recovery is hard and it can feel at times like you’re going backwards or not moving at all, but plateaus and chasms are part of the journey too.
remember to reconnect with your intentions whenever you feel like you are slipping.
trust yourself. trust the process. trust that you are exactly where you need to be, and you will get to where you are going.
I had a CAPS appointment today. It was odd because as I was walking out my door I had to stop and try to remember why I made the appointment in the first place. It was only last week but it feels so long ago. I had a day where I just could not stop crying and I felt more hopeless than I have in a long time. And the next day it was gone. Before I even got to understand where it came from. I tried to explain all this to Edward – how things are okay one second and bad the next and I can never remember any of it and everything feels so temporal and I feel so restless and like I’ll never find peace. It can be so frustrating sometimes because most psychologist’s responses have been to try methods that don’t seem to help – things that only make me dissociate or avoid emotion even more. He suggested things like distracting myself when I feel an intense emotion. But to me that just seems like avoidance. I want to actually feel the intense emotion. I want to feel connected to my experiences and my feelings but it’s so hard to do that without shutting down.
I started the trauma recovery program yesterday, and hopefully that will mean some steps forward. I’m tired of feeling like I’m walking in quicksand.
intentions for the next few weeks
* make a cup of matcha and drink it all before it goes cold
* make a healthy dinner every night
* take iron tablets
* stretch every day. do your best to meditate, not because it’s on some ~intention list~ but because you know it’s good for you and your mind
* stay in tune with your body and know your limits. rest when you need to. grind when you can.
*put the hard work into therapy and resolving wounds
* write things that aren’t poetry -> difference between writing about feelings and feeling them
retraining myself to see dissociation as a response to stress and not a cause or state in and of itself
thoughts -> recognise and observe movement. shift unhelpful narratives
emotions -> locate root and validate. feel then let go.
behaviours -> be aware and mindful. hold self accountable
Went to therapy today and made a few important discoveries. then proceeded to dissociate. It’s hard to articulate. Essentially I realised that my detachment and dissociation is not a sign of my inability to feel or the inaccessibility of emotions/thoughts – it is just subconscious avoidance behaviour. I knew this in some capacity, but I think for a long time I believed that it was impossible for me to get beyond the detachment. At the end of the day, it is just a dysfunctional coping mechanism. I need to start truly believing that it is not an inherent part of who I am and it is something I can deconstruct, process and move through. I am capable.
Therapy has been really challenging but also really productive. I made another discovery in our third session yesterday about my attachment to my trauma. I identify really heavily with my trauma narrative because it’s the only thing I’ve known for such a long time and a part of me is frightened about who I’ll be without it. I spoke to my psychologist yesterday about my fear that she’ll ‘fix me’ – I guess the uncertainty about the end is what frightens me. I also realised I’m not as adept at separating ‘me’ from ‘anxious thoughts’ as I thought I was. When we were speaking about health anxiety I believed the anxious narrative (I am unwell, I am dying, no one can help) so strongly I didn’t even realise that it was the anxiety speaking. I’ve still got a long way to go.
I did an imaginal reliving in therapy earlier this week. It was really tough. I remembered some details I haven’t thought about in years – about how I was thinking about what life without Ben would be like. I knew I’d be a little more fragile throughout the week, because we’re sorta opening the floodgates – which is good and necessary but it feels shitty when you’re in the middle of it. I’m not sure if I’m just using this as an excuse to not hold myself accountable for a while.
recovery is hard.
I’ve been staying up past midnight and waking up around midday. Things have been a bit intense lately. I’m learning to locate a more solid distinction between self care and self sabotage. Trying to see self care as also holding myself accountable for my unhealthy behaviours and not allowing myself to indulge in them. I’m tired – but this was always going to be tough and it’s okay to recognise that. I’m going through a very painful period of growth right now and challenging a lot of difficult thoughts. But it will all be worth it in the end. I just have to hold onto that – it will be worth it, and you won’t feel like this forever, I promise.
I’ve been having these recurring dreams about a quasi-King Street and a quasi-apartment. They don’t always look the same, but they’ve always got that same feel and sense of abstract certainty that only appears in dreamscapes. In my dream last night there was some sort of fire or emergency which meant we had to leave and find a new home. Now that I’m writing this, I’ve realised it was probably influenced by One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez. So we were trying to leave in a hurry and I was trying to pack as many things as I could think of, clothes to help keep me warm (tracksuit pants and a denim jacket because my fur jacket would take up too much space), sentimental things, medical supplies. I ended up with three big bags that were so heavy and every time I tried to leave I’d remember something that was so crucial I felt I couldn’t leave without it. My bags were so heavy and we walked for so long. When we got closer to our new home it felt oddly like country France. Abandoned terraces that we couldn’t travel past. So we settled there and I just remember feeling so empty because other people had brought things with them that I had overlooked, and the only thing I wanted was to go back and get them. I think the key message here is that I’m holding onto things I don’t need to, and this is making me unhappy. I’m carrying unnecessary emotional baggage into a new era. Non-attachment has always been something I find myself having to relearn. Always something I have to come back to.
