100 Days of Healing – Day 63

Two days into keto, and I’m down 3.8 pounds. I apparently hit ketosis fast – woohoo!

It feels really good to practice discipline in what I eat, something I have struggled with for so long. I attribute it to the hard work I’ve done in PTSD recovery, to working through shame issues, anxiety, realizing how much I’ve been numbing, learning what I use to cope and seeing that I have other options – options that take work and practice, but that are improving my life so much.

I think I may have stopped numbing. I’m stopping work when it’s at a stopping point and I can reasonably be done for the day – and I don’t feel bad about being done and I don’t feel like I didn’t do enough. I’m not eating to ignore my feelings, and I’m conscious of what I eat. Work and food have been my go-tos to ignore my feelings and my problems for years. This feels pretty good.

I had a lot of creativity last night and was able to think through some ideas I’ve been stalled out on for several months. That felt great too! The other side is that now I’m feeling, I’m also feeling hurt. The emotions I’ve been blocking and ignoring for a long time are still there and still have to be dealt with, and I understand that…and am slowly accepting it. But that also leaves from for happy and a lot of other good things, so here’s to exploring that.

 

100 Days of Healing – Day 58

My boyfriend and I continue to have difficult conversations. I keep doubting I have the energy to keep going, but I keep pushing through.

We don’t have anything to hide behind. We don’t have money and job security, we don’t have a lot of time together, we don’t have a long history of trust and connection, we don’t even have a certain belief that we belong together. It’s fucking hard.

Because we don’t have anything to hide behind, and because we’re both sticking with the difficult conversations long enough to get past the darts and jabs, we’re starting to get honest. The kind of honest where you face shame and admit you’ve been hiding things because you’re not sure they’ll like you anymore if they know. The kind of honest where you say what isn’t ok. The kind of honest where you admit you might be the problem but this little bit is all you know and you haven’t learned enough to figure out the rest yet.

I’m not sure how many people ever get this honest in a relationship, but I don’t think many do it within the first nine months. It takes more courage than I knew I had. And I do it because I believe I matter enough to speak and hear the truth. To not walk away because I’m scared and this is really hard, but because walking away is the right thing for me. And I don’t know that yet because I don’t have enough information.

And there’s no backing down now, because we’re here, rumbling with the truth no matter how scary or how hard. AND IT’S HARD. I’m still not in neutral, and I’m not comfortable with some of the surprises I’m getting. I’m constantly in high threat mode and no one else is bringing me back down to my version of calm. While I’m rumbling with a really painful series of realizations about who I am and how I got here.

But worth it, because I’m worth it. And so is he.

100 Days of Healing – Day 30

I’ve been pushing against the walls of the past that confine me, and I’m disappointed, scared and angry that they exist. It’s like I’m struggling to get out of a cocoon or a restrictive jacket, and I haven’t managed to tear my way out yet.

Apparently, this is called Day/Act/Part 2. It’s the middle.

I’m thankful that Brené Brown went first and did the research and self-application that have given me a path to healing. I’m listening to Rising Strong now, and the timing is good. God-thing good. She describes a curriculum in which participants go through an intensive three-day learning process. Day Two – the middle, the part about vulnerability and blame and shame – sucks.  And you can’t skip Day Two.

She connects this to the Hero story. Act two is the part in which the Hero tries every easy way around the problem, only to climax at the realization and engagement with the hard truth that there is only way through. Act Two sucks for the Hero. Act Two sucks for us. I am in Act Two, and it sucks. But I can’t skip it. I can’t ignore or skip or evade the discomfort, the struggle and the frustrating constriction, and I’ve come too far to turn back.

But hey, at least I have a name for it and I’m not the only one.

100 Days of Healing – Day 19

I hurt everywhere. My muscles, my joints, the fibers in between that I don’t know enough to name… it all hurts.

