Archives for posts with tag: I am okay right now

I sit awhile, coffee untasted, headphones on without music, listening to the sound of the computer fan, staring into the blank white abyss of an empty page. My fingers are frozen, poised ever-so-lightly on the keyboard. Mind temporarily paralyzed by the remnants of a powerful fight-or-flight reaction to unexpected harsh words first thing upon waking. Humans being human. Things, generally, are so improved over years past (distant past, at this point, really), that I forget about the PTSD, until I stumble over it. In a flash of circumstance or temper, I’m mired in it, again. Reeling from a flood of powerful emotions, followed by a flood of tears, I’m still shaken, more than an hour later. Vulnerable, and a bit fragile, I retreat to the solitude of my studio, until I can get myself past this moment, and sort out the chaos and damage from what is steadfast and true, reliably real, and less about some damaged moment that is not now.

…This is hard. I’m “out of practice”, I guess, and for that, I am grateful.

The tears erupt again, and spill over, making the text on the page distorted and surreal. Am I okay? Sure. For most values of “okay”, I’m okay. Certainly, I am okay right now, and I am safe, and there is nothing to fear here in this place – or in this relationship. I remind myself, and look around, here, now. Leftover baggage that I may carry for a lifetime weighs me down a bit, that’s all. I deal with it privately, as often as I can. Very few people are actually qualified to “help with this”. I already have the tools, and the practices, and the experience (of an entire lifetime of chaos and damage), to handle the self-care and emotional recovery on my own. With those things in mind, it’s beyond unreasonable to attempt to get help from my Traveling Partner right now.

Reaction? Over-reaction. I recognize that, and begin the tender work of caring for this fragile vessel. Taking care of the physical details will build the strongest foundation for the emotional needs yet to be met. I make myself sip my coffee. It tastes quite fucking awful this morning. It’s a matter of perspective. There is no comfort in it; I’m just making sure I don’t set myself up for failure, later, with a caffeine headache. That’d just be dumb. I take an Rx pain reliever for my physical pain. It’s a rainy spring day and my arthritis is what woke me early this morning, before I was really ready, or fully rested. No point letting that become a thing of greater significance later on. I blow my nose and dry my eyes. I take an antihistamine to combat seasonal allergy symptoms. I correct my posture. I do some yoga. I meditate. All of these individual self-care details help re-stabilize me. Give me distance from that one difficult moment. Build reserves for the moments to come; no way to know what those hold. My subconscious is still shrieking alarms bells at me, as if there is a legitimate concern, where none actually exists.

Fuck PTSD.

I breathe, exhale, relax. I let all of that go. Again. More slow tears. Another breath.

More practice.

I know I’ll take that next step of seeking a positive distraction to occupy my waking consciousness, and move on from this, fairly soon. I’m far more well-equipped for these experiences than I was 7 years ago. Yeah. 7 Years. More. It’s a long journey, not gonna lie. There are verbs involved. I’ve had to begin again ever so many times. In the past, I’ve been hard on myself sometimes to the point of inflicting additional damage. I think I’m past that, now. There are still hard moments. Being human doesn’t come with any sort of manual, life doesn’t have a clear map to follow. Sometimes shit is hard. Ridiculously difficult, and over what seem the most trifling of details. It is what it is. We are what we are. It’s a journey, and in most practical regards, it’s a solo journey; we’re each having our own experience.

I breathe, exhale, relax. I let all of that go. Again. No tears this time. Another breath. I feel calm. Practical. Resolved. Understanding. Compassionate. Still a little fragile, but I’m ready to begin again.

Again.

I woke unexpectedly breathless, heart pounding, unsure of where I was – and no art on the walls yet to pull me back from The Nightmare City. I told myself it was nothing. Got up. Took my morning medication. Had a big drink of cool, fresh, water. Took some deep breaths. I found myself wandering room to room, throwing open the windows, as if only the fresh morning air could calm me. It did feel good. I made coffee out of habit. I really just want more cold water, although… I’m not actually thirsty.

I stand in a cool shower for some minutes, coffee forgotten, trembling, heart still pounding, and feeling mildly weak and a little dizzy. I finally think to check in with myself more specifically. “Am I okay? Physically okay?” I give that some thought, becoming more aware, and more present, right now. I have no recollection of having had a nightmare, but aside from that, I feel very much as I do when I wake from a really bad one, abruptly.

After my shower, feeling some better, I drop some ice cubes in my now-tepid coffee (damn, how long was I standing in not-quite-cold water at 4 am?) and step out onto the deck “for some fresh air” (as if I hadn’t already thrown the house wide to the breezes as soon as I woke). I’m okay. Still feeling a little unsure of myself, actually, vulnerable, and filled with vague anxiety. It’s been awhile since I woke in the middle of a panic attack. Uncomfortable. It wasn’t helpful that I am in a new environment. I’m okay right now, though, and that’s enough to get by on.

