I’ve realized over the weekend that I can come across as cold. My guardedness toward potential triggers, being overwhelmed and not being able to control or escape things I don’t like leaves a bit of a snarky shell, and it’s not a good look.
As I’ve given myself the time to rest, sleep and dream so that my brain can get busy processing (and has it been busy processing!), revelations about what things I don’t like about myself are coming to the forefront. So.
I’m not sure how I feel about letting my guard down, but I do know I want to be less cold. I can pretend in social situations in which it feels expedient to be talkative and responsive, but none of that gets below the surface. So.
Time to practice being less cold.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last week.
I use numbing to cope, and have for a long time. Now it makes sense why I don’t miss people, why I don’t feel deep affection for anyone and why a lot of personal affronts don’t upset me.
I live in a near-constant state of OVERWHELMED, and I often wake up already there, which is why mornings can be so challenging for me. Which is why a lot of things are so challenging for me. Why I can get really upset by being asked to do something that is otherwise simple and easily accomplished.
I’ve been dreaming every night lately, and I dream in full technicolor. I’m aware of it and know that my brain is doing a lot of processing while I sleep, but last night I couldn’t get away from a snake, and woke up feeling physically trapped, in pain and disoriented. It was horrible, and I went back to sleep so that I didn’t have to deal with whatever was going on. It’s the first time that has happened, and when I did start to wake up for the day, I was hesitant to do so because I woke up with so much anxiety, and I felt completely overwhelmed before my feet even hit the floor.
I’ve been handling a lot of things I’d been putting off this week, so I may have just adulted too hard. Or the processed trauma is building up in my body and needs to be released. Either way, or any way, one step at a time today until I feel more sturdy on my feet.
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.
Getting out of bed was too much of an effort this morning, so I didn’t. I alternately slept and meditated, trying to put the things that got misfiled where they belong. I had a dream based on very recent and real experiences, which is unusual for me, and when I finally got up it took me about an hour to make an eat a salad.
I gardened, I wrote a note to a friend with post-partum depression, I did a ten minute yoga video, I returned a work call and I coordinated partnering with another firm for a project proposal.
That was way more productivity than I intended.
I have rushed everything so much for so long that making myself wait to tackle my mountain of to-dos is both challenging and gratifying. Being slow, laying around and thinking and making no intentional moves toward accomplishing anything is…kind of great. I’ve told myself for so long that I couldn’t do this, but it turns out I can. And I am.
A couple of weeks ago my therapist got down to a root issue I’ve had for a long time. I don’t really love myself. There’s a lot of why, but the why is in the past, and right now, today, I’m remembering that conversation and pondering what to do about it.
I agree. I don’t love myself, and a good bit of the time I don’t even like myself. My life has gotten sideways, and I haven’t spent any time working on being and doing what I like. I’ve been pulled away from what I love, and there’s a lot of disconnect that needs re-connection. Or new connections. I’m not sure yet.
But since I haven’t had much time to rest in the last two and a half months and I have a day that I can before I head back to grandma’s for my last stretch of staying with her, I’m looking at all of the things that I can do with my day. And of all of the things, I just want to stay in and watch tv. Not because I can’t do anything else (anxiety made getting out of bed this morning too hard, so I didn’t, so I’ve done that already today), but because I honest to goodness just want to chill. No hiking, no working, no effort, no driving, no yoga, just mindless tv. Because today I love myself enough to not push myself or make myself feel guilty about doing what I find comforting and calming and restful.
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.