When you are forced to take a good look at what you’ve been doing to yourself for years, it is anything but comfortable. Knowing I was doing my best helps a little. Realizing what that best was up against is validating and heart wrenching.
I’ve always hated being treated as a damsel, unless I’ve decided I want to be the damsel, yet many seem to want to rescue me. This is something I love about my husband that other people criticize him for. He doesn’t rescue me unless I ask him to. And he usually has my back. I appreciate that he calls me out or challenges me. I’m easily bored and he’s definitely not boring.
This all means I’ve slowly stopped talking to people about what I’m going through. I can’t trust that I’ll get support instead of rescuing or ridicule. Except I need to talk to several people to sort out my thoughts and feelings. It’s part of why journaling was so crucial to my mental health for decades. Then I got too busy surviving the day to day. There wasn’t a lot of room for me.
It happens. I actually appreciate the departure and all the adventures along the way. As I begin to have more room for myself again, I’m discovering how much of that time has given me what I need to heal old traumas. How to hold space for others, while still having my own.
Sadly, I’m still working on physical care. This means I often don’t do better until I’m in the hospital because I ignored signals, saying I didn’t have the time. I’m starting to make the time, but am having health issues from the decades of ignoring the signs. The kidney stones two years ago were a good wake up call, so I am taking care of it and facing doctor trauma and other traumas from my youth.
It has taken a long time, but I have finally started being more open about these issues at my appointments. It has really been helpful. Through being vocal, I gain back more of my own power. I have also been met with the kind of care that makes me feel safe and heard- thankfully. I still have fallout from certain visits. A day or two of recuperation. But that’s all old trauma healing. The care I receive these days is what I could have used years ago.
So, I’m pretty messy these days. Normal life marches on and I’m sorting through the dark corners of my hidden self while being poked and scraped every couple of weeks, still unsure of what exactly is wrong. I’m making sure to reach out to friends who do let me talk it out and help me sort through it all. Those who know what it all means for me to actually take care of myself.
This isn’t to say I’ve totally neglected myself all these years. I did what I could to get through. I read magazines when I didn’t have the time for books. I took long showers and cried when I could (crying is very therapeutic!). Driving is always soothing and knitting without worrying about chores. Eating the expensive dark chocolate because it is better. Buying that cup of coffee after a tough morning of errands. I definitely didn’t ignore my needs. I just ignored what I felt I didn’t have time for.
As this school year comes to an end (because that is, once again, how I keep track of time), I’m letting myself rest up to get ready for an adventurous summer. I’m going to do my best to plan ahead to save energy for having fun, whatever may come.