Archives for posts with tag: it’s not a cure but it is an improvement

I’m awake. It’s 1:37 am.

I’m not awake for some wonderfully cool reason, like a late night out with friends, or not yet home from a concert, or anything like that. I’d intended to be sleeping, and until some moments ago, I was.

I woke abruptly from a deep sleep, heart pounding hard and beating very fast. I felt short of breath, and fearful. Panicked. The world was quiet, so I could pretty safely assume whatever woke me was internal, rather than external. I didn’t struggle to find a solution to my racing heart and gasping breath; I immediately, gently, eased myself into a very comfortable relaxed position, and began slowing and deepening my breathing, and soothing my consciousness; there was nothing obvious to be so frightened about. I started letting that go, first, with firm reminders to remain in the moment, there in the darkness of a space that, after 4 months, finally feels more or less familiar, most of the time. I turned on a light. I sat up. I continued to support myself with soothing practices. I got up and took an antacid for my very acid stomach and quietly cursed my acid reflux. I got a glass of water and added some Calm to that.

Over the next few minutes, sitting down to write a few words, using even that to help me “sort myself out” in the quiet hours of night, I sip on my glass of water, and feel the chill of the room start to play a part, too, cooling me down.

It’s been a long long time since I let myself make any effort to “figure out” a waking moment like that one. I just don’t do it any more. It’s like digging at a scab, just barely gratifying at all, and definitely not actually helpful, just very compelling. So, I don’t. Because doing so wasn’t useful in a positive way, and it tended only to mire me in a whole assortment of shitty crap loitering in the dark corners of my consciousness waiting for a chance to be weaponized and turned inward. So… I don’t know what woke me. I don’t know why I woke so frightened and overwhelmed. I don’t know what the anxiety was about. I have made knowing such things not a priority of any sort. And… since I’m not “picking at that sore”, the fear and anxiety are already dissipating. With practice, not hours – minutes. It is 1:51 am. I may actually get back to sleep at some point, soon. πŸ™‚

I’m still feeling restless and weird. So, some yoga next. Just postures that promote relaxation and calm. I keep the lights dim. Each small practice picked up along the way has value right now. One by one, I step through the most relevant practices I have learned over time, and I feel myself begin to calm, to become relaxed, to settle down through and through. I’m okay, right now. It’s enough.

I think I’ve mostly come to terms with the likelihood that some portion of my symptoms of PTSD may linger for the remainder of my life time… I sure feel more able to deal with them, generally. Even two years ago, a night like this might have evolved into something more serious, lasting days, destroying my sleep, eroding my judgment, damaging my relationships… this seems better, not perfect. There is no “perfect”. I’m not “cured” – but I am far better at caring for myself in such moments.Β That’s something pretty wonderful.

I finish my water. Run this post through spellcheck. Then, head back to bed. πŸ™‚

 

It’s a lovely morning. Cool without being chilly. The sound of birdsong is carried over the meadow on flower scented breezes. The apartment begins to cool off quickly. I sip my coffee and wonder why I am anxious, without really digging at it ferociously…more a gentle sort of “Huh, that’s peculiar…” sort of a thing.

Beginnings are not all the same.

I slept restlessly, but I did get the rest I need. It’s a very short work week, since I have Memorial Day off, but also had planned my first camping trip of the year for next weekend. This “short week” is the likely source of my anxiety; there is still the same amount of work to do. I’m excited about my camping trip. I am overdue for really getting away, setting everything down, and taking my ease for a couple of days of unrestricted leisure out among the trees. I find that the same time spent at home doesn’t work out to quite the same result as time spent out there, surrounded by trees and plants, no device connection, and plenty of quiet time to meditate, to read, to hike, to sketch.

I sometimes find myself anxious out among the trees. My results vary there too. There’s no escape when it hits, it has to be mastered in some way, or at least endured until it passes. It always does pass. It is a lesson in beginning again. It is a lesson, sometimes in a literal way, in “turning the page” on my own narrative and resuming things just a bit further on. I have resorted, even, to simply writing “I am anxious in this moment”, then actually physically turning the page in my notebook or journal, and continuing to write. Sometimes this obvious trickery works. lol Most of the time it doesn’t, but peculiarly even in those moments when it doesn’t work so well, I still find comfort in turning the page on my anxiety.

Anxious moments are pretty horrid. They do come up with fair frequency, even now. The change, mostly, seems to have been that they no longer just grow and grow until they take over my entire experience, backing me into a corner, making me small. They remain, generally, moments. This is a bigger deal than words convey.

I look my anxiety this morning in the face with some wonder; it neither gets worse nor gets better to be so frankly acknowledged. In this moment, it merely exists. I breathe. Check my posture. Gaze out at the lovely meadow as the sun rises. Sip my coffee. Again notice the anxiety. Another deep cleansing breathe. The softness of the meadow breeze on my skin creates a smile that tugs at my face, competing with my anxiety for my attention. I yield to the smile, noticing the precious breeze. I keep at it, observing the simple delights of the morning one by one, between deep full un-rushed breaths. My anxiety begins to recede, initially as a peculiarly tidal experience, at first coming and going, coming and going, with my breathing. Over minutes it fades into the background altogether. If this were a bound paper journal, this would be the point at which I would turn the page…

It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