#TBT: Growth and Healing

Resuming my writing habit has been an exercise in consistency. I write Morning Pages (750 words of brain drain) to clear my head. Then I draft marketing copy, newsletter content, and blog posts. In exploring possible topics and digging through my own past posts, I am reminded that this habit is also therapeutic.

To let you in my head for a moment (please disregard the clamoring committee), hoping to come up with a topic, I listed single word questions: Snow? Weather? Speaking? Manifestation? Tattoos? (I went with my son’s girlfriend to get a tattoo today. She did. Not me.)

Then I wished I had begun the publishing calendar that I had planned to start a week ago. This brought to mind the process I would use, part of which was superimposing various calendars so I could see the relevant events that would guide my writing throughout the year.

Then I mentally scaled down,  and remembered my own mobile photography on Monday and Wisdom Wednesday. I continued down this train of thought to the Social Media Days of the Week and Throwback Thursday in particular. Then my mind jumped to “roundup.”

Well, this is not a true roundup, but more of a ThrowBackThursday of my own past blog posts. I chose these three posts because they remind me how much I’ve grown and healed over the past three years. As I read them, I realized how grateful I am to be where I am today.

I will spare you lengthy introductions and simply guide you down my recent path…

Three years ago: The Dark Side

Two years ago: PTSD and Depression

One year ago: Keep Getting Up

Keep Getting Up

IMG_3718 (1)At a coaching luncheon I attended a couple of months ago, the speaker discussed storytelling as a coaching technique. I found a particular exercise he facilitated of great benefit to me, personally. We wrote about our lives, eventually condensing our life story down to six words. Upon completion, we meandered around the room, each of us silently holding up our story on an index card. The stories I read touched me, and the expressions on others’ faces told me that I conveyed my own story well.

Mine read, “Got knocked down. Kept getting up.”

Two years ago today, I got out of bed, meditated, and bounced on my rebounder for an hour. I taught 7th graders math all day, then attended a faculty meeting after school. A fellow teacher reminded me of something I said as we packed up our belongings to go home after that meeting.

“This job is killing me.”

As I left the building that afternoon, the trajectory of my life drastically changed. Without going into a lot of detail surrounding the accident and subsequent physical recovery, I am happy to say I survived.

The psychological fallout is another story. I admit, I didn’t understand why people with PTSD hung on to it. Living with it now, my experience is that PTSD shows up, often uninvited. I don’t think I am aware of the anniversary of the incident, yet my body reminds me. The nightmares start up again. Hypervigilance creeps back into my psyche. Then I am looking up something on the calendar, and BOOM! No wonder! It’s almost November 5th.

So back to my life story… Just as that chapter came to resolution, the surprise twist jerked me back into chaos.

Divorce.

Again.

Many dark days followed. Then I remembered…

Get up.

Get the hell up!

Now!

So I got up.

I moved into an apartment with my son. I found a tutoring student… and another… and another. I resolved not to run to the false sense of security provided by a job that would kill me, kill my spirit. I refuse to allow my business plan to die because the circumstances of my life changed. So I only take work that will support me as I grow my coaching practice.

MaryS- Logo Concept 1

I joined my local professional coaching organization. In twelve weeks,
I authored my first non-fiction book, which I am now editing. A digital artist took my concept and created a logo for my business, and because she wanted to use it in her portfolio, it cost me nothing. A budding photographer did headshots for me.

Slowly but surely, I move forward.

Not only am I taking care of business, I am also taking care of my soul. I am continuing my practitioner classes at my spiritual center. I am singing again and writing lyrics. I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. And Tuesdays are blocked off for my grandbabies. Life is good.

Am I going to have more difficult times? Maybe.

Am I going to get knocked down again? Probably.

Am I going to keep getting up? No doubt about it!

I’m Baa… aack!

It’s funny how quickly things can change.  August 21st I wrote my last blog post until tonight.  I had only missed a few days of posting in 8 months and then, one day, I stopped.

I don’t quite know why. I just did.

So here it is, more than 2 months later, and I begin… again.

A lot has happened since my last post, and I will get to all of it soon enough.  I have been doing a lot of writing, although it hasn’t been here.  I am writing a Newsletter, doing some copy writing, and am embarking on a creative writing endeavor as well.  In addition, I am journaling (partly for a book study I am leading, and partly as a component of my PTSD treatment).

I am not going back to my hard-core commitment to post every day, simply because I am doing so much writing.  Ironically, I may just become habituated to daily posting anyway.  I do miss the phoneography challenge in which I participated on Mondays, as well as my Wisdom Wednesday quotes.  So, who knows…?  I just know that I have missed my diary-gone-public.

And I’m baa… aack!

Back to School

I was just thinking about how odd it feels, shopping for school supplies and school clothes for my children, and not going back to school myself. It is the first time in 15 years that I did not shop for my own classroom in August. My son will begin 6th grade on Monday, and I will continue my recovery.

Out of Hiding

My counselor gave me a journaling assignment today.  She asked me if I had ever journaled and I told her that I write every day.  Although it isn’t technically a journal, this blog often serves the same purpose.  It lets me get my thoughts out of my head where I can then look at them from another perspective.  

