Archives for posts with tag: getting over it

One of the big motherfucker’s of PTSD is the lasting impact, the lasting change to cognition, implicit memory, patterns of thought – all the things that make up the “D” (disorder) in PTSD. It’s hard. Recognizing the damage done, and the way it holds potential to “call our shots”, in the moment, is one of the enormous challenges involved in healing. It’s a lot of work finding – and maintaining – perspective and balance. I don’t point these things out as someone who has found her way, or has some solution, or is “over it. I point them out because I am still affected, even 39 years later. The worst of it, in the here and now, is the way it affects relationships with people dear to me who were in no way involved in the damage done, who mean me no harm, and indeed wish me well and want to share some piece of life’s journey with me.

Fuck PTSD.

It’s a major “begin again” moment, right here. My symptoms flared up completely “out of nowhere” (by that I mean, “predictably, but I wasn’t watching for it because I made foolish assumptions about my current emotional wellness, generally”). I certainly could have handled myself much better than I did. A chill calm morning shattered by tense voices, hurt feelings, frustration, irrational fears… it can feel like ruination. It can feel like more damage is done. It can feel like “spreading it around”. It definitely isn’t “fair”. There is guilt and shame beginning to try to fill the space where those irrational fears had been acting out their moment of drama. It’s fucking hard. It’s very very real.

Mental illness – and mental wellness – may not conform to our idea of what they “should” look like, who “should” be afflicted, or how we think such things “ought to” progress. I’ve learned a handful of things over the time and distance this healing journey has covered, though. Mental illness is commonplace. We’ve all got problems. We all hurt sometimes. No one is immune to communication challenges, or emotions.

I take a deep breath. I exhale. I relax. I let it go. My Traveling Partner alerts me he is going to soak in the hot tub. His tone is no assurance that I’m actually welcome… so I choose to do the hard thing; I open myself up to potential hurt feelings, and suggest I’d like to join him. He doesn’t say “no” or set a boundary. I take a deep breath… and begin again.

We soak together, listen to birds sing, and let the day begin.

It’s some time later, now. Feels like a mostly ordinary, pleasant morning, aside from the very deliberate gentleness and care we are taking with each other as we move on from a difficult moment. Do you love someone with PTSD? Complex PTSD? Bi-polar disorder? Depression? Anxiety? It’s hard, right? It’s not your “fault” – it’s also not their “fault”. Mental illness is hard work for the one afflicted – and hard work for the people who love them. Take a breath. Get some distance if you need it. Ideally… don’t punish each other. I know. Hard. All of it is hard. Good practices help – they take actual practice, and consistency, and they do help. A lot. Good therapy in the care of a qualified clinician helps (not always easy to find the right therapist, and it can be costly, I get it). Working to avoid compounding mental illness with “second dart suffering” and further inflicted hurts unwittingly delivered on each other is so important… and again, so much work. I can only say “keep practicing” and “begin again”. Yes, my results vary. No lie. Sometimes I fall short of my best self. I may never be wholly “well” in a reliable way that I can casually trust – my vigilance (regarding my symptoms) and (good) self-care practices are one thing I can offer my partner(s) to prevent doing them further damage. It’s not always enough… but I can’t take that personally.

I begin again.

So, I’ve got this day ahead of me, and things to do with it. I’ve hit the reset button, and the rest is a big pile of verbs. It’s up to me which of those I grab onto and apply to the day. 🙂

What about you? Are you ready to begin again? You’ve got this!

I woke about an hour ago. It’s a bit past 3:00 a.m. now. Little point in attempting to return to sleep. No idea what actually woke me. For now, I’m dealing with this sinus headache, but, and this is just real, I’m almost delighted that I can, mostly, just breathe. The vertigo, which I think may be a result of sleeping with my neck at an odd angle, combined with this head cold, is a cruel new addition, and I’m already “over it” (meaning to say, I’d very much like to be done with this whole mess, now, please…).

I worked yesterday, from home, and wrapped up the day about 2 hours early, compared to a typical Monday. I honestly wasn’t good for much. Today, either, potentially, but I am feeling “up to it”, and no coughing or sneezing, so far, and able to breathe (mostly)… I may go into the office today. I sit here sipping icy cold grapefruit fizzy water, wondering if I really will. The advantage is small; I have more monitor “real estate” there, and this allows me to work somewhat faster, with more things open and easy to see. That’s it. The disadvantage? If I am still contagious, I get everyone on my team sick (small office space), and potentially also everyone I talk to. That’s a dick move. I resolve to stay home if I start sneezing or coughing, and decide that if I do go in, I’ll go quite early, and overlap with folks for a much shorter period of time, keeping my hands washed, and wearing a mask. If nothing else, the mask itself will discourage conversation, and reduce risk further.

…I’ll probably work half a day, get the essentials done, take advantage of the efficiency of the big monitors, and cancel live calls/meetings that involve face-to-face participation.

