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.