Gabriela Pereira of the DIY MFA Book Club asked the question: Tell about a time when you had to honor your reality.
This question stumped me for a bit. I’ve had days where things went well and then had those days where I wanted to crawl back into bed and forget about everyone and everything.
During those days, I didn’t think about honoring my reality. Just surviving until the next day was enough.
As I thought about this question in larger terms. Larger in terms of blocks of time such as weeks, and even, months. I have spoked of the challenges the universe has thrown at me in the past in these posts: Just a Thought: Grief; Speed Bumps; and, First Lesson: Enough. Each of these posts represent a larger chunk of time in which I needed to honor my reality.
What I haven’t really spoken about is the consequences of those struggles. Even now writing about this stuff is hard but part of honoring my reality is speaking my truth. The truth is nearly always both good and bad.
A Sliver of My Story
I have probably suffered with anxiety and depression for my entire life. Because my coping mechanisms were geared for survival, I seemed to push through ignoring the warning signs. Well, I would have some down days but that is exactly what they were – down days – seldom tasing for more than a few.
Of course, that isn’t the entire truth but more on that later.
The universe has rocked my world in the past few years and not necessarily in a good way. Normally, I would be able to ride the wave of difficulties and keep moving forward.
Not this time.
A single rock thrown into the water causes ripples. Except that this time the rock caused giant waves that didn’t stop. Loss after loss and change after change occurred until I couldn’t keep my equilibrium any longer and I was holding on as best as I could.
About a year ago, the waters calmed and I was elated. I could breathe again. Getting up each morning wasn’t so bad. I even had a smile on my face most days. I thought I was in the clear, that I had weathered the rough and things would be smooth from now on.
I should have known better.
It took about 8 weeks before I crashed. This is a phenomena that often happens with the trauma victims I work with. Everything is fine and you begin to believe that you are going to make it through. But, then comes the crash and you have no idea how to pick up the pieces.
I will never know what specifically caused my crash. Most likely it was cause by many things. I do know I was working hard to use the coping mechanisms I’d always had. For whatever reason, they weren’t working this time. I couldn’t ignore how I was feeling any longer. Every part of my life was being affected and, even being a counselor, I struggled with what to do next.
At some point I called in reinforcements although I don’t remember how long that took. It was probably around three months after I crashed before I found myself sitting in front of my therapist.
Yes, even counselors need therapists.
My recovery began that day. Those first few months were hard but I kept working. There were even days where I didn’t think it was working and I eventually added other things to my treatment.
I found someone who understood this recovery process and used touch therapy to help me heal. Healing from depression and anxiety isn’t just about the mind. All components of your life are involved. Massages are still part of my recovery.
To say that I am fully recovered would be an untruth. That would take a lifetime. But I am in a good place, learning to recognize that dark days what causes them and being grateful for the rest is important.
One of the biggest things I have learned and continue to learn is to honor both types of days. I still have ups and downs, everyone does, we are all still human after all.
It is those lessons that I honor and give myself grace. Some lessons I couldn’t have learned any other way and will take with me for the rest of my life.
In what ways have you learned to honored yourself? What lessons did you learn through this process?
Until next time,