I chose to not drink last night. I didn’t go out. I didn’t stuff my face or whip up an Insta-worthy plate of food. I was asleep by 10 and woke up late this morning. No first day hikes, no getting outside, no parade watching.

I didn’t fear missing out.

I didn’t fear not being enough or not being seen or not having fun or properly celebrating or sending messages to all of my friends at midnight.

For everyone who was so glad to do all or any of that last night and who experienced true enjoyment, that makes me happy. It wasn’t going to do that for me, so I tossed aside the expectations that can be crushing for me and fell asleep despite the constant explosion of fireworks in the neighborhood.

It was good to rest. I think I’ll keep doing that today. I need it.

Working with PTSD

This week has been a much-needed week off. My clients are quiet and celebrating holidays, the one call I’ve gotten I didn’t answer nor did I return the voicemail as I’d previously sent notification that my office was closed. I love what I do, but doing it with PTSD is a constant challenge.

This year has been an exhausting series of challenges, and as I’ve navigated them I’ve begun to learn how to successfully work with PTSD. I spent a lot of the summer and fall in bed or at home trying to cope, trying to heal and trying to push through to a place that is…workable.

As I’ve transitioned out of October and all of the trauma memories that came with it, I’ve started to get some creativity and motivation back. I’ve been off meds for a year now, and it took a long time for me to adjust. I’m adjusted now though, I think, and there’s a lot to look forward to this year. And a lot of working with PTSD.

Nursing Spiderman

Well the last week of the year isn’t going as planned…

My boyfriend’s spider bite from about two months ago turned into a serious infection on Christmas Eve, and for the last couple of days I’ve been keeping an eye on him and changing bandages while he deals with the side effects of heavy antibiotics.

PSA: Keep an eye on your insect/arachnid bites! Or they might come back to bite you…

I had some plans to review work, run around the great outdoors and have some fun, but that’s now looking like housekeeping and medication reminders. Sliding into the end of the year like…something. But we caught it fast enough and this is a lot better than a minor surgery or a hospital stay, and the time together has been good. I forgot to do yoga today but have otherwise kept to my 1% goals, which is a bit new for me as I tend to toss everything aside when I’m not at home. Seeing that I can keep up with my self-care is good!

The unexpected part of this is the flashbacks I’ve had to when my brother was in the hospital following his work accident and caring for him at home after. I don’t normally experience flashbacks, which is part of why it took a bit for me to be diagnosed with PTSD. Even before I went through EMDR I didn’t have flashbacks that I could identify as such at the time – unwanted mental images related to or caused by trauma. There was a lot I couldn’t stop thinking about, but it didn’t seem like a flashback. I’ve had clear flashbacks from medical care/wound care, which was a bit upsetting.

I’m grateful, however, that they are coming at a time that I’ve had a lot of practice with noticing how I feel and calming myself from a trigger. It wasn’t easy to deal with the images, but nor was it impossible or completely overwhelming or terrifying. I saw what it was, paused to breathe, thought through it and refocused my thoughts elsewhere – an intentional response that wouldn’t have been possible for me a year (or maybe even 6 months) ago.

I’m a little bit better.

Living with PTSD – Guided Meditation Update

I’m on my fifth day of guided meditation, a first for me. It’s a lot less intimidating for me than I thought it would be, and this morning I got a bit of a happy mental buzz.

The sessions are only about ten minutes long, and while I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new practice, I’m pleased to so quickly be able to enjoy the experience and see some benefits. I’m calmer today starting out than I expected – I had a few flashbacks last night – and it’s good.

I followed it up with breakfast tacos, because happy and calm makes for good breakfast!

For those interested, I’m listening to Aaptiv’s Everyday Meditation on Audible, which is free this month for subscribers.