Yes, it has been a couple of months since my last blog here. Life has been busy, with its ups and downs but overall it’s been not too bad.
Last week, on Thursday Jan 28th, it was Bell Canada “Let’s Talk” day. http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/ there were messages and tweets flying through the air and lots of great dialogue and support around mental health and how we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental health. Needless to say, I was tweeting away like crazy, hoping to help and support others and get some discussions going.
So, now it’s time for me to give myself some attention and much needed self-care.
I didn't plan on this, but after all these years I have learned to go with the flow.
I know what is coming and what I need to do. It does not mean I have to like it, but it’s a much needed process.
In some aspects, winter is hard for me. I do love playing ringette with my amazing and supportive team, going for walks, having coffee with friends, and Christmas. But is also a time of year where I get flooded with flashbacks of past trauma, and it still amazes me how much energy it takes to deal with this stuff.
The last couple of weeks, things have really been ramping up, and I could feel some stuff coming to the surface. I have written about this process in some of my past blogs, it’s a rough ride, but it is also a much needed process for me.
This time last year I was in the St Joseph “Spa and Treatment center”- what I call the psychiatric unit at the local hospital. As I wrote it was a tough time, but also a time of deep work, that has allowed me to become a happier, healthier, more whole person.
I guess I was a little naive when I thought my work was done!
But a couple of weeks ago, the old familiar pattern started. The brain fog, irritability, body memories, nightmares, flashbacks etc.I was pissed off to say the least. I thought, “Shit, here we go again. I thought this crap was done with.”
I was getting angry and for a brief moment started to get into the “If I keep busy I will be fine mode” I’m glad to say that only lasted about 20 minutes. That in itself is progress.
These emotions are going to come up, weather I want to or not, and as I wrote in my journal this morning..”yes grasshopper, we have been through this before and we know we do ourselves more harm if we fight it. “
What I mean by this, is that if I fight my emotions, ignore the memories that are coming up, the only thing I'm doing is harming myself. I can stay as busy as I want, run from them as fast as I can, but in the end, they will catch up to me, and I will still need to process them, feel them, acknowledge them to lay them to rest and allow me to move on.
I do realize this is easier than done.
When I first started working on my stuff, I was so numb, I wouldn't know an emotion if it bit me on the nose. I had spent years protecting myself by not feeling anything. The very thought of feeling any emotion scared the crap out of me. I remember the countless sessions with my psychiatrist, the hours and hours we worked together, to help me feel an emotion.
Little by little I allowed myself to feel. It was hard work, it was gut wrenching work, but it was much needed work I needed to do if I was to move forward.
And, all those years later, here I am once again. But it’s different now.
I no longer need to numb myself from the emotions and memories. This has made my life so much easier.
Think of it as a dam. It does its job holding back the water and letting it out at a certain rate. Now add a huge rain and wind storm that goes for days and days. Because of the increased water levels and pressure, the dam needs to open up more to allow the extra water through. If this is not done, the dam will overflow, and it may break, either way, no one has any control of the water.
By no longer numbing out, I am able to notice the emotions sooner. I am able to feel when something is amiss and all is not well in the Land of Suzy. With this knowledge, I can put steps in so that the pressure does not become too great, and the dam does not overflow.
When these moments arise, I work at being very mindful and intentionally staying with my emotions. I let them come, and I let them go- which they will, be it anger, fear, sadness etc. Think of yourself on a surfboard and your emotions the waves. They – (emotions) - waves come at you, then they crest, then they leave, you are still floating on the top. Some waves may be bigger than others, you may fall off the board, but you will always rise to the top.
A couple of weeks ago when I noticed I was a little off kilter and disconnected I had a choice. I could use a ton of energy and run from this, and in the end I know it will catch up to me and I will still have to acknowledge and process this. Or, I could choose to be loving and kind to myself, stop what I was doing, and make space for the work that needs to be done. I have chosen the latter.
I did not go to my last ringette practice, I have not done a lot of other activities. I have pretty much cleared my calendar, pulled in my supports, and giving myself permission to rest. I figured I had better take my own advice and give myself a ton of self-care.
How long will this last? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will lovingly hold and support whatever emotions come up. I will not rush them or belittle them. I will honor them, make space for them and hold them close to my heart. These emotions and flashbacks are my story, I need to honor them, whatever they may be.
I don't know how long this process will last. I will light candles and do smudges for the duration, and feel what I need to feel. I know I am safe, I am loved and I am supported.
I do know one thing, it’s always an interesting journey.
Those are my thoughts for today
I wish you all well on your journeys
Cheers and be well