Archives for posts with tag: ptsd

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.

 

 

Getting through these couple of work days is harder than I expected. The days drag. I feel distracted. There is a garden waiting for me at home that needs love. There is unpacking to do. There are things to put in their proper place – and proper places to be determined. The work day, yesterday, did eventually end.

I’d taken car yesterday, and will again today. My ankle is still aching and the bus stop is some distance away. On my way home, happily following a suggested route offered by a more experience colleague, I made a stop for some odds and ends but instead found myself wandering discontentedly through the aisles; I no longer cared about the errand, I just wanted to be at home. So, I went home.

I meant to do things. I meant to unpack more stuff. I meant to do some laundry. I meant to vacuum. Instead I made a mug of chicken broth and sat in the stillness, quiet and content. I watched the golden glow of late afternoon fade to twilight. I listened to the birds. I watered the container garden on the deck. Eventually, night fell. I went to bed. It was quiet a deliciously restful evening.

I spent much of that quiet time just soaking in the newness of this place, and continuing to get a feel for it. I still can’t quiet find my way around in the dark here, not yet. There is more to learn.

It’s an exciting time, now that the panic of having to move suddenly is behind me, and I’ve done that bit. So much chaos. I’m looking forward to the long weekend ahead, that begins tonight. Making this space my own is the fun part. Then, the journey ahead begins. I don’t know yet where it leads. I think of my Traveling Partner. It’s funny how much it matters to me that he also be able to find contentment in this space…but it does.

One more work shift… I think about work and I am immediately vaguely distracted feeling, already eager to return my thoughts to home. There is so much to do here! I’ve got keys to the apartment, though, until Friday. If I can get all the boxes unpacked, I can drop off the cardboard recycling in the big bin at the old apartment… handy. Living in a house means no more dumpsters. lol Every detail of getting settled in here is so prominent in my thoughts. It’s hard to recall now quite why I was so stressed out and angry about having to move… having moved, that bit is now in the past, and seems unfamiliar. I know I don’t like moving…but I really like moving in. lol

“Fireworks” burst into bloom as soon as I began watering her. We thrive when we are cared for.

It’s a good day to take care of the woman in the mirror. It’s a very good day to begin again.

First night home alone in a new place. The moving in process, itself, is one I associate more with excitement than dread, and it comes with a nervous energy that isn’t quite enthusiasm, and falls short of panic. It’s already hard to choose to go to bed, already hard to find sleep; there is more to do. This the part where I get to create order from chaos, so… more a fun project than a chore in most regards. Then there is the part where I am getting used to new noises.

The refrigerator here is quieter than the old one, generally, but sounds completely different, and the sound turns up in some unexpected corners. Each time I trace some odd noise back to the fridge it surprises me, because each experience is “about” a slightly different quality of the noises it makes. It isn’t “bothering me” so far, just new.

The house itself is rather “wide open to all the noises”, or seems so; the noise of the busy street I’m on is easily audible during peak traffic. The nearness to the airport is now quite evident, but limited mostly to fly overs that are on an approach directly overhead. I don’t hear the neighbors (so far), except when they use the shower; the fans in the bathrooms are loud enough to hear through the walls. (Why do we not stop building things in this slipshod fashion? We can do better.) I know that once the paintings are hung, it will be quieter. I contemplate backing the largest ones with some sort of foam for additional quiet…

Last night I heard sirens, a fire truck passed by quickly, then an aggressive knock at the security door – loud voices? I was in bed, dozing off… my feet hit the floor immediately to get to the door. In the darkness, it became a real problem that I was in a new place; the security door was locked, I knew I’d need my keys – I could not find either a light switch, nor my hand bag, and omg – this place may be noisy, but in the dark of night? It’s really really dark. In my half-waking panic, I walked directly into a wall, turned and banged my shins, stubbed my toe, and tripped over something. I finally got to the door – without putting on my glasses. Without finding my keys. Just wanting to reach the door to speak to the stranger with the aggressive knock that followed sirens…

…No one there. Quiet peaceful night, aside from… fireworks? Fireworks. There was no knock. Just firecrackers, which is probably what the fire trucks were called for. Damn it. I stood there a minute, then patiently worked my way back to the bedroom one light switch at a time, to put on my glasses and “check for monsters”. My heart was still racing, and I was shaking all over. I took time to meditate and calm myself before returning to bed, fairly confident my potential for sleep was just destroyed for the night.

I woke from a sound sleep 4 minutes before the alarm went off. So…okay. I can sleep well and deeply here, even right after I am freaked right the fuck out by sirens. Nice. 🙂

My morning here feels different…the leisureliness of it feels longer… more relaxed… it’s all made up in my head, of course. It’s a new place. I choose a lot of how I will feel about it. I watch the sky lighten beyond the window of my studio. It’s a very different view. I look through the window, to look through the security door, to look into and across a tall  healthy hedge to trees beyond, and just a sliver of sky. I see the edge of the step into the entry, and a small patch of ground. No expanse of meadow, no horizon. I’m not disappointed with the view. It’s just different. It’s a very emotionally comfortable view; no one can approach me by surprise, and from outside the window, on the other side of that security door, no one can see in. It feels very safe here. (It needs a hummingbird feeder in the small bit of view, perhaps.)