some ground rules.
for when you don’t want to eat:
– don’t worry about hunger, think about nourishment
– heat up left overs or an easy meal
– order uber eats – it is better to spend a bit of money than to skip dinner
for when you don’t want to get out of bed:
– ease into it
– give yourself 5 mins to roll around
– visualise your day
– roll outta bed and stretch
for when you start to dissociate:
– identify the trigger
– think of other possible distractions (replacement behaviours)
– do something grounding (speak to a friend, write, exercise)
– meditate if you can
* remember that you are doing this for YOU. You deserve to feel good. Sometimes this may involve accepting and not resisting difficult emotions. Know that this is best for you in the long run
Had therapy yesterday and was reminded of the importance of keeping myself accountable and motivated towards long term goals. Quite often I can be too lenient towards myself and slip back into unproductive coping mechanisms because it’s easier in the moment.
Something I reposted on my instagram last night:
“The healing process is ugly as hell. It’s not bubble baths and aromatherapy. It’s accountability which brings guilt. It’s getting to the roots of your issues which is triggering and intense. Processing trauma often means you have to relive it which isn’t easy but it’s worth it”
I think that pretty much sums up where I’m at at the moment. It’s hard to balance processing the past with living in the present. I’m tired most days. I still feel quite lost and confused. But I also feel a deep sense of purpose within this all. And I think that’s what I need to tether me to my ‘gentle commitment’. I need to keep the end goal in mind and keep showing up for myself. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when I feel like it’s impossible and failure is inevitable. These are all narratives I don’t need to believe. I just need to throw myself fully into the process and trust that it is working. Substantial growth is always painful. We suffer through it for the happiness of our future selves.
11:20 pm 24.10.18
Was feeling emotionally vulnerable and a bit overwhelmed so I did an imaginal reliving to try and use that energy and it was so intense. At one point I just let go of the narrative and let the emotions take over. I was crying so hard the muscles in my face hurt. I stood up after, washed my face and felt so spaced out and tingly. Did my stretches and then called Emma. She told me she was proud of me. It’s hard emotional work and it’s tiring and it’s difficult and I’m so proud of myself for continually proving that I can survive it.
just had a super intense therapy session and now i’m sitting in the dog park to reground myself. i’ve been tired lately, i don’t think i’m eating properly, had two coffee’s before we started. i was already out of it. we focussed on physical sensations and how they can make me anticipate or slip into dissociation. we did things to bring on those physical symptoms. it was one of those dull, empty dissociations where i wasn’t really thinking. wasn’t really feeling. it was all sensation and i didn’t know how to articulate it. she’d say things i’d forget the second they left her mouth. and it just kept pressing me down and my head hurt and i wanted to cry. didn’t know what got me feeling this way and that was kinda the point. sometimes there are no explanations for the way you feel. write so often about accepting things as they are but it’s so fucking difficult when ‘the way things are’ makes me feel unreal. and what am i supposed to do? i don’t know how to not spiral. i know i make things worse but i don’t know how to stop. always easier said than done. i can think the things but i can’t make them true, no i can’t think myself out of this one. you’re telling me i just have to sit there and let things be this way when i would do any fucking thing to not have to feel this.
same cafe, different spot. the barista just called out,”hey emily are you having a flat white or a mocha today?” because i changed up my order. it feels so good to be a regular here and have a routine and a ‘drink’. just posted something on instagram about plant-sitting my monstera while i’m away. it only just hit me the other day that it’s actually ‘me’ that’s going overseas in a few weeks. i think i’ve avoided thinking about it because there are a lot of anxious and unhappy memories from the last time i was over there. and i’m just getting better now. and i’m scared i’m gonna go into the cold and the dark and lose it all. but that’s just anxiety about anxiety and it’s not helpful and it’s not accurate and it’s not dictating anything. truth is i don’t know what’s going to happen when i get there and i’ll just have to deal with it then.
as i was walking to campos i was thinking about how i would likely write about this time in my life being a ‘new beginning’ or a ‘fresh start’ and how these conceptions of me are just fallacious and lies we tell ourselves. i got stuck in the middle of the year thinking that i was going through a period of ‘false starts’. i was frustrated that i couldn’t make things feel new. and i think that’s because it wasn’t new. every second bleeds into the next and any sort of distinction or chronology is just an imposition of how we think things should be. we think of our lives through a narrative lens but in reality things are messy and there are no clear cut beginnings or ends. i guess what i’m trying to say is that i want to stop spending so much time trying to ‘reset’ or start a ‘clean slate’ because all those things are just bringing you back to how you felt in the past and you’ll start to believe that this is how you should feel now. that this is the only way you should feel.
you feel busy and overwhelmed when you’re not being mindful. but you don’t need to erase these experiences. you just need to fall into the present moment and go from wherever you are.
you don’t need a new journal, a new year, a ‘new’ anything. you just take what you have and you go with it. you start from wherever you are because truthfully that’s all you can do. and hopefully, one day, piece by piece it’ll begin to fall together. but you don’t need to wait for that. we’re not waiting for anything these days because it all happens now.