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.
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.
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.
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.
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.