I watch the sky lighten beyond the window of the studio, beyond the security door, beyond the hedge, a few tall trees silhouetted against the sliver of visible sky. There are streaks of clouds, low on the horizon, and clear pale sky overhead. I write a few more words about the weather, then delete them. I sit staring quizzically at my computer screen for some minutes, not just uncertain what to write about, but also simply… unsure. Too aware that I woke up a bit unhinged, still feeling… feelings. Sure, I’m okay, for most values of okay, and I’ll be fine, but right now, in this tender moment, I need something more from myself than small talk about the fucking weather. lol I need a connection.

I decide to begin again. I take my coffee, and head to the deck to enjoy watching the morning unfold its beauty in leaves and light to a soundtrack of birdsong, breezes, and morning traffic. My results vary. Of course. Sometimes there are verbs involved.

 

 

I woke from a deep sleep to some kind of noise…a persistent sound of some sort…a beeping, or chiming, or… and it wasn’t stopping… Oh. My phone was ringing. Only one number rings through my “Do Not Disturb” settings; my Traveling Partner. I quickly lurch from bed and careen through the apartment, stumbling on shit that doesn’t match my mental map of my apartment; there are stacks of boxes everywhere. I reach the phone and answer it, delighted to hear his voice. No emergency, he’s just back in town and wanted to hear my voice. 🙂 It was a short call, and a quick return to sleep…

…only…

Nope. Not sleeping.

…I couldn’t so easily return to sleep.  Just as I was about to drift off my brain decided to attack with a barrage of insecure doubt and anxiety and dread, and oh, just all the things available to keep me laying wakefully for some time. I did eventually return to a restless unsatisfying sleep. Nightmares of loss and loneliness occupied my sleeping mind until the alarm went off.

I woke feeling okay. Feeling thoughtful. Feeling… thought-filled. lol This too will pass. I make a point of reminding myself how pointless rumination is, and that anything of substance that truly needs to be considered will still need to be considered later… after I wake up, after meditation, after my morning coffee, and perhaps even just quite a lot later today – after work. Perspective is helpful. Context matters. Oh, and also – brains make shit up all the damned time. lol My imagination is just as likely to work against me as to delight me. So, I shrug off as much of the weird lingering insecurity, anxiety, and doubt as I am able to, and I push on with the morning.

I have a practice for this one, and although it works, it’s not to be undertaken lightly first thing in the morning by a sleep-addled brain. (I learned that the hard way!) My practice for dealing firmly with insecurity and anxiety is to look my fears in the face without flinching. Seriously – I consider as frankly as I can whatever bundle of fears and bullshit that is freaking me out, and I consider it as if it were simply a given and life is no kidding going to deliver on all of it as if it were a promise. Feeling insecure about my relationship? I consider life without it, no bullshit, no drama – what does that look like? Could I still be okay? What advantages might that bring? Is there a future from that point that may still be quite nice? Does it change who I am? What am I truly afraid of? Is there an opportunity for growth, here? This works for any sort of insecurity, doubt, and anxiety, really. Emotions are powerful. It’s a good idea to choose some moment when it feels truly safe to fully consider my deepest fears. Results vary. Scary, tense, anxious, insecure, doubtful emotions can go sideways so easily, plunging me into real despair… but, all the more reason to learn to face them unafraid of the emotions themselves, and there is so much to learn. They’re still only emotions; getting to know them well, becoming comfortable with emotion, generally, and working to develop a measure of emotional intelligence that supports good quality of life is not only completely achievable, I have found that improving my emotional intelligence improves my interactions with others, too, and sort of “tidies up my thinking”. 🙂

So much of what goes on in our heads is actually completely made up bullshit going on in our heads. 🙂 I am as likely to find my anxiety provoked by things that are delightful, or changes that suit me better than whatever had changed ever could, as I am by things that are legitimately worth being anxious about. Silly primates – given both emotion and reason (which work so nicely together), and yet time and again we keep trying to choose one over the other. lol

I sip my coffee and watch the dawn slowly becoming day. I consider my imminent move. Just two more work shifts before that actually becomes a thing happening in the moment…and one of those work shifts is today. This is happening!! 😀 My conversation with my partner last night opened some opportunities in the context of moving that I hadn’t considered, and although I spent some time wracked with anxiety (because changing plans sometimes causes me anxiety), the opportunities themselves are worth considering fully. Later.

The calm of the morning develops like a Polaroid. I feel settled and secure, and focused on changes that meet my needs over time. I feel content. I feel loved. Fears and doubts fade away as the sky lightens, and anything that lingers to day’s end can be fully considered at some later point, in a comfortable, practical way.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m home. The busy work day is behind me. The week is finished. I sit quietly taking it in; I don’t work tomorrow. I am home. I am alone. Tonight… I’m even lonely. It happens. Just using the word, my eyes tear up a bit. I’m okay, just very human. Tired. In pain. Frustrated by the world every time I hear an adult conversation in passing, or read the news. “Stick a fork in me…” I sigh out loud, the sound of it in the room seems oddly out-of-place with the quiet.

