Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog. I am back from my “unscheduled flight.” It was an interesting flight, a little bumpy here and there, a bunch of turbulence, but we have made it, and are back.
And, I am glad to be back. Like always, it will take time for me to get back into the swing of things, but, I am use to that, have been here before and know that self-care and self-compassion are just as important now, as when I was waiting for the flight out of “The Land of Discombobulating.”
It was a bit of a rough landing. Putting it mildly, learning to live in my new skin without dissociating is a challenge. It’s a skill, that will take time, and I know I will have up’s and downs along this journey.
In the past if I got irritated, the room was too loud, or I was angry etc., all I would have to do is look to the left and I would be gone. I would zone out, dissociate and another persona would come forward and deal with that situation. While this was a great coping mechanism to help deal with overwhelming circumstances, it was interfering with my quality of life. In time I learned to notice the switching, and now I am at a point where I am no longer dissociating. This is a new chapter in my life, and with each new chapter, comes a huge learning curve and new challenges.
I am now learning to deal with irritability, grumpiness, anxiety, noise etc. As I told my family Dr. “I assume when you were 4 years old and having emotions you started to learn to deal with them, and the ups and downs and challenges of daily life. Well, you’re 52 years ahead of me on this, as I am just starting to learn to do that now”.
As I have said before, the only analogy I can think of is someone who has been using drugs/alcohol to numb themselves for 50 years. And, now for the 1st time in their life, they are no longer using these substances and the world is so much louder, harsher etc. It’s not that the world has changed, it’s that I am no longer numbing the world out. For the first time in 52 years there are no barriers between me and the rest of the world. And while I find it challenging I find it fascinating.
A few weeks ago, we had one of the very few days of rain here. I went for my morning walk in the rain and I loved it. It was not cold out, and I could feel the rain hitting my skin. I have felt this before, but not to this extent. I could feel the rain on my skin like never before, because I was fully present, without numbing and there were no barriers between me and the world. It was amazing. I could feel when the rain hit my skin, feel it run down my skin and change temperature as it did so. This was being truly and fully in the present. It was lovely. I now notice that each bird has a different song, that there are many shades of grey, in the grey sky, the many shades of green in the garden, etc. It is like a whole new world that I am discovering.
I also notice more noise, and those pesky emotions. This is a challenge for me. To feel and stay with the complexities of not just feeling these emotions but feeling more than one at the same time. At times, I very much feel like a toddler trying to deal with the complexities of the world, and yes, at times I feel like having my very own, personal temper tantrum!
So, as you can see, living without dissociating is a challenge, but it has its many rewards. This journey, like life, has its up’s and downs, good and not so good. And, I need to remember that yes, believe it or not, I am human, and I have made, and will make mistakes. But, it can be a good life.
When I returned from my “unscheduled flight” from “The Land of Discombobulating” there was a surprise waiting for me. An e-mail from an organization called F.O.R.C.E. http://www.forcesociety.com/ looking for parents who might be interested in attending the “Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Congress.” I didn’t know if I was the type of person they were looking for, but thought, “all they can do is say no thanks.” So I applied and am thrilled that I will be attending. The congress is in Kelowna, which means another unscheduled flight, but I am thrilled about this one. I leave here on Sunday morning and get back Wednesday night. I am looking forward to connecting with others who believe we need to talk and educate about mental illness, to learn more and be inspired.
And, as always, I am amazed at what the universe has placed at my door step.
As I sit here writing at my favorite coffee shop, The Rocky Mountain Cafe, I think back on this journey of mine, the hard work, dark times, journeys to the depths of my soul and all the loving and supportive people in my life. And once again, am amazed at how you never know what is around the corner. I am glad I never gave up, and look forward to this next chapter of my life.
It’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be interesting, and I have a feeling, it is going to be anything but boring.
Those are my thoughts for today. I wish you all well in your journeys, and encourage you to keep on going, because, like me, you never know what is around the corner.
Cheers and be well