100 Days of Healing – Day 23 & 24

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.

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.