This blog could potentially contain triggers. Please make sure you are emotionally safe before continuing.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Validation and Progress

So many things have happened in the last two weeks.  Unfortunately, much of it isn't my story to tell.  How do I share all the things in my heart without violating someone else's confidence?  Let me just say I had the opportunity to be with someone as they processed some difficult things.  Many of these things validated much of what I am struggling with.  And I got to validate the other person, too.

Many more memories are coming back.  As they come, they are sometimes too much to handle.  And yet, I can't seem to let them go.  They run around in my mind, playing hide and seek.  I can tell they are there but can't really lock down their meaning.  It's tough when my adult brain tries to make sense of things that happened to me as a child -- things that didn't make sense then.  So much of it doesn't make sense now either.

I have had the opportunity to work on my therapeutic assignment.  I have worked up several alternate coping strategies, some of which can be painful.  I don't know if they will fill the void and make it so I don't hurt myself but we'll see.  I typed them up because when I am in that place I can't seem to think straight; even though I had all these plans I can't remember what any of them were.  This way, I can read what they were and try some.  I will list some of them in a future post.

I also found something that helps to quiet my mind sometimes.  When something starts to bother me and I realize it's something I need to discuss in therapy, I write it down.  I have a file on my computer where I type random thoughts, memories, connections.  Once I write them down, knowing that they are there when I am ready to deal with them, I am able to let them go and move on.  It seems to free me from them temporarily.  Mostly.

I also connected with several people on facebook late at night.  I don't think it's necessary that I have someone I can vent to and process with, just someone to connect to.  (Although I do have both kinds.)  I have written up a list of these people as well, so I don't have to try to remember when I can't think.

And I was blessed with an anxiety attack irrelevent to any emotion or memory.  I say blessed because experiencing it without emotion or memory meant that I was just dealing with the physical symptoms.  I was able to test one of my coping mechanisms at a lower state of aggitation.

When I have a panic attack, when I get really tense and start to shut down, the first place I feel it is in my shoulders.  I feel like there are hands on my shoulders and I need to shake them off.  To get away.  Even without memory connected to it.  It happened this time as well.

I was tempted to scratch, but the temptation wasn't overwhelming.  I was able to think clearly enough to remind myself to try my new strategies. 

So I got out my hand weights.  I worked my arms, especially through my shoulders, until it hurt.  I pushed through the point that I thought I couldn't go on until they were almost numb.  And it helped.  I felt better.  The tension relaxed.  The pain remained long enough to get me through the tough moments.  It distracted me for a bit, changed my focus. 

I don't know if it will work for a full-blown meltdown, but it helped me get through that moment in a healthy way.  I got the chance to practice in a less intense moment.

And any time I make progress, I feel like I'm moving in the right direction.