Rest Stop

Sometimes I forget it is not possible to be in control of everything, all the time. Or that, even if I am in control, my choices do not always lead to the best results. Or, even if my choices don’t lead to ‘the best’ results, who determines what is best and worst? Me. And sometimes those determinations are a little arbitrary, or based on other peoples’ expectations.

The last few weeks have brought with them an overflow of information, a few realizations, an incident with the ex, the Flu, a¬†heart to heart with myself, time with friends, preparation for a long-planned minor surgery, and some heavy considerations regarding my priorities, relationships… pretty much the whole nine yards and then some.

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[Reblog] What’s in Your Coping Toolkit: Putting It All Together

Reblog Tuesdays!

Anxiety has had a major impact on me this week, and I have found this series very helpful and worthwhile. I’ve not had a chance to put everything into practice, but I’m working on learning ways to Be Kind to myself. I’m also working on making self-care choices that are just ‘a little’ better each time.

Small steps still get me where I’m going. ūüôā I hope you find something in here that helps you with whatever you are going through.

eat. spin. talk. repeat.

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

For the last seven weeks, we have talked about all the tools we need/want  in our toolkit. This is obviously not an exhaustive list of ALL the coping skills out there, but it’s a start. Now that you’ve got the tools, what on earth to do with them!?!

I’ve mentioned the importance of having access to these skills in times of stress. That is going to look differently for each skill. So let’s breakdown each skill we’ve talked about and how to do that:

Mindful Breathing:  practice, practice, practice. Take time each day to spend time mindfully breathing. The only way to get good at this skill is to take time to do it.

Relaxation: Come up with a list of relaxing things to do at different places you might…

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Recovery

The fear is about everything.

And yet, a part of me knows it should be about nothing. That I overthink. That I am reacting emotionally and outside of logic. Yet too often, I think I try and discount my emotions. Pain of any kind is always unpleasant, but usually, especially with physical pain, it points to something that needs attention to heal properly.

Understanding the smoke and mirrors of anxiety means looking beyond the easy answer, beyond the initial spark of fear, or numbness, or pain. Of course, a certain situation or memory or word or action will likely be that initial trigger. Yet it is like it stirs a domino effect of fears, too many, too broad, too overlapping to easily pick apart when in the midst of a panic attack.

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Where do I want to be?

 

 

A journey begins with just one step, and over the course of the past eighteen months or so, this blog has cataloged a hundred and one¬†posts that document¬†bits of my story, the path I’ve traveled, and my goals.

Today, Friday, I need to remind myself how¬†much ground I have covered. A promotion at work, debt nearly under control, a new relationship,¬†a better grasp of the tools needed to handle my anxiety. My New Year’s Resolution was to be more authentic in my everyday life, and while it hasn’t always made things easier in the immediate moment, I think long-term I’ve been at least making progress with that goal.

Yet I still have things I want to achieve, and these seem to be a bit more of a struggle. Continue reading

Trigger-feelings

He¬†lifted his hand from the wheel, shaking it, sunshine and shadows filtering through the driver’s side window as his knuckles popped. A rueful smile popped across his lips, and he grinned at me during the course of a conversation I no¬†longer remember.

Then his right hand, the one nearest me… he lifted and shook it too. Nothing happened.

Then, he punched it on his thigh, abruptly, suddenly.

He punched his thigh.

Even as he relaxed and sighed in relief as his knuckles cracked, I found myself taut as a guitar string. Staring straight out the window, I breathed carefully as he continued driving, oblivious.

I am safe.

He’s not angry.

He won’t hurt me.

But these are things I said of my ex, too. So there is some discord in my body, trying to decide to believe the things I am telling it. Or not.

Logically РGuy has never done anything to intentionally make me feel unsafe. Quite the opposite, he tries so hard to make things work and make me comfortable.

I don’t want him to walk on eggshells, like I once had to. I say nothing, but I felt the quiet paralyzing my mind and limiting my words as a part of me shut down.

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Numb. Because life isn’t Complicated Enough.

Most people, when they see rolling hills and wide grassy expanses feel a sense of joy and relief in the beauty of the world. In reality, I can entirely relate to this and even crave the peace and quiet and regenerative qualities of the great outdoors.

