Sometimes You Have to Release the Protectors

I didn’t have enough time to fully recover this weekend, and I expended a lot more energy than I could afford on Friday and Saturday. Usually that leads to severe PTSD symptoms for me, which can include anxiety, cognitive impairment, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping or getting quality sleep, loss of executive function (prioritizing and scheduling) and mild to moderate depression. I had all but the panic attacks today, and this morning I was really concerned about my financial position (a couple of clients have not paid their invoices), and about my work schedule for the week, which is pretty intense so that I can meet deadlines and give public presentations. This is a lot for me to handle when I’m not sufficiently rested, and while it can be a lot for anyone when not well rested, my experience is a lot more…exaggerated.

It’s like all positive feelings and experiences are dulled, and all negative experiences are amplified.

I needed to wear my boots today, the same boots that I had to tear off yesterday while driving, because I was on a project with a lot of nails and the leather keeps from accidental stabs to the foot. I also had to drive to a meeting in another town, I was dealing with cognitive impairment and I was not excited about this meeting anyway, but I needed to be on my game for it as there is quite a bit at stake on this project.

I was just not excited about today, is what I’m saying.

Some days you just can’t make the rational, calm part of your brain win. Sometimes the trauma wins and the being overwhelmed wins and the lack of options and resources and time to recover wins.

Then sometimes you decide not to quit, and sometimes you have the support you need (this is new for me, and I’m so grateful to my boyfriend for learning how to support me) to keep pushing, and sometimes you have the grit to push through the doubt and fear and trauma scars and show up to work. Sometimes you can decide to accept the support, and some days you can decide you are going to ask for what you need, even if it scares you, and sometimes you JUST. MAKE. IT. WORK.

Because you are the only one who can.

Build the relationships, accept the support, ask for what you need and take the time to work with yourself where you are to know how you can release the things that no longer serve you. It’s how I drive around without ditching my left boot today. I had to release the protective responses that my brain and body have used for so many years to protect me from harm. But a lot of those things no longer serve me, so as I sped along a rural highway I acknowledged and thanked the protective responses that have kept me alive but that are now holding me back and causing me problems.

It’s voodoo, and it’s weird. I didn’t believe my therapist when she told me that I might need to release some of my protective impulses, the ones that keep me isolated and shielded behind a layer of fat and make me resistant to driving and make me avoid people and crowds and resentful toward stressful situations. The impulses that keep me from embracing life and connection and happiness and satisfaction when I do something well or overcome a challenge – or drive with both boots on after I couldn’t do that for a day.

Thank you for what you’ve done for me, but I don’t need you anymore, and you can go. I’ll take it from here.

4 thoughts on “Sometimes You Have to Release the Protectors

    1. I was really surprised at how well that worked. I cannot afford to not be able to drive, so I am trying to use any tools I can remember, and I am so grateful that so far I am able to manage symptoms as well as I am.

      Liked by 1 person

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