It is a work day. There is one more just like it, then another long weekend to spend getting all moved in (for some values of “all moved in”), a luxury I don’t fail to appreciate, carefully planned because it supports me to do so.

I hear a bird singing in the hedge and smile a broad happy smile at the idea of morning. I feel good. I feel safe. I feel content. This is enough.

…It’s a hell of a beginning, this particular beginning again. 🙂

I’m mostly moved out of my old apartment.  Hell, for that matter, I’m mostly moved in to the new house, thanks to the coordinated help of friends, and professional movers, and the bonus that is being able to afford to take time off to manage it. Nothing precious to me got broken, and the only box that got dropped was in my own hands when it fell, hit the sidewalk in front of the new house, and spilled its contents from the split-wide-open box into the driveway. It was a macht nichts moment; just this-n-that from the bathroom cupboards. No harm done. I did manage to startled the professional movers, though. lol I’m tired. Still tired. There’s more to do, of course, mostly of the moving in and getting settled variety. Exciting and fun and… I’m still tired. LOL My ankle gave me far more grief than my back ever did, and by Friday I was back on my cane, and had worn out my ankle brace beyond repair. More than once, I made a point to pause, rest, and give myself a moment to recover some little amount, before continuing. There is still more to do.

I’m eager to see my Traveling Partner again, and welcome him to this new, different, lovely space. My deck is big – huge in comparison to small apartment patios – and there is water right there, making caring for my garden easier than it has been for me since… 1995. There is so much excitement in this process now! I feel that release of tension as sleepiness, more often than I’d like. I smile and remind myself that fatigue is a shout out for rest and ease. I gotta remember to do that, too.

The view from my bed, feet up, taking it easy for a few minutes between tasks on moving day.

I double-check my list of things to do and tenderly add “take care of me”. Soon enough the work day will end, and I will head to the apartment to tidy up, and remove anything left behind from 4 days of moving. There are definitely more verbs involved…

 

This is probably my last blog post until after the FiOS is connected at the new place. Although I can write a post from my phone, I generally find it more difficult, and that increased difficulty affects the flow of my thoughts and how easily I put them in rows of words between capital letters and periods. lol So… a break in the writing, probably until Sunday morning, before I head to work on a very new commute. 😀

Getting the keys was exciting. The landlord was there waiting for me. The house is adorable, incredibly clean inside and out, and the environment seems to suit me. I sat for a few moments getting the feel of it, measured rooms and spaces more carefully. Accepted small details that “aren’t perfect” while also understanding that “perfect” isn’t a real thing in the first place, and sufficiency is, by definition, enough. I get comfortable with the simple truth that in spite of the spaciousness of the master bedroom, the king size bed will fit in only one location, only one orientation… and it isn’t where I actually want it. It’s the sort of small detail that could once sending me spinning, or to which I might once have reacted by resentfully insisting on placing the bed differently, in spite of poor fit, awkwardness, or reduced livability…just to make a point about agency.

The living room puzzles me when I consider the bookshelves, the stereo, and the placement of the sliding glass door to the deck, the fireplace, and the connecting dining room space. What seemed obvious at first glance requires more careful thought; where does everything go? It’s not about “feng shui” unless by that I am meaning to suggest that I am seeking the most natural (to me) comfortable (for me) placement of things and objects. In which case, it is; the less I have to struggle with figuring out the layout, or struggling to overcome placement that later “doesn’t make sense” and requires repetition and memorization, the more comfortable I will be long-term.

What about the aquarium?

After some discussion with my Traveling Partner, the second bedroom becomes a creative space, by intent, that can be a guest space when needed. I’ll get to test that concept too soon; I already have a guest. LOL

Everything has to move. Even my routines, and all my practices. 

It’ll be a busy few days. I still make a point to start the morning with meditation. I’ll end each day that way. I’ll be careful to drink enough water, and to manage meal timing, nutritional content, and calories. Exercise is pretty well-built into the activities of the next few days. lol Fatigue hasn’t gotten to me yet, but wear and tear on my busted up ankle halted my moving efforts yesterday; it just needed rest, so I stopped for the day and rested it. Skillful adulting right there! I make a point to observe it, to appreciate myself for taking good care of this fragile vessel, and to notice that it made a difference; this morning the ankle doesn’t hurt. 😀

It’s time to begin again. See you on the other side, writing from a new location. Please take the very best care of  you while I am away – I’ll miss you while I’m gone. 🙂