I Just Failed My Homework?

I had intentions yesterday. I intended to practice pausing, taking a bit of calm time to process and not let my schedule contribute to a meltdown. That did not happen.

I woke up late, scrambled to get some work sent out, was mindful that this was not the way I had wanted things to go and hopped in the car for another 4-5 hours on the road for an evening meeting. I can get stressed about getting places on time, I was stressed about getting a document out that I realized as I worked on it was not what it needed to be because of some technical issues that were happening once I made a big format change at the request of the client, and I was stressed because my uncle’s wife was pushing me to let her sign my grandma up for Medicaid when that woman is not part of my grandma’s care team or recovery program. I was agreeable rather than making an argument out of it, because I just didn’t want to get into it with her. But it stressed me out.

I picked up my boyfriend on the way so that he could attend with me, and we got back to his house fairly late. We talked for a bit. We’re both sorting through a lot of past behaviors and baggage that need to go, and it’s tough. It’s good for both of us individually, but it’s tough for us as a couple. We have different personalities and communication styles, and we’re trying to manage growing new careers, difficult personal growth, family issues, distance and things that are pretty normal but feel like they’re in a pressure cooker for us. And we don’t fight or yell, we talk, and that’s hard sometimes too.

Hard enough that I tipped over the anxiety edge of a panic attack very suddenly. One minute we were talking, the next minute I started feeling really upset by everything, then next I disassociated and went off to wherever chaotic place my brain goes. It didn’t last very long, kind of came and went, but I was reeling a bit after, trying to sort out my jumbled brain and why that had just happened.

Too much stress earlier in the day that I didn’t deal with, too much stress to get somewhere on time, intense conversation and…BAM.

But hey, I learned something, I worked through it, I let someone be there for it (although telling someone you just had a panic attack and all they see is a quiet calm is ironic), and I know what I need to keep practicing.

Sucker Punched By My Brain

Thanks, PTSD. I was wondering if this would happen.

I was minding my own business when I got hit with mental hell. Not really a panic attack, not really anything I can successfully describe, but it was like I got my mental teeth knocked out, and I was reeling. Shit. I still am.

This morning was another episode of unwilling to get outta bed. I have no problem with this, thankfully no one and nothing needed my immediate attention, and I am determined to get as much sleep as I can this week. I’ve had a lot of problems with memory lately – I have a hard time recalling events and feelings, and I have no clue for the most part who I used to be. I was surprised, then, that this morning I clearly remembered the day of my car wreck and the day after.

I remembered that I didn’t stop.

I hydroplaned early afternoon. By 4pm I was at the doctor being checked for a concussion and internal bleeding (which I didn’t have). By 7pm I was at my grandma’s for our weekly tv watching, acting as if nothing had happened (she still doesn’t know I had a car wreck). By 7am the next morning I was at Enterprise renting a car and by 9:30am I was sitting in law class, on time and with my books and notes.

It never stopped after that. I worked 50 hours a week and was in grad school full time (12 hours a semester). The couple of times I have tried to slow down I’ve had a close family member have an critical injury or a medical crisis.

I’m not really surprised that I’m starting to see some of the harder to deal with symptoms of PTSD. All the digging around in my brain I’m doing is likely to stir up some hard to deal with moments, including the ones I can’t explain or understand or manage very well. And I have very little capacity for additional stress right now, so work emails and some text messages are setting me off.

But dammit, I’m going to do this.

No Kettlebells Yet

Sometimes I’m just not ready. I ruminate for a while on my options and think through what I want to do next before I do it. I think so much of my life happens in a way that demands an immediate response that when I have the option, I take my time. So I’m taking my time on the big pushes forward – the kettlebells, the schedule change, the diet change, the consistent yoga and meditation practice. It’s going to be a lot of work to make my recovery a priority after a year and a half of putting other people’s crises first. It’s going to be a lot of work to drop the stress levels.

But the work must be done. When I’m ready.

Yeah, I’m Pretty Tired of the Stress Weight

I was about to say “tired of being fat” when I self – corrected. I’m not fat, so I don’t need to make that statement. I have gained a couple dozen pounds in the last year, not a single one of which benefits me. My cortisol production is ridiculous, so losing weight is challenging right now, to say the least. Plus the anxiety/depression symptom I’m most likely to exhibit is desperate need for carbs and fat.

My crazy likes to be fed, y’all.

And while I’m not particularly feeding it, I’m not starving it either. Or making it exercise enough. Or giving it a long enough break to see some recovery.

But it looks like my family is coming around, and it looks like very shortly I’ll get that break.

Obtrusive Grief

My experience with PTSD has included a lot of grief, which tends to be delayed in presenting itself for processing. If I’m stressed (most of the time), if I don’t feel safe (a lot of the time) or if I feel like I have to have my performance face on (also most of the time), my ability to grieve trauma isn’t there… until it is. Usually when I have other things to do, or find it inconvenient to have a tear – streaked face.

I had the weekend off. Actually off, as in no working and no grandma. I hiked, I napped, I went to church for the first time in a while, I slept… all supposedly restorative or restful things. So I was annoyed by increasingly severe anxiety this afternoon. I woke up with anxiety, it ramped up through the morning and after a four hour nap I couldn’t even make myself go to the store for some aloe gel for my sunburned shoulders.

I thought it was because I had to be back at grandma’s tonight, and I’m almost at my limit of being able to be pleasant while dealing with her situation. I get treated like a custodial parent, with a lot more worrying and nagging about how much money my family is spending (which, thankfully, we can afford, but she cannot, and she will not let up about it).

Grief hit me hard, and suddenly. I realized I was grieving for the relationship I lost when my forever turned abusive. The fingers my brother lost in an accident. I don’t even know what else… maybe the part of my brain I lost from the car wreck? I couldn’t stop crying.

And when I needed to sit with the grief and cry it out, I had to get in my car and get back to grandma’s for my shift, which has no space to grieve.

My life, interrupted has pushed off so much of what I need to do to heal, and I’m not that surprised it’s starting to bubble out at inconvenient moments. I wish it were easier to schedule, but trauma processing never is.

Parking Lot Thoughts

I’m early to therapy, which is surprising given that this level of anxiety usually results in me being slightly late to everything. Grandma’s super-punctual care giver got me out ahead of schedule, so I have a few minutes to sit with my spinning thoughts.

The things that will make this better overall are the hardest to do. I have very little decision-making ability, little problem solving, little motivation – the things I normally rely on to get through life. And I really want them to be there, but they’re not… So now what? Or rather, what, for now?

Maybe just get through today…

Anxiety Days

A hail storm knocked our power out last night. I was knitting and watching tv when marble-sized hail started pounding the roof, and I was so glad my trees were still inside waiting for warmer nights to arrive. It wasn’t terribly hard to sleep since it was quiet and pitch black, and we got the lights back on this morning.

I’ve had severe anxiety all day.

I stopped taking Xanax, so I don’t really have the reset. This is anxiety that doesn’t respond to exercise. It has a lot to do with current work stress. Being mindful helps me take slow steps forward, but still doesn’t stop the spinning and the desire to freeze.

It’s beautiful out, if windy. It’s a great day to hike. I’m inside, still in pajamas, having worked slowly this morning into afternoon and napped late afternoon.

Maybe tomorrow. But not today. And really, that’s fine.