A shower later, and a change into comfy clothes, I’m still in this strange place, poised between contentment and despair. There’s no particular reason for it, really… it’s winter. It’s been a busy week at work. Is that all this is? Am I just tired? I’m struggling to manage some of my self-care basics with the new job. I’m pushing “too hard”, taking too few breaks, getting too little rest… but I also love the job, feel passionate about the progress we’re making, and feel very valued and appreciated. What do I do with that? The long commutes make the days very long indeed, and the evenings very short.

I feel myself sort of… pull back. From everything. Closing the door on “extra people” – as if the friends and loved ones outside the workplace are not in fact far more important to me, day-to-day, moment-to-moment, than even my most esteemed colleague. I come home at the end of the day. Close the door. Sit down. Being fair to my self and my circumstances, it’s rare to feel other than contented on a quiet evening after work, these days. Tonight is different. I remind myself that the sensation of “always” that feels so dull and bleak and immovable is, itself, a part of this feeling – and every sad strained drop of it is pure emotion. Chemistry. Lacking in real meaning, or substance. It’s more a drug than an experience. Squashing it doesn’t help – never has. Venting… meh. I’ve had mixed success there, and my suspicion is that it is the camaraderie of sharing the tale, the connected moment, that results in any apparent success – and fuck, I already know that experiencing an intimate emotional (positive) connection with another human being is a fast track to losing the blues. This is not news.

…But I ache, and I’m tired, and… I’d also like very much to be alone. Now isn’t that a bitch? Feeling lonely, and still wanting to be alone. What the fuck do I do with that?? Well. In this particular instance, I light a fire in the fireplace. I put on some soup. (I made a tasty robust 15 bean soup yesterday in the slow cooker, while I worked from home. It’ll be even better today.) I put on my fuzziest, comfy-cosiest, softest spa socks. I did some yoga. Took some time to meditate. I started choosing to let the stress fall away. I looked the loneliness in the face, and let it be what it is, without piling self-criticism, disappointment, or additional demands on top of it. I lit the lights on the Giftmas tree – and grudgingly made room for the awareness that I was smiling, at least a little. One thing at a time. I started treating myself better, one thing at a time. Rather than continue down the unpleasant path of criticizing my crappy treatment of myself, I’m making a point to go ahead and treat myself better. Right now. Only that. We become what we practice.

Soup will be ready soon. It’s later than I generally have dinner, but I’m also not sleepy. Just tired… and the kind of tired that is mostly brain-tired. Giving my brain a rest isn’t always about sleep. My fingers find the edge of the book I am reading… soup first, though. Later, sleep.

Tomorrow I can begin again.

Yesterday was difficult. My black mood continued through the day without diminishing in spite of exceptional self-care. There wasn’t anything “wrong”, it was a day, and I was in a shitty mood. I often am after a migraine, and I knew to take care of myself, and treat myself (and the world) with great care. Still. It sort of sucked. (Only sort of, because as I said, there wasn’t anything wrong besides my mood.)

Hanging on, waiting for some other moment? Impermanence is a real thing; this too shall pass.

Hanging on, waiting for some other moment? Impermanence is a real thing; this too shall pass.

It was at the end of the day that things finally “cleared up” with regard to my mood. I woke feeling splendidly this morning.

I'll begin again...

I’ll begin again…

This morning is a lovely one. The apartment is quickly cooling off,  the dawn breeze pushing the cool air across the meadow, and into the open windows. My appointment yesterday, as it turned out, is actually my appointment today… and it’s “date night”! A good cup of coffee gets the morning going, after enjoying unmeasured time meditating. (One of the hardest things about yesterday was the challenge I was having finding stillness; I seemed unable to meditate.)

This morning there is an easy smile on my face, as if lingering from very pleasant dreams. I have music playing, and yesterday’s sound sensitivity is no part of this fine morning, here, now. It’s a pleasant beginning to the day.

Once upon a time, a day like yesterday would likely have been a week of it, and burdened further by feeling obligated to “preserve appearances” or otherwise re-craft my apparent experience by way of behaviors intended to “fake happy”. Not only does that not actually work [for me], it limits my ability to actually take care of myself by turning my attention away from my own needs in order to create the illusion that there is nothing out of the ordinary – making my misery both ordinary, and hidden. Yuck. It was not an effective approach.  You know what else didn’t work for me? Lashing out at the world like an enraged toddler out of frustration and speechless rage. Learning to use my words, and to “speak gently”, while also learning to listen deeply and develop authentic compassion has been the win… I’ve a long way to go on both of those. More practice seems wise. 🙂

Incremental change over time? It seems so. If nothing else, today is a good day to practice the practices that matter so much for me, and work so well: keeping a committed meditation practice, speaking gently, listening deeply, maintaining emotional self-sufficiency, and living authentically. It’s a good start on an extraordinary journey – and today is a good day to begin again. 🙂