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!

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.