Yet, with anxiety, the emotional counterpoint of those rolling green hills takes a darker turn. Beneath that beauty, lies a minefield, and if I’m to function, I have to find a way to cross it.

Fun! (Not.)

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Nightmares

Despair greeted me when I awoke this morning, opening my eyes to the light pouring in the window. My heart pounded, and it took a little time to place the objects in my room.

No ex.

None of his things.

None of the rooms present in my dreams.

Although I immediately relaxed from that state of near panic, I’ve been on edge all day. For a few moments, I thought everything of these past 18 months had been but a dream. In it’s place, the actual dream placed me back with my ex. The location, however, was the house I grew up in. We had his niece staying with us, roughly 9 years in my dream, and another teenage girl. I returned home from work, and found them both uneasy. The older girl was supposed to stay with us, but had called to be picked up, even though it would take a few hours.

We all moved on eggshells. Me, as I didn’t want to subject the younger girls to my ex’s verbal diatribes. I don’t recall what happened next, but my ex followed me about the circular house, screaming his anger at me.

I eventually turned around, and stood up for myself. At the least, yelling back that it was not alright for him to treat me in that manner. His response was to become sulky-angry, and he stormed off to hide in the office.

The older girl went out the front door to wait outside for her ride. The niece looked at me with wide eyes, and I heard from her that my ex had been vocalizing this kind of anger while I was gone. I started gathering things, and quietly told the girl that if my ex came out of my room to just go out to the car. She wanted her things first, but unfortunately they were in the office where my ex was.

I went to try and retrieve them, and my ex opened the door when I got there, staring at me with his cold death stare and a freezing anger. The kind of anger that led to things breaking, while I held my breath and wondered if, this time, I would be next.

That is when I awoke.

I have been trying to shake that dream off all day, with little luck. I can’t focus. Can’t study. So I decided to write it down. Try and put it into words in an effort to dump it from my mind.

I am safe.

I am out.

He can’t reach me now.

I just wish my nervous system would get the memo.

Insecurity, lurking around every corner

Nothing brings your emotions to light quite like the enforced seclusion of¬†keeping germs to myself. Each night this week I’ve lurched home, dropped my things on the nearest flat surface, and found a corner to coil up in. It’s left me surprisingly little human contact,¬†and allowed my mind far too much¬†space for rampant play.

My rapid forward progress in the healing process was bound to hit a few little roadblocks on the way.

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“I get knocked down, but I get up again…”

I’m all better now.

THUMP. Hard to see the sunny, blue skies when my nose keeps ending up pressed to the pavement.

Ok, made it past that hurdle. Life is great! It’s awesome!

Can I just hide in bed for today?

Found my silver linings, it’ll all work out.

Oops. Hi there floor, haven’t seen you in a few days.

And so on, and so forth. Overall life is doing great. I’m slowly whittling down the piles of bills. Been seeing Guy (after this many months, calling him ‘New Guy’ doesn’t seem quite appropriate). Finalized my readmission for returning to school in April. Have an interview for an awesome job that would be suitable for the next stage of my career – that is next Wednesday (the wheels of bureaucracy have never spun so smoothly).

I can’t decide if my anxiety is cropping up now that I have the mental space to pay more attention to it, or because my PTSD is trying to warn me that¬†THE OTHER SHOE IS GOING TO DROP, GET OUT OF THE WAY STAT, IT’S PAST TIME FOR MORE SCARY SHIT TO HAPPEN ALREADY!¬†Or even, perhaps, I just have no idea what to do with all the good things in my life. I feel like I’m missing something, some monster¬†that is stalking¬†so close behind me that I can’t see it no matter how quickly I try to turn and catch a glimpse of it.

Oh, right. That’s essentially what anxiety is, isn’t it? Continue reading

Through the storm

“His lawyer needs to see this.”

My attorney’s voice sounded tinny on the other side of the phone, and my sudden fierce determination not to be bullied seemed to have revitalized her after dealing with an obnoxiously resistant other lawyer and my ex.

After months of waiting for the other side to get their act and documents and time together, our attorneys had finally met. Hashed out a few details. And promptly improperly mathed the retirement funds of my Ex as they related to our 50/50 split. Having only had the documents for a handful of moments before they discussed, it was not until she was writing up a suggested final papers that my lawyer recognized the difficulties.

