I’ve needed some space to think.
I have big dreams, great plans and a love for life bubbling up from somewhere deep. I have creativity that yearns to be expressed and a comfortable in her hard-earned skin person that wants to be seen.
I haven’t given her the space to emerge, because I’ve been covering her up, first because I thought everything was a threat and then because my protectors were disappearing and I started actually hiding from the world.
I’m learning that one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is meet our own needs. I’m doing that by taking a well-timed opportunity for quiet and space this weekend. I stepped away from my to-do list, my chores and my habits and placing myself in a comfortable space that is a bit of a mental void. There’s only what I bring in and what I allow to stay, and helps me engage with the practice of choosing what I want to bring into my life and what I want to stay. It’s a retreat of sorts, but I’m (for once) not retreating, I’m pausing and forming so that I can step forward and live in more light than darkness.
Be kind to yourself, and give yourself what you need. You’re worth it.
I am learning to be intentional about taking days off. For a long time I would have so much anxiety and distress that I didn’t have much of a choice, I couldn’t get anything done and spent hours in a mental vortex. Rather than giving myself some space, I still struggled with the need to “get stuff done”, and probably made things worse because I felt guilty about my anxiety interfering with my productivity. It’s been a battle for me to accept stopping, pausing and resting because I’m so afraid I’ll fall behind and not catch up.
Having a day in which I don’t accomplish anything and don’t intend to is a radical form of self-acceptance for me. And while my mind still has swirls of “but you could…” or “what if you did…” and “you need to…”, I am pushing those thoughts aside and letting the day be the day.
And on a Monday, I am not behind, I am not scrambling to catch up, I am not in the weeds or faltering, I have a normal workday with requests, requirements and opportunities and a schedule that was not negatively impacted by taking a full day off.
As I’m “catching up to now”, processing unprocessed trauma, one of the hardest things for me about processing trauma is reliving it. Having to feel things I didn’t the first time because I was shut down or unable to while I was trying to survive what was happening.
Last year my parents were going away for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary early. They never went because my brother’s work injury happened on Thursday.
Fast forward a year and some change, and my parents are going a couple of towns over for the weekend to celebrate their anniversary. I am completely freaked out and have to stay close to home.
Because it’s a trigger. Because my brain tells me that my brother gets hurt when my parents plan to go out of town. If I go somewhere I won’t be available if there is an emergency. THERE IS GOING TO BE AN EMERGENCY.
This is now affecting my willingness to move forward with my travel plans, because I HAVE TO BE HOME THIS WEEKEND quickly turns into I CAN NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE. I go through waves of panic the whole time I’m trying to calm myself and disconnect the things that don’t belong together – trauma and my parents leaving town.
I got four solid days of work in this week, and I’m glad for that because yesterday I had to retreat back into processing space to deal with this.
I’ve made it to therapy maybe 3 times in the last two months. Before that I was thinking it might be time to stop therapy. Well, it’s not.
This morning I had to face unprocessed grief, missing out on triumph, losing opportunities, being financially stressed because I’ve put time into my family instead of my work, and not mattering enough to that same family for them to take the severity of my mental illness seriously.
I cried a lot, I kept crying when I left, I cried to my boyfriend when I got home, then I took a long nap.
I used to go home and sleep after therapy when I first started going, because it was so intense and exhausting. Today was like that.
On the up side, it was enough for my mom to see that I’m about to be the next family crisis. Nothing is changing overnight, and I don’t expect it to, but she’s committed to finding a different option for grandma that doesn’t require my involvement.
I need time and space to finish grieving so I can heal. I need time to practice healthy behaviors. I really need less cortisol so I can finally lose the trauma weight and hopefully some of the anxiety.
But hanging in there in the meantime is hard, y’all.