My coffee is very good this morning. I feel content and alert in spite of the ridiculous hour. My body feels mostly pretty comfortable, very little pain. The discomfort I do feel is largely to do with this cold, and I’m clearly getting over that. I find that to be very good news – honestly, I have shit to get done. Not being up to doing things sucks. I keep sipping this coffee, between physical therapy exercises, and wait for this vertigo to clear up; if it doesn’t, I’ll stay home. Driving to the office in the dark, in the rain, and also with vertigo? That just sounds fairly stupid.

Back and forth… water… coffee… work from home? Go to the office? More water. Another sip of coffee. How do I best take care of this fragile vessel? Water. Chicken broth. Tea. Sleep. More sleep. More water. Limited use of cold care remedies, and only those that are definitely effective, and don’t mess with my head. More sleep. More water. More broth. Food when I can eat. I don’t know what works for you – do that, though, I suppose. I do this. 🙂 I’d been going through a record-breaking number of Kleenex’s there for a day or two, but this box next to me has been open now for more than 12 hours, and it’s still half full. Progress.

…Oh, damn, do I enjoy being able to breathe? Oh, yes, yes, I do – so very much. 🙂 It’s nice having that back.

I find myself looking forward to the cold autumn air and the rain fresh breeze, when I step outside, into the pre-dawn darkness of morning. The house is comfortably warm, but not hot. I feel a bit overdressed for the indoor temperature, and remind myself that my coat is in the bedroom closet, my partner still sleeping. Going to work without my coat, in this weather, in this health, seems fairly dumb; I’ll have to go get it, probably waking my partner. :-\ It is what it is. I remind myself he would comfortable do so, himself, were the situation such that he needed a clothing item from the bedroom, while I am sleeping. lol No coat = no commute. 🙂 That’s some solid self-care decision-making right there. 🙂

I look at the time. It’s very early, not quite 4:00 a.m., but getting that kind of head start on the day will be a huge win for reducing exposure to any lingering contagion, so… I guess it’s time to begin again. 😀

Well. Shit. And, in some senses of the word, I guess I mean that literally. lol Omg – being a human primate can be so distressingly gross sometimes.

The tickle in my throat night before last wasn’t a thing, I guess, although my throat was a bit raw by the end of the day yesterday… it could have been because I talk too damned much. lol Just as I was forming a “hey, I guess I feel okay…” sort of thought, “other symptoms” hit me and I was making my exit by way of the restroom before I could get to the parking lot and get in the car. (Frankly, that was a good call, and I don’t think I’d have been able to make the drive home without that detour to the restroom!)

I don’t like being sick.

I felt lethargic and drained (lol) all evening. I went to bed very early, and apparently slept deeply through the night. I woke drenched in sweat, hair tangled and knotted, and feeling sort of shaky and weak, but aside from that, sort of mostly okay-ish… I think… So far…

I get through the morning routine pretty easily. That first sip of coffee isn’t treating me very well, though, and I uncomfortably wonder what to do about that?

What strange fragile vessels these meat suits are. My enthusiastic loose plan to hike on the weekend is taking on the shape of a gentle walk along an accessible path. lol My eagerness to see my Traveling Partner becomes a hope that whatever this is does not get shared. I reconsider my plans and place my focus on self-care, wellness, and “recovering”, tacitly admitting to myself that I feel unwell. Ah. Well, there it is, then. Apparently, I’m not well. lol Thanks, Brain, I wasn’t sure where I stood on that topic. Got it. Thanks for clearing up any confusion on that.

My coffee is of no interest; I’m not feeling wholly well this morning. I’d definitely work from home, but didn’t bring my laptop home with me last night – I’m feeling a little stupid over that poor choice – so I at least have to go into the office to get it. lol Fucking hell. Two more work shifts, and then a weekend.

I’m really over being sick on weekends. Damn.

I take a breath, then another; being annoyed over being sick can so easily turn into some bullshit emotional storm of frustration and volatility, and that’s really a pretty pointless waste of time. We are mortal creatures of flesh and emotion, and sometimes being sick is a thing we go through. Beating myself about being ill is fairly foolish, and I am not up to it this morning. I shrug and let it go. The work week is almost over. It makes sense that weekends are as much about recovering from exhaustion or illness as they are about leisure-time recreations.

I notice the time… yeah. I work at resetting my expectations of the day, and finding my way to a new beginning. It’s definitely time to begin again. 😉

Staying home yesterday was the right choice. The small amount of effort exerted happily tidying up the smallest bit, while my energy level was high in the early morning, completely wiped me out. Not a set back, specifically, but definitely a clear warning sign that I’m not yet well. By mid-day, symptoms like dizziness, and that infernal headache, had gone completely, and I didn’t need to sleep all day. (Yay!!) So… definitely feeling “better”…but… then, sometime later in the day, the coughing got going on this whole other unnecessarily annoying level…and then… ouch. The muscles supporting my ribs, along my sides, not quite around toward my back, definitely involved in coughing…and… definitely not ready for all of this coughing. Something sprung, or pinched, or tweaked, or… both sides, now, every cough, there’s also muscle pain sharp in my awareness, not quite to the torn muscle severity, but god damn it hurts when I cough. 😦 How the ever-loving-fuck do I avoid coughing as I recover from the fucking flu???