His lawyer seemed annoyed at the discovery, and reluctant to even deal with my ex. Having been married to the man for nearly a decade, I can’t say I didn’t blame him.

“He is going to go Ballistic.” Came the immediate reply. “I already told him he was out for no more money.”
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Darkest before the Dawn

My morning alarm is not the incessant, constantly ‘sleep’-ed one that emerges from my phone in the dim hours of a gray morning. No, it is the heavy, erratic beat of my heart, chastening me to vigilance.

Fight.

Flight.

Fight.

Flight.

Yet there is nothing in the room besides a laundry strewn futon. Except, perhaps, the docile and innocent purring of the feline who had attempted to crown me with a hairball in the middle of the night. The only comfort was the pressure of her slight weight behind my knees, the warmth of the memory foam hugging me from below and the blankets I nested in. To emerge into the cold air seemed to risk that incessant beating of heart to rise to a decibel all others in the house might hear; maybe even rising to a decibel that might attract the very fears that have been haunting me for nearly two weeks. Continue reading

Work In Progress

There is that moment, when crocheting, or knitting, that you look down at your work, and notice something wrong. Sometimes you’re almost to the very end. Maybe you keep going, hoping you can adjust for the mistake. But after a time, you realize the project and pattern have become so distorted, it isn’t anything that resembles what you hoped.

So you have to make a choice. Do you keep going, knowing the flaw is there? Do you pull out the stitches until you get back to the error? Continue reading

Echoes

He means the words to get to me. Some friends are more forthcoming than others about what is said. A few remain on his friends list just to keep an eye on him. I need to figure out a tactful way to halt this occasional flow.

Perhaps it is, simply, honesty that I need to offer. Continue reading

Fits and Starts

“When was the last time you didn’t have to worry about your ex acting out?”

“Oh, a few years. A¬†while. Probably since the first time I called the cops.”

“How long exactly? When were you last able to be truly easy and relaxed without fearing something could go wrong? When you didn’t try to walk on eggshells, or realize you needed to.”

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A breath in which to grieve and ramble

Three separate addresses in the last five months, met with a new counselor, a new doctor, living a new life balancing open dialogue with consideration for what may be TMI. Revisiting old struggles, living with my family again, matters I never quite dealt with before.

This last weekend, I stringently protected my time, I made no plans, I gave¬†a gentle “no” to each person seeking my time. I slept. I watched mindless shows on Netflix. I struggled to tap into the place where my words and stories come from, and though it was mostly unsuccessful, it was a start.

Saturday night, late – the pent up emotions released. Signing the final sale documents on our home¬†was about as hard as signing the original documents to begin the process of my divorce. Is it strange I’m grieving the loss of my home so much more than the loss of my marriage? Even if I am alone for the rest of my life, I am already so much more peaceful than I have been over the past few years. Yet I still miss owning my own place, having the freedom to design and decorate as I want. Having something of mine. It is frustrating having to reintegrate pets again, after spending the last five months struggling to integrate them the first time. They aren’t handling the change particularly well either.

That said, my room is about twice the size as it was before, and I have a walk-in closet. Which means I have enough space to have my books all about me, and I am so very eager to have them around again. The companions of so many years. I regret my Ex’s¬†needling me to constantly cull down, and that I got rid of so many.

Bills are now reasonable enough for me to manage on my own, even if my Ex continues to forgo any contributions. I am trusting that the lawyers will make all equal. I want no more, and no less, than my share. My counselor is encouraging me in this, though she says normally she encourages people to back off.

I’m tired of being a doormat, tired of falling back to always taking up the smallest footprint possible so as not to disturb everyone else. Yet it is so uncomfortable, to try and make myself heard. Anxiety builds whenever I have to give people a response I don’t think they want or will like. I suppose most of that is from dealing with my ex over the years, his rages could be so unpredictable.

I miss the man he could have been, and not the man he chose to be.

It feels wrong that I should spare any feelings for him at all. Even now I still have a hard time holding on to any anger. There is more just a sense of sadness, of disappointment.

Anyhow, enough ramblings for now…