Two-thirds of the way through a focused effort to heal a lot of the damage wrought on me by PTSD, I’m astounded by how far I’ve progressed in two months. My sleeping and eating habits have improved, my relationships have improved or been released, I’m spending less time trying to control what I can’t, I’m much more aware of when I need to pause and get to a place of calm, I’m more focused, I’m much better at managing triggers and I am getting to the root of a problem more quickly and with less time spinning in anxiety. I have more creativity, more critical thinking, more problem-solving and more willingness to try new things.
That was advice from my therapist, who explained to be that in very simplified terms, people either drain you (introvert) or energize you (extrovert).
People drain me.
One of my new goals as I try to practice a lifestyle that leads (hopefully!) to fewer panic episodes and less anxiety is to be much more mindful about the things that push me over the edge of the panic cliff, and about letting stress build up until my brain freaks out and quits.
I’m in week two of wanting to mostly stay in bed, so this seems like pretty good goals.
I don’t really rest much. I haven’t in years. I don’t take vacations that act like vacations, I don’t schedule down time, I don’t pause – I just speed through life then crash and burn and get up and do it again.
I spoke on a panel yesterday evening about two hours from where I live, so spent a lot of the later part of the day in the car or talking to a room full of people. I really enjoyed it, the topic is of real interest to me and my fellow panelists were very informed on the topic. I stopped for dinner with a friend on the way home, got home at midnight and went to bed.
I woke up at 10:30 this morning. I slept hard.
This evening I’m back at another program, although I’m not speaking at this one, and it’s not quite as far away but it’s very similar. So, trying to learn from yesterday and be mindful of how I feel, I’m taking an hour or two this afternoon to be quiet and still before I hop in the car and go be work me around a lot of people. Then tomorrow I will plan some down time during the day so that I don’t get too rushed and overwhelmed as I recover from this last big PTSD episode.
And trying to recover.
I spent the end of the week/early weekend in meetings, but a very generous friend let me crash her cottage, so other than feed myself and show up on time, I had no responsibilities. It was glorious. There was a lot of wine. And it was enough of a quiet space that by Sunday I was back in the middle of digging through the piles of trauma I haven’t yet sorted out.
I disassociate. I don’t get my heart involved but hide behind going through the motions. I fear something as yet unnamed.
The insight from my therapist this morning hit me hard. It was rough to hear what she had to say. I cried a lot. Lately I cry a lot in therapy. But beneath the tears I was happy, because hard as it is, this is what I want. I want to heal, even if it hurts.
I have residual anxiety from this weekend’s meltdown, and the down side to quitting Xanax is that I have a hard time resetting after the bad triggers. I’m still up and down a bit today. And super anxious about meeting work deadlines.
In an alternate universe in which I don’t have PTSD, it’s not a big deal, I sit down and knock it out. In this universe I have a really hard time focusing, I need a nap, yoga somehow put me more on edge, I need two days completely by myself in quiet, I’d rather go for a walk, and about that nap…
I know I can do this. History says I will do this, and do it fine. But anxiety says no, and that shit is loud in my head.