What To Do When You’re at Your Limit and Life Keeps Pushing

I’ve been pushed to my limit so many times in the last few years, and have thought I would break more times than I can count. I honestly don’t know how I haven’t.

The hard thing about being pushed to or past our limit is that we often don’t know where the limit is. It may be further out or closer in, and we may know the limit of the boundaries we set, but this is more about life – unexpected, unasked for, traumatic circumstances and events – pushing us with no regard for our boundaries or limitations.

When we don’t know, there is uncertainty. PTSD can make uncertainty especially challenging, and our brains can rapidly sort through the files trying to fill in the blanks, and often coming up with information that is not positive or even terrifying.

Today is my only day of rest this month. My grandma is moving into a nursing home this week, and I am responsible for stewarding her belongings. I also have a series of public hearings, a high-pressure business deal, meetings for potential new projects, a lecture at a university and a draft of a paper due – all within the next week. My schedule isn’t going to slow down the week after, nor do I forsee it slowing down for the rest of the month, and the last few weeks have been just as packed. I’m having to toss aside some things that I just do not have the time or energy for.

I slept  in and slept hard this morning, and was planning to just stay in bed and listen to classic literature on Audible and have food delivered to me. I wasn’t going to even look at my phone, and today was for myself.

Then the text messages started coming for the business deal I’m working on, and back to work I went, coordinating document delivery timelines and establishing which backup documents will be needed.

For so long I have focused only on how close I might be to my edge and terrified of what happens if I go over, and I haven’t been able to look up to see what else is going on. I haven’t been able to acknowledge how hard I’ve worked to heal or enjoy the payoff of the mental battles that I’ve won so slowly and by such narrow margins. The tiny victories have become small victories, and the small victories have become strength while I wasn’t watching.

I’ve written a bit about how helpful yoga has been for me mentally, which also happened while I wasn’t watching. I don’t do anything very difficult on the yoga mat, and between my weight gain and the lack of strength and flexibility that have resulted from not addressing trauma in my body for so long, I certainly don’t plan to have a yoga Instagram anytime soon (or ever). I move along to Yoga with Adrienne videos, and her approach to teaching yoga was what helped me get started when I could barely even stand it. I still swear at the screen sometimes, but I’m getting better at going with it.

This morning I found something that in the past would have spawned a lot of jealousy on my part, but which this morning I found incredibly inspiring:


Not only can I not move like that now, I don’t think I ever will. And I was no less inspired by the dedication, courage and constant practice it takes to be able to move like that, to hold the poses and to stay focused. What a beautiful thing that she has practiced for, and what a beautiful outcome you can have from practice.

I am not overwhelmed by the weeks ahead of me, I’m focused on the practice that will get me through them, maybe this time not just barely managing to hold it together (which it what I’ve been telling myself it will be like) but using the strength that’s been slowly building. Also, sleep helps.

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