As I was driving home, I thought about all the writing I have been doing since I made my writing agreement for this year.  I committed to beginning a larger writing project as a result of a class I am taking at my church.  I am also doing some copywriting and have been asked to do some guest blogging.  

I have always loved writing and have done lots of it over the years.  The primary difference in the writing I did back then and the writing I am doing now, is that much of the writing I am doing now is out there for the world to see.  I would not let others read my writing even up until this year.  

On one hand, writing publicly is intimidating.  On the other hand, it is very freeing.  In a way, I feel like I have come out of hiding.  

Now I must go begin an outline that I committed to draft, work on my journal entry, and begin drafting a blog post for another site… and I’m happy about this!     

Renewed Spirit

It has been a rough week for me.  I have struggled with my anxiety and depression.  Both have won much of the time.  Today, however, the pattern seems to be broken — or at least blurred.  

It was difficult to get out of bed, but once I did things improved.  I showered and got ready to attend my granddaughter’s baby dedication.  After the church service, a large group of family and friends went out for lunch.  At the restaurant, I sat beside my granddaughter, who is always a great source of entertainment.  

After a leisurely lunch, my husband and I made a few stops to look for some bolts he needed for a truck repair he is doing.  Along the way, we stopped at a convenience store for a drink.  Now, I know this sounds as exciting as watching paint dry, but for me it was renewal.  My spirits have been so low, that simply being out with other people made me feel better.  

So I am heading into the week with this renewed spirit.  It is my intention to hold onto it as long as I possibly can.      

Solitaire

I’ve been really “stuck” the past few days. When I am in this mode, I play a lot of Solitaire.  It gives my mind something to do that doesn’t require any emotional involvement.  So tonight, rather than spending a lot of time thinking about my blog topic, I am going to go play Solitaire.  Maybe tomorrow I will be “unstuck.”  

PTSD and Depression

I have avoided publishing this post for many reasons, but I have decided to do it now because I simply have to get it off my chest.  Since my accident back in November, I have struggled with Acute Anxiety Disorder, nightmares, and was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.  

Of course, this is not who I am, but it has certainly touched everything in my life.   I have to honestly admit that I was judgmental of the people in a trauma class I took.  Many of them had been injured many years ago and are still struggling with the aftermath.  Now that I have experienced a few setbacks, I understand.  

PTSD symptoms can rear their ugly heads when you least expect it.  My psychiatrist explained that the disorder improves in a saw tooth fashion — you make some improvement, then have a setback, followed by more improvement.  The hope is that you are always moving a little farther ahead.  

As I write this post, I am in the middle of a setback.  I am unable to sleep well or eat much.  Because I cannot sleep, I am exhausted during the day and often have to lie down — sometimes for hours.  I have a constant feeling of general uneasiness, like butterflies in my stomach.  Sometimes I have tremors.  Things that I have to deal with emotionally are exponentially harder to handle.  I cry a lot, often at inopportune times.  Sometimes, I am gripped by fear in irrational ways.  What keeps me going, is the support I have had from loved ones and knowing that if I wait out the storm, it always gets better.    

Incidentally, blogging has been therapeutic for me.  Being able to talk about what I am going through has aided my recovery.  I was surprised when I posted The Dark Side, what a positive response I got.  I realized it was because telling the truth, instead of pretending everything is okay, often connects people who have had similar experiences and benefits us both.  I know that most of my future posts will generally be more positive than this one, and I needed to tell my truth.  If you have any experiences you’d like to share, I’d like to hear them.      

 

    

The Dark Side

When someone sees me and says, “You’re getting around so well!” I must confess that, although I know they are celebrating my progress, there is a part of me that gets angry.  I generally smile, and say “thanks,” but I am often thinking about the price that getting around costs me.  It is painful and exhausting.

I used to tell myself that I was selfish for feeling this way.  Then my counselor told me that part of why my anxiety has become so powerful is because I am not allowing myself to simply feel what I am feeling without judging myself, hence my decision to be more “transparent” here.

Every morning I wake up and struggle to get out of bed.  I attend physical therapy 3 days a week.  Some of those days I am in a lot of pain before I get there.  Other days, the pain is a result of the therapy.  If I feel good and my pain is minimal, more pain will come later as a result of doing too much (which might be as little as a trip to the grocery store).

As I read my writing, I realize it seems I am ungrateful for my ability to walk.  Then I feel guilty, and the cycle begins.  But my purpose for writing this is to be honest, so I have to admit that I am pissed.

I am pissed that the Color Run is this weekend, and I cannot participate.  I am pissed because I used to walk or run for an hour every morning and I cannot do that either.  I am pissed because I have a trampoline that I can’t use.  I am pissed because it hurts to walk for more than a few minutes.  I’m pissed because the people in my arthritis H20 class are 20 to 30 years older than I am and can kick my butt.  I’m pissed because I can’t ride my bicycle, much less my motorcycle.  And I’m pissed because I’m pissed.

I have always been able to see the bright side of things.  I certainly see the bright side here as well, but the dark side is impossible to ignore.  Yes, I can walk, but my hips won’t rotate correctly, so my hips, legs, and back hurt.  Yes, I can get around, but I can’t Zumba or do any of the other fun physical activities I love so much.  Yes, I survived, but there are constant reminders of the trauma and I wear many of them.