I went to bed. Slept… okay… ish. For most values of “sleep” and “okay”. I woke often. Drinking this much tea, water, coffee… it’s a given. So there’s that. And the coughing. And the pain. I so do not want to go to work today. I could get some shit done here, though… I’m up to that. So it isn’t really the work, itself, that I’m not up to at this point – it’s the environment. I’m not up to it, and it’s not really the appropriate place to bring all this fucking loud coughing. (I sound like I’m literally dying of some horrible disease of the respiratory system, it’s hard to listen to.) (Not only that, but sitting near me would also subject someone to listening to my damned lungs making percolating noises while I breathe. lol Again, not the picture of vibrant health one expects from a coworker, generally.) Nor do I wish to expose others to this (although I already have – and omg, I am so sorry!!). So… this morning, my coffee, the trip to the office to grab my laptop and back home to “go to work”. Like… double the commute. <sigh> Yes, but also… heated seats. My arthritic back does like some time on the heated seat. 🙂

I just want to be well. lol I wake up making childish bargains with the universe (“If you just let me get through today without… “) that never work out (because that’s not how life works). I’m managing to take decently good care of myself, and it was lovely waking up this morning to a tidy little place, a clean kitchen, a sense of order, and a fireplace ready for me when I want it. That was one bonus out of the day, yesterday; the landlord was on site doing winterization stuff around the duplex (and no doubt other locations in the area), and stopped in to turn on the pilot light for the gas fireplace. 😀 It was pretty nice to enjoy the evening in the glow of a merry little fire, then also just switch it off at bed time. I enjoyed it so much that before bed I put a sticky note on the switch that says “this too costs cash”. lol

Still sick. My coffee is good, though (and my sense of taste is returning). I’m decently well-rested in spite of the very interrupted night. I’m clearly in the process of “getting well”, it’s just taking rather longer than I’d like. It’s a good opportunity to bring the work laptop home, and get back to work, even if I am not ready to get back to the office… It’s just time to begin again. Slowly. With great care. 🙂

I didn’t have an easy night. Falling asleep didn’t happen easily. Staying asleep wasn’t going super well, either. At midnight, again, I was awake, drinking hot tea to sooth my sore throat, and waiting to be sleepy enough, again, to try sleep, again. Pillows piled too high, I didn’t seem to doze off. Too low and I found that I quickly couldn’t breathe. Sometime after 2 am, I found a “sweet spot”. The alarm went off far too soon after that.

Yesterday it was an achievement to enjoy a moment in the garden, quietly.

I woke with a clear sense that I am “getting over this”, at long last, although the cough persists, my throat is still sore, and my sinuses are still stuffy. There’s a new quality to it, subtle and hard to pin down specifically, that just feels like everything is, in some tiny way, just a bit less “off” and just a bit more “recovering”. I’m not well, though, and there are so many ways to choose to proceed that could delay getting over this completely. “Pushing myself too hard” is just one of them, but it is on my mind because it is one that I rather regularly choose. I’m not inclined to do that, today. I consider calling out entirely, but there is a small amount of preparatory work setting up tomorrow that I would ideally want to have done before tomorrow arrives… but… yeah, soooo not up to working an entire day in the office.

Today was either going to be working from home (this cough is pretty disruptive, if nothing else), or calling out entirely; that’s the decision that needs to be made this morning. I still don’t know. I was pretty sick Friday, such that I failed to bring my (work) laptop home with me (just wasn’t thinking clearly). To work from home I need to go get it. (The humor in that is not lost on me; if I work, I’ll have to commute, to get the laptop, to work from home.) Calling out comes with no such requirement, and omg I am so still sick enough, but it is a choice that requires convincing myself to let Monday’s work go even just one day, and picking up that thread tomorrow. Layers of decision-making. If I choose to call out today, and end up feeling like working from home tomorrow makes more sense than going into the office… then I’ve merely delayed that silly commute to pick up the laptop. If I think there is any risk at all I may want/need to work from home tomorrow, it makes sense to get the laptop today… doesn’t it? Or does it?

All the major weekly deliverables on my plate each week that go out to my consumers are handled on Mondays. This makes Mondays “matter” a great deal to me. But… so does my health. Shit. This is hard.

I do feel “more better” this morning than I have in days… My decision this morning may affect my timely recovery from illness… soooo…

I keep turning it over in my head. Pros. Cons. Back and forth. Out of nowhere I am wracked with coughs, choking on the crap my lungs are trying to expel that has slowly settled in them over days. No. It’s pretty clear. I’m not quite well yet. Almost there… almost… there…

I decide to call out for this one. Just, call out. Entirely. Work on getting sufficiently well to really return to work tomorrow. I find myself hoping this is the wiser choice. I breathe. Pay attention to my physical state of being in all particulars… I feel some tiny bit better today than any day I went home early last week… I also feel notably worse than any day I worked an entire shift last week… I also feel very much that one more day of recovery will see me past the worst of it, and really ready to get back to work… so…

I make the hard choice. I call out for today. I commit to taking care of this fragile vessel. I use up a couple more tissues. I cough for a few minutes more. I finish my coffee, and make a cup of tea. I adjust the thermostat to “staying home today”.

Then, I begin again.