100 Days of Healing – Day 1

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.

100 Days of Healing

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.

Leaning Into Healing

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.

Wear the Bikini

“Body be bangin'” is not a phrase I’d use to describe myself. The trauma weight gain, the lack of exercise, the uneven tan lines that are definitely not from trying to tan, the cellulite, the glow in the dark pale of some of me…I’m not bikini ready.

My therapist’s blunt but change-provoking comment a few weeks ago that I don’t love myself has now manifested in me changing my attitude about that bikini. I date a guy who loves the water, and summer is here, therefore we need to be in the water. He enjoys the water so much that he can’t keep it to himself, I need to enjoy it too, not sit on a rock on the side of the river or the side of the pool or on the boat dock – or anywhere that lets me stay in the relative safety and comfort of a cover up.

I haven’t bought a new swimsuit in…maybe 7 years? So mine is losing its elasticity, I realized, even though the material has held its color, and it was and still looks like an expensive, cute bikini. The stretching has kept up with my stretching, so it still fits somehow and it will work fine until I can find another one.

Side note: to fit my boobs in swimwear, it’s a trip to a high end retailer or two or ten, and I don’t trust shopping online. And while a lot of stores are carrying styles and sizes that are much improved for curvier women, it is hard enough to find a bra, much less a swimsuit, that will work for my body, so finding a new one is (was?) way low on my list of priorities until the one I have comes to pieces.

So here I am not confident in my body, knowing I’ll spend the summer around people who are much more cute and slender and fit than I, being expected to join in the water-based fun and do so in swimwear. And I’m facing this right as I’m informed that I don’t love myself.

I did one of the bravest things I’ve done in a long time. I said to hell with it, I’m not going to feel bad about myself, I’m going to enjoy the opportunity to get outside and have fun with people I like hanging out with and I’m going to let my boyfriend push me out of my comfort zone, which he also seems to really like doing. So I dropped the cover up on the table by the pool last week and on the table on the boat dock yesterday, and stood there like I had every reason in the world to feel good about myself. And I did feel good about myself, for the first time since probably the first year I owned that bikini. And I feel better about myself today, having done that.

Run for 15 Minutes

My brother gave me Jabra Elite ear buds for Christmas to replace the ear buds that came with my phone. I had ruined them by getting caught in a couple of thunderstorms last summer, and he went above and beyond on the gift. They’re great.

They pair with an app, which I finally downloaded today. As I look at ways to mindfully improve my health, I’m going to have to put in some cardio. I haven’t done that since my car wreck. It was just too much for my brain to handle high intensity exercise.

Now, however, I’m at a point in recovery that I can start pushing myself to make some physical health gains, and I’m doing it with some limitations on what and where I can do it since I’m caring for my Grandma 4-5 days a week.

Do what you can, where you can though! So I downloaded the app, and it told me to run for 15 minutes to check my VO2. Haha, I don’t run, and I’m certainly not able to run for 15 minutes! What a joke! Do only people who are already fit own these? I don’t get a runner’s high, and I hate running.

I did it though. I stayed focused on my breathing, made reasonable goals along the way, went back to my breathing to try to keep a rhythm, and toward the end checked the time a few times.

My health level is poor.

No kidding. That’s why I’m doing this.