for kindness, especially kindness toward myself.
are vital to my recovery and well being and are worth my time and energy.
I finished keto three days ago, I’ve been eating carbs, and – shocker – I haven’t gained weight.
I am much more conscious about what I eat, how much I eat and why I eat. I’m still watching the calories and not eating large meals. I’m still not eating or drinking much sugar. I still have 30 lbs to go.
I’m still a bit paranoid about binge eating and blowing my progress.
I’m generally paranoid/have severe anxiety about at least one aspect of my life, so I can probably assign paranoia about sabotaging my progress to some persistently fearful corner of my brain that has thus far been resistant to healing. It’s hard, because the more anxiety I have about eating, the more I want to eat, the more of a challenge it is not to eat, the more…
PTSD is hard. But I am going to get through it, one little bit of healing at a time.
It only took 9 words to trigger me so badly that I had to hang up the phone and fight for control of my brain. It only took 5 seconds for my body to flood with chemicals so hard that I could feel it happening and knew I had to get clear of anything that might compound the trauma I had just experienced (being triggered can be traumatizing) before I put myself at risk of losing control of my car again. I got triggered by a comment that conjured up a past horrific experience while driving on the road I nearly died on 5 years ago next month. There is no way to explain the pain and fear.
But I can explain that I knew how to manage it. I got off the phone quickly, I started breathing deeply, I reminded myself that I can perform mechanical tasks just fine when under extreme stress – and driving is a mechanical task – I reminded myself that I was safe from the thing that was terrifying my brain even if being on the interstate at a high speed was not particularly safe, that even if I wasn’t in control I never really am anyway so that wasn’t worth expending energy on, and if I wanted to drop my plans and go home, I could do that. If I wanted to pull off the road and get someone to come get me, I could. If I wanted to never talk to that person again, I could. If I never wanted to work again, I could. If I never wanted to drive again, I could.
I got to my work meeting and parked, then sat in the car for a minute to collect myself and check in now that I wasn’t focused on highway survival. It took 90 seconds before I started feeling tired and defeated. That kind of experience – going from focused and intentional to fighting for your life in the space of less than 10 words – is one that I’m still not sure how I survive.
What I can’t explain is how I called the person who triggered me back and made sure they understood that they can never use that phrase with me again. Ever. I can’t explain how I walked into the meeting and was fully present and engaged for five hours, including calling back a difficult client during the break and walking through what he was requesting. Or how I drove straight to another client’s office to sign legal paperwork needed required for a project, checked in on project progress and had a long chat with the admin about something I care nothing about (but she does) before I got back to my office to finish and submit an application that has a critical deadline more than 24 hours before that deadline. I turned right around on a phone call and addressed an asinine response from a city official to plans I had submitted, made the “corrections” to keep the peace (even if everything was right there in the documents and the revisions were a complete waste of my time) and finished up with a 10 hour day…10 hours after I was triggered.
I ate whatever the hell I wanted for dinner. Which amounted to half a baked potato and a slice of bread in addition to what was otherwise a normal keto meal.
PTSD is a living hell. But life goes on, and I’m going with it.
I just posted about not answering the phone when toxic calls. Today I got not one but two texts from people who ghosted me months ago, declaring how much they miss me.
Text #1, from former coworker and woman I thought was the closest I will ever have to a sister, who made a big splash about being friends forever then stopped responding to my texts:
“Hey! You doing okay??” along with a meme saying, “Your face…I kind of fucking miss that shit…A lot.”
I haven’t heard from you in 8 months, so I doubt it.
Text #2, from former college friend who was self-destructive before and after college, and who ended our friendship the night I had food poisoning and she left to go find whatever would make her feel good about herself. At 6am I was awakened (after vomiting every 15 minutes for hours) by a knock on our hotel door because she was downstairs in an ambulance unconscious and wearing someone else’s clothes. She wasn’t interested in owning her behavior, and I wasn’t interested in continuing to clean up after her. About a year or so ago she reached out to reconcile, and we were slowly moving that direction when she ghosted me:
“Hi!! I have been missing you like crazy, lady! It’s time for a chat with your pal!! Miss you tons.”
It’s actually time for me to acknowledge that you, much like many guys I’ve dated, are not genuinely interested in a relationship with me, and it’s time for me to make myself and my time and energy a priority for me.
So as much as I’m spending time and energy on these former friends because I’m having to deal with my own issues related to them, at least that’s time and energy spent where it belongs.
But seriously. WTF.
Two-thirds of the way through a focused effort to heal a lot of the damage wrought on me by PTSD, I’m astounded by how far I’ve progressed in two months. My sleeping and eating habits have improved, my relationships have improved or been released, I’m spending less time trying to control what I can’t, I’m much more aware of when I need to pause and get to a place of calm, I’m more focused, I’m much better at managing triggers and I am getting to the root of a problem more quickly and with less time spinning in anxiety. I have more creativity, more critical thinking, more problem-solving and more willingness to try new things.
I’m a planner. My comfort zone is knowing the status, having a plan and being on schedule.
I’m living day-to-day right now. Not in a barely surviving way (although it feels like that without a plan and status), but in an I don’t know and don’t have the information to make a decision yet way. I hate it. I hate uncertainty, and that’s all I have right now.
I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m growing. I’m maturing, although it feels like if I mature any further my soul will pass the millennium mark. I’m grateful for that, and I’m grateful I’m now more honest and less avoidant.
But this shit is hard.