I think one of the benefits of pausing to be grateful and reflect on positives is that it helps with perspective. I’ve struggled so much through the last few months, and living with PTSD can be a pretty hopeless situation. I’ve felt that I just can’t so many times, and taking steps in recovery have at times seemed to difficult or overwhelming or inaccessible.
One of my biggest challenges has been exercise or really body movement of any kind. I have mostly just wanted to stay in bed and block the world out, and I am still working through the situation of my brain thinking an elevated heart rate means I’m going to die. Amanda’s blog and her yoga practice have been such a calming and accessible way for me to stay mentally engaged with what I’ve wanted to do even when it was too hard to make my body do it, and she has kept me motivated to stay with it until I could get back to yoga practice myself.
She has many videos in which she breaks down yoga poses so that it’s clear and understandable how to hold the pose in a way that’s most accessible to you, and I think she is a wonderful example of what conscientious yoga teachers do to make the world a better place. She is a truly beautiful person and her good energy is contagious, even in the blogosphere!
I was spinning my wheels at work yesterday, mentally working on several projects and ideas but not making any tangible progress. A lot of my work is with data, and I collect data on myself too – I carefully track hours I work and wear a Fitbit and monitor my HRV. Sometimes to my detriment.
I can get caught up in accounting for time and effort and work and forget that the reason I work for myself is so that I can better see to my own needs, which have nothing to do with data management and measurement. I work for myself so that I can have space to work out what a healthy lifestyle looks like for me – because the companies I’ve worked for previously could not have cared less, and I’ve paid for it.
I bailed out of work and went for a hike.
As much as that might be peaceful and relaxing for others, it isn’t as much for me. Exercise doesn’t have a calming effect on my nervous system, as much as I do like to be outside. I developed mild vertigo several months ago, and looking down while stepping around rocks and roots on downward slopes can be challenging. Sometimes I have an elevated fear response, sometimes the ground appears to shift beneath me, and I have to move slowly and cautiously. Late afternoon shadows can be somewhat disorienting now. But I went, and I enjoyed it, and I have some of the creative energy and forward motion I was hoping for.
My goal has been to slowly begin to improve in areas that I have not been able to achieve goals. One is exercise, another is having a well-exercised design muscle. This past week I wanted to do 10 kettlebell lifts and one little bit of design every day. I only missed Saturday, a day that I had a lot of family stuff going on. I even got it done yesterday, when I barely got out of bed and didn’t feel well most of the afternoon. Success!
This week’s goal is 10 kettlebell swings and one little bit of design every day.
I decided that I am not going to be the one to apologize for someone else hurting me this time, and I am not going to be the one to make it right or make amends.
I’ve done that so many times before, and after several days of struggle to understand what’s wrong, I know now, and I’m not ok with it. Frankly, I didn’t deserve that, and if I’m the one who makes this right I’m essentially saying that someone else’s choices and actions are somehow my fault because I experience PTSD.
And if that means I lose this relationship, then that’s a consequence I can live with, because I can’t live with continuing to take responsibility for someone else hurting me.
My hopes that I would bounce back after last weekend are not fulfilled, and it looks like it’s going to be another long climb out of the PTSD hole. My HRV is in a good range so my body and my mind don’t seem to be synced up. It’s hell, and I’m back to wanting to quit and start over somewhere else.
The only thing I know to do is keep pushing through.
I bounced back from this weekend faster than I ever have from a severe PTSD episode, but I still don’t have the momentum and sunny disposition I’ve previously had when whatever it is that flips the switch in my brain does its thing. I’m in vaguely familiar but still uncharted territory, and it’s about as uncomfortable as you might think.
But I have so much to do.
I feel like I’m grinding gears, trying to find the right gear to move forward in and not quite getting there while the engine is working. It’s creating a lot of tension and not helping me focus while I try to balance the forces of energy and find the right fit.
Last week I had a new goal to improve by 1% every day. Not in an actually measurable way, but to make small, incremental steps toward bigger goals. I had two things that I wanted to do every day last week, and this week would have two more things that were a step up of last weeks things.
I made it 3 days.
Then I got sucked into a whirlwind of anxiety and PTSD symptoms, and totally forgot I was even doing this.
I’m not even the least bit disappointed or discouraged about it, I’m simply going to try again. So this week is 10 kettlebell lifts every day and one little bit of design work every day.