Step by Step version # 2794...

Step by Step version # 2794...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Gift Of Fog




Fog is amazing!!!! 

I find the fog fascinating, how it silently and gentle moves into place, covering everything with a misty blanket. It can refract the sunlight, swallow headlights, muffle and distort sound.  You can’t hold it, this light and fluffy water cotton candy, but it swallows anything in its path.

Fog  makes the invisible, visible! The fogs condensation clings to the threads of spider webs, creating hanging droplets of glass balls. With the fog comes cooler temperatures and one can see their breath, and while on a walk the other day I saw “duck prints” where a duck had walked across the dew covered grass. If the fog was not here, I would not have seen any of these.

For the last ten days my town has been covered in a very thick fog bank. Both the airport and harbor have been socked in causing havoc for people trying to get somewhere. Traffic  on the roads has been moving slower and if you have high beams on at night you can become disoriented. 

Sometimes the best thing to do when the fog arrives is to sit still and enjoy it and try not to get somewhere else!

I have also been visited by my own personal fog bank and could not see where I was going and this was causing me much anxiety. I was waking in the night,- when I did sleep- was cold and could not warm up, trembling, feeling discombobulated, mixing up days and all round feeling crappy. I knew the signs of my complex P.T.S.D. but could not figure out why it would be acting up. Life was good, I am safe, I completed my Outward Bound course, people were reading my blog- which still surprises me- and I was feeling pretty proud of these and other accomplishments. My mental health is the best it has ever been, so what was going on?  I was trying to figure this out, and like driving in the fog with your high beams on, I was disoriented and could not see where I was going.

I had therapy this week and my therapist encouraged me to sit " with my fog"and listen to the insides and see and feel what was going on, then it came to me. I was feeling proud, and this caused much anxiety.

You may say” Why should feeling proud of oneself cause anxiety?”

As those of you who read my blog living with D.I.D. is complex. 

When a child accomplishes something they feel proud of themselves. They are excited and want to tell people about what they have done, be it catch a ball, learn to read, ride a bike, etc. In a healthy family the child is allowed to tell the parents and others in their life, and accomplishments are shared by all and celebrated. This was not my family.

When I accomplished anything and felt proud, I would tell them, and for the most part I was shut down. Meaning I was told to quit bragging, or the famous “who do you think you are that anyone would want to know” etc. I learned at a very early age to keep my accomplishments to myself and would only tell a very select few, if any at all. 

Fast forward all these years later. This week in my therapist’s office, with her encouragement and support,  I sat in “my fog” and listened and what I heard surprised me. 

I learned that feeling proud of my accomplishments brought feelings of anxiety and shame.

I told you it was complex!!!!

I learned that when one feels proud, they also feel excited about that accomplishment and they are able to stay in the proud and excited mode. I can’t.

What happens to me is that when I feel proud, I feel excited about my accomplishments and then, because of my history, I go into anxiety and shame as the old baggage shows up. When I started to feel this anxiety and shame it brought back the old coping mechanism.  This showed up as being on hyper alert, looking for safety, being on guard for any danger, interrupted sleep etc., thus my symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a knee jerk reaction. But until I notice and address it, it will always be a knee jerk reaction and one of my default systems. Meaning that it will by-pass all the stuff I know, and go to that old pathway known as a “cognitive error.” 

So, I guess my next assignment- if I choose to take it- is to learn to be comfortable with feeling proud  and the excitement that comes along with it, and not go into that default zone of anxiety and shame.

Being in this fog has been a gift. By slowly exploring my inner fog, the invisible became visible.

Like in the real fog, it’s not always a good idea to start traveling around looking for something. The next time a personal fog bank shows up- and believe me it will- I will try to remember this past week, remember I am safe and strong, that my  boat  is securely moored  to the dock and to sit in the fog and listen. I’m sure I will once again be surprised at what it tells me. 

Those are my thoughts for today

I wish you all well and safety as your travel through your own fog

Cheers and be well

Suzy

4 comments:

  1. This is such a lovely analogy and one I can so easily relate to. I have been trying to move my fog all week ... time to sit with it :)


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  2. Thank you, I wish you the best with your sitting..sending you a warm sweater and hot chocolate..it can get cool sitting in the fog...:)

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  3. What a great description of the complexity of pride and shame - all woven together. I like the fog metaphor.

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  4. Thank you so very much..:)

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