I am struggling this week. Losing Josh in the middle of the week that my body remembers as the most traumatic week of my life is just hard. I didn’t prepare for it because my therapist thinks that creating that expectation will make the week inevitably negative, but not preparing for it has just left me unprepared for what I’m experiencing. I worked well past midnight last night and have been busting my ass for the last few weeks. I’m busy with work, yes, but I am also using it to cope, per usual. I didn’t plan to take a day for myself to be still and reflective and work on reprogramming, I was going to travel out of town on an unnecessary work trip just to accommodate someone I have already over accommodated. This was not a good approach for my situation, and now with a funeral tomorrow and my owns needs and experiences not met or addressed, I am struggling to hold it together.
This shit is hard.
It’s likely that by Monday (or even before) I’ll be ok and the moment will have passed and I will have some freedom for a while. That does not help me today. Today my body hurts, I feel compressed and pinned, I want to isolate and disappear and be swallowed up and I am so consumed by stress (not anxiety, strangely) that I cannot let my foot off…
And in writing those last 6 words and reading them on the screen I realized what I am doing. I pushed down on the brake of my car so hard and for so long as I smashed down a highway that my heel was bruised. I tried so hard to stop the crash that could not be stopped that I have stayed that way, foot on the brake, for five years. I am that way now. My body feels like it did while I was bracing myself to die. It hurts.
I don’t know why today. Today isn’t the anniversary, but it’s the date that I’ve had in my head. The 14th will be the 5th anniversary by date, it was on a Monday. Today is the 11th, a Thursday, and it’s in the middle. I had a traumatic breakup (the back story covers four years so just understand that it was a severely traumatic moment) on October 8 or 9 (I can’t even remember things were so blurred at the time) so the 11th is in the middle of the two events that resulted in my PTSD diagnosis. It was too much for me to handle. I had no support. I had no way to talk about it. I just had to keep going. And my body remembers.
But now I know. I don’t quite know what to do about it, but if the first step is to recognize what’s happening and notice how it feels, there are surely more steps to take following that will lead away from what I’m experiencing now so that I don’t have to do it again. I would really like to let my foot off the brake.
I’ve spent the last two days busting my ass to get a report done. Not because I have to, not because I don’t have a choice, but because I showed up, let myself be seen, was authentic to who I am, said yes and worked my ass off for the opportunity. When I emailed the draft for review, I didn’t eat a second slice of pizza just because I finished or because I was stressed or because I felt like it. I didn’t eat anything. I wasn’t hungry. I acknowledged how I was feeling, let it go and took a shower. I’m proud of myself. I WORKED. I didn’t balance, I didn’t “do self-care”, I did give myself a break or grace, I pushed myself, focused, stayed on task, was proud of what I accomplished, handled my shit while not always being totally present and did exactly what I wanted to do – and finished early.
Contrast that with 100 days ago:
I have recently become aware of how often I disassociate – I am presently lacking memory of a lot of time. I hurt everywhere. My weight is at its highest ever at 216 lbs. Getting out of bed is unappealing. Vigorous exercise is less appealing. Healing trauma is appealing, but it’s hard and makes me tired. I kind of just want to quit, in a general sense.
I’ve been sleeping this week. I’ve been trying to let my body rest as much as possible. That has meant I am also dreaming vivid dreams every night. I’ve noticed that the last two nights my dreams have shifted from a seemingly random and meandering narrative and wandering around places then waking feeling disturbed to dreaming that I am taking control of and addressing situations I don’t like. Last night, for example, I was eating dinner outside under a large awning and someone was flying a drone right over our heads and up under the awning. It was disturbing and unpleasant, so I reached up and pulled it out of the air, knowing that I could do that with no injury to myself if I caught the part that rests on the ground during takeoff and landing. I shook it to break it out of radio control and tossed it on the ground, to everyone else’s shock.
I like to think it’s a sign that I’m ready to take charge of my life again.
I don’t like myself right now – I don’t like who I’ve become post-trauma. I realized this yesterday evening. Disregard the weight gain – I’m not comfortable in my own skin because I don’t like my skin. I don’t like my limitations, and I am not willing to make peace with something I don’t like. Changing myself will be hard, but this whole effort to heal (and therefore be a person I enjoy being) is hard anyway. I understand that self-judging and criticizing isn’t helpful to me right now, and I don’t think I’m doing that, I think I can just admit that I don’t honestly like ME and want to be someone I do like.
So here’s to the start of 100 Days of seeing where I can go with an intentional effort to heal, with a big curiosity about what I can learn and who I can be.
That’s how far I went. And it was good. Here’s to the next 100.
I’m still sleeping a lot. I don’t remember sleeping this much since weekends in college when I would pull a couple of all-nighters during the week. But the body knows what it needs, right?
All of my clients needed something today, whether it was a project discussion or advice on proceedings or review of subcontractor submittals or, in one case, just a chat. Normally that would overwhelm me and stress me out, but today I’ve taken it one thing at a time and gotten done what I need to, what I was asked to and what the job required. It’s a huge step forward from where I was a month ago, when just getting an email would send me through the roof. #grateful
I’m working, I’m focused, I’m doing yoga without issue other than that it’s challenging for my body, I’m ignoring things that aren’t important right now, I’m connecting, I’m planning ahead, I’m not pushing myself to do things “just because” or out of some unhealthy sense of obligation, I’m eating for fuel and nutrition and not to cope, I’m sleeping, I’m learning and I am so, so grateful for today <3.
The Sahara Dust is killing any ideas I have about walking outside (I tried it Monday and won’t be doing that again), so I’m probably not achieving my exercise goals this week. Eh.
I also am losing interest in food as a way to numb/cope, which feels weird but is good. I haven’t stopped eating, I just am not focused on eating, and can go hours without any interest in food. It’s such a change from before, and it’s nice! I’ve also been sleeping a lot this week, and letting myself sleep. Things are still getting done, even if they are not all getting done today, and my resting heart rate has dropped another 3 beats per minute – a sign that I have less stress and anxiety.
I had a really great conversation with my boyfriend last night, much closer to when we started dating than recently. We talked about Things Going On In The World until late, and that free flow of ideas and questions is such a gift, because I can’t do that with just anyone, and it reminded me why I like him so much.
Poor communication seems to be plaguing my life lately. As much as I want to blame everyone else and think that I am communicating perfectly, that probably isn’t the case.
I am to the point in two particular situations that good or at least effective communication is required for me to move forward out of really stressful and draining circumstances and into a better opportunity for a fulfilling life. One of the moving forward situations has been dragging on much too long, in part due to lack of effective communication, including on my part. The other is a fairly newly draining situation, but one I refuse to stay in.
Because I have let people and circumstances drain the life out of me, and I am going to learn lessons from that and do things differently now. And differently also means recognizing that phone calls are only going in circles, so a different communication is needed. Time to put it in writing, which will also allow me to be clear, concise and impersonal – what is needed in this situation.
Several years ago I started experiencing TMJ. My jaw popped every time I opened or closed my mouth. It was horribly annoying. I don’t chew gum, so it wasn’t that. It was probably stress. I was told there was nothing that could be done about it, and I would just have to live with it.
I realized on Saturday that my jaw no longer pops. I have no idea how long it hasn’t been popping, but it doesn’t no matter how much I move my jaw. I am thrilled and grateful and excited and pausing to appreciate this moment of healing.