I know that the body stores trauma in connective tissue. I had body work done shortly before I started therapy. It was nearly unbearably painful, and I cried for the first few sessions. Nearly three years later (ok wow it’s been a minute) I’m thinking I need to have that done again. After processing so much trauma, I’m feeling like it’s trapped in my body and needs to be released. Even an injured finger joint that doesn’t normally hurt feels swollen and hurts. And I feel like I’ve reached max fat – I feel so puffy and tense and painful that I almost don’t recognize myself.

It’s discouraging to experience this after I’ve been working so hard, but maybe it’s necessary?

100 Days of Healing – Day 8

I spent the entire Summer Solstice inside, and most of it in a dimly lit room. I’m grateful that I have so much room for improvement. Yoga was not helpful yesterday, it was activating. So I stopped.

I started listening to Brené Brown’s book The Power of Authenticity yesterday. She’s a shame researcher and a delightfully authentic human. In her work she’s found that we experience shame the same way we experience trauma, and I want to heal from shame as much as I want to heal from trauma. I’m starting to understand why they often go hand in hand.

I wanted to do a yoga session and thought that would be within my bandwidth today. 11 minutes in, I realized I was getting activated on my way to a trigger, I was hot and sweaty but not in an “I’m exercising” way, I wasn’t enjoying it and was actually starting to be rather miserable.

I wanted to push through, because yoga is supposed to be a good thing, it isn’t supposed to be activating, it’s supposed to help me connect to my body, I didn’t want to be a quitter, it wasn’t even a hard practice…also I am too fat to get into some of the poses, I can’t believe I can’t do this right now, I’ll never be able to get my life on track…

Ah. The shame gremlins she talked about. The thoughts that make me = bad and wrong and not good enough.

I stopped the session. Yoga wasn’t right for me yesterday. Maybe because I was in the process of learning about shame and realizing how much shame I feel about my body. Maybe because I needed more rest (I hiked for two hours the day before). Maybe because I needed to experience recognizing what is good for me and what is not good for me and acting on that for myself, not because someone else said that was the way to do it.

Wear the Bikini

“Body be bangin'” is not a phrase I’d use to describe myself. The trauma weight gain, the lack of exercise, the uneven tan lines that are definitely not from trying to tan, the cellulite, the glow in the dark pale of some of me…I’m not bikini ready.

My therapist’s blunt but change-provoking comment a few weeks ago that I don’t love myself has now manifested in me changing my attitude about that bikini. I date a guy who loves the water, and summer is here, therefore we need to be in the water. He enjoys the water so much that he can’t keep it to himself, I need to enjoy it too, not sit on a rock on the side of the river or the side of the pool or on the boat dock – or anywhere that lets me stay in the relative safety and comfort of a cover up.

I haven’t bought a new swimsuit in…maybe 7 years? So mine is losing its elasticity, I realized, even though the material has held its color, and it was and still looks like an expensive, cute bikini. The stretching has kept up with my stretching, so it still fits somehow and it will work fine until I can find another one.

Side note: to fit my boobs in swimwear, it’s a trip to a high end retailer or two or ten, and I don’t trust shopping online. And while a lot of stores are carrying styles and sizes that are much improved for curvier women, it is hard enough to find a bra, much less a swimsuit, that will work for my body, so finding a new one is (was?) way low on my list of priorities until the one I have comes to pieces.

So here I am not confident in my body, knowing I’ll spend the summer around people who are much more cute and slender and fit than I, being expected to join in the water-based fun and do so in swimwear. And I’m facing this right as I’m informed that I don’t love myself.

I did one of the bravest things I’ve done in a long time. I said to hell with it, I’m not going to feel bad about myself, I’m going to enjoy the opportunity to get outside and have fun with people I like hanging out with and I’m going to let my boyfriend push me out of my comfort zone, which he also seems to really like doing. So I dropped the cover up on the table by the pool last week and on the table on the boat dock yesterday, and stood there like I had every reason in the world to feel good about myself. And I did feel good about myself, for the first time since probably the first year I owned that bikini. And I feel better about myself today, having done that.