening to Healing From Trauma: A Survivor’s Guide, and I’ve had to face up to my post-experience and the symptoms that are and aren’t going away. I’ve found that I have a lot of tension in my shoulders and neck – enough to limit my range of motion. I’ve had a couple of mild headaches. I hurt everywhere at times. I have muscle spasms at times. I have intense and lengthy dreams every night, and yesterday woke up with only survival brain functioning and not much else.
I went for walks anyway. I listened to the book anyway. I did yoga anyway. I slowly stepped forward with work anyway. I ate nutritious food anyway. I ignored all social obligations that were just obligations and not things I truly wanted to do. I handled some banking and finance transactions that needed to happen, I made the beginnings of a plan to run my company solo (my business partner has abandoned me but still has to be officially terminated from the business and we have yet to discuss any of it because he bailed out and has not bothered to communicate). I also made a backup plan for work in case that doesn’t work out.
I’m going to heal anyway.
I haven’t been intentional about it until now. I’m waking up to how often I disassociate, how much memory I don’t have because I wasn’t present, how numb I am, how overwhelmed I am, how often I am in survival mode. I’m still surviving, not living, and I am now starting to understand why.
THIS IS HARD. I’m going to do it anyway.
The next 100 days will end sometime near the end of September, close to the 5-year mark of the week of trauma that nearly took me down. And for the next 100 days, I’m going to be intentional about healing and see where I get.
I started listening to Healing from Trauma: A Survivor’s Guide while I walked yesterday. After I did yoga. So there I am doing yoga, exercising, not making excuses and working on my brain.
That shit was hard.
The book was good for me from the start. I’m only to the second chapter, but the first chapter started with “Shit happens.”, and I knew I had found a resource that would help me.
As much as it’s helping, as much as I am already learning and recognizing and feel grateful, it is really hard for me to listen to. Not because she recounts trauma stories, she’s careful not to do that because she understands getting triggered isn’t helpful. It’s hard for me to listen to because I am having to face my own experience head-on. I am having to process what happened as I hear the narrator talk about how our brains and bodies respond when we experience trauma. It’s so empowering to have this information. And so painful.
It was tempting several times to cut the book off and switch over to music for the rest of my walk. And I can certainly do that – she even talks about how to read or listen to the book if you are a trauma survivor in a way that is accessible for you. But for me it’s time to start leaning into it. Time to allow the pain to process, even if it’s hard. And it is.