100 Days of Healing – Day 27

Yesterday I completed the yoga session I had to stop in the middle because it was activating me. I’ve lost 2.5 lbs in 2 days. My resting heart rate is almost back down where I want it. I’m eating mindfully and not to cope. I’m drinking my water goals. I’m focusing on work deliverables and getting them out on a timeline I’m satisfied with. I’m saying no.

And this is in the middle of an emotionally challenging and physically tiring week. I’m taking a hard look at what I want and where I want to be and how I get there and who I get there with – and without.

I’m sitting and working on my laptop for long hours, I was in a three hour meeting last night and since I got back from the desert I’ve had very little time for things like cutting my nails and dealing with all of the sand that seems to be clogging my pores and cooking healthy meals. I’ve done those things anyway. I feel like I just have no time right now, which usually sends anxiety skyrocketing for me and freezes me. I’m still moving through my day, doing what I need to and doing things that take care of me, including sleeping and staying calm and reasoned instead of engaging with the thoughts that send anxiety skyrocketing out of control.

I quit drinking for now. It wasn’t a big decision, it just came up last night when I declined an offered drink because I decided I didn’t need that.

Understanding that alcohol is a social lubricant for a lot of people made me realize I don’t have that need, and the benefit to me of not drinking is enough right now to make me lose interest. Practicing mindfulness is really starting to pay off.

Epic Meltdown

My brain is supposed to be healing, right? That’s the point of therapy and going off the meds, right?

I had an epic PTSD episode last night. It was a panic attack, but different than usual. I don’t recall ever having a headache after. I don’t recall being dizzy and feeling like anything but laying in bed was too hard before. I was starving once I started to calm down, but food was downstairs and that seemed hard too. I did eventually stumble down and shove some grated cheese and chips in my mouth. I didn’t even care, I just had to eat.

I’m recovering today, but still put in almost a full day of work, cleaned the house and got groceries. Yes, that was my recovery day while I was still a little slow and upset.

Because dammit, this is not going to beat me.

Therapy Was Hard, Y’all.

I’ve made it to therapy maybe 3 times in the last two months. Before that I was thinking it might be time to stop therapy. Well, it’s not.

This morning I had to face unprocessed grief, missing out on triumph, losing opportunities, being financially stressed because I’ve put time into my family instead of my work, and not mattering enough to that same family for them to take the severity of my mental illness seriously.

I cried a lot, I kept crying when I left, I cried to my boyfriend when I got home, then I took a long nap.

I used to go home and sleep after therapy when I first started going, because it was so intense and exhausting. Today was like that.

On the up side, it was enough for my mom to see that I’m about to be the next family crisis. Nothing is changing overnight, and I don’t expect it to, but she’s committed to finding a different option for grandma that doesn’t require my involvement.

I need time and space to finish grieving so I can heal. I need time to practice healthy behaviors. I really need less cortisol so I can finally lose the trauma weight and hopefully some of the anxiety.

But hanging in there in the meantime is hard, y’all.

Obtrusive Grief

My experience with PTSD has included a lot of grief, which tends to be delayed in presenting itself for processing. If I’m stressed (most of the time), if I don’t feel safe (a lot of the time) or if I feel like I have to have my performance face on (also most of the time), my ability to grieve trauma isn’t there… until it is. Usually when I have other things to do, or find it inconvenient to have a tear – streaked face.

I had the weekend off. Actually off, as in no working and no grandma. I hiked, I napped, I went to church for the first time in a while, I slept… all supposedly restorative or restful things. So I was annoyed by increasingly severe anxiety this afternoon. I woke up with anxiety, it ramped up through the morning and after a four hour nap I couldn’t even make myself go to the store for some aloe gel for my sunburned shoulders.

I thought it was because I had to be back at grandma’s tonight, and I’m almost at my limit of being able to be pleasant while dealing with her situation. I get treated like a custodial parent, with a lot more worrying and nagging about how much money my family is spending (which, thankfully, we can afford, but she cannot, and she will not let up about it).

Grief hit me hard, and suddenly. I realized I was grieving for the relationship I lost when my forever turned abusive. The fingers my brother lost in an accident. I don’t even know what else… maybe the part of my brain I lost from the car wreck? I couldn’t stop crying.

And when I needed to sit with the grief and cry it out, I had to get in my car and get back to grandma’s for my shift, which has no space to grieve.

My life, interrupted has pushed off so much of what I need to do to heal, and I’m not that surprised it’s starting to bubble out at inconvenient moments. I wish it were easier to schedule, but trauma processing never is.

Exhaustion or Reprieve?

I’ve been really stressed about work, on top of everything else. I have a few challenging and contentious projects in play, and as much as I’d like to bow out of them, I need the money. I don’t get paid for the 100+ hours a week I spend caring for my grandma, and something has to pay the bills. As much as I’m trapped here, the world revolves on and things cost money.

I had a meeting with a client and a local government representative today to see if I needed to recommend that he pursue litigation. I expected the parties involved to be contentious, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve my client’s best possible outcome.

I’m exhausted, and got about four hours of sleep last night because grandma talked to herself and rustled around so much. I was pretty sure I was going to be worthless and forget my points. Instead, I got a calm and professional meeting with clear information, and I think I’ve convinced my client that his best course of action is to pursue the standard approval process, since it will save him a lot of time, maybe money and definitely grief.

This option keeps me involved in the project, which will still be a challenge but I appreciate the vote of confidence by my client, who asked me to proceed directly with the next phase and send him a bill.

I’m either so relieved the stress has lifted a bit or so exhausted I’ve stopped caring. Hard to tell until I get some sleep, which won’t be tonight.

I had someone in my corner, cheering me on and reminding me that being tired would tell me a lot of things that weren’t true, and that I’m good at this and will perform well regardless.

I’m grateful for the reminder. It was true.

Enough, For a Year

A word has stayed with me over the last year as I’ve endured one trial after another. Not one I chose or a “word of the year”, rather one that came to me, that I’ve grappled with, that expresses the complexity of my experience.

Enough.

It is used in different ways in English. It means a few things to me.

First it was that I’d had enough. How much could a person endure? I’ve since learned not to ask that question. Then I wondered if I could do enough, if I had the capacity to do what was required of me. I’ve struggled with believing I am enough, that what I offer and what I can do is sufficient.

There aren’t many aspects of “enough” I haven’t contemplated, worked through, worked around and sought to understand. I’ve looked at the concept expressed in Scripture, linking the idea of fullness and completion to the concept of “enough”. It’s notably part of Jesus’s teaching on forgiveness – how many times do you forgive? Essentially, “enough”. He said 70 x 7, but those words were symbolic, not a literal 490.

I’ve been so challenged by this word. But I think the challenge is past and the practice is present. To live with “enough”, peacefully.

I’ve had enough.

I have enough.

I am enough.