Free Fall

anxiety

I heard a rumor yesterday that the next job opportunity that I thought might present itself to me maybe wouldn’t be after all. Today that rumor was a confirmed fact. The job prospect that felt so right is no longer an option.

When I first heard that maybe this wouldn’t work out after all I felt a bit panicked. I didn’t realize how much I was hanging hope on this. Then today when it was confirmed another feeling popped up, an unexpected feeling.. Relief.

Suddenly that panic of Oh my gosh what am I going to do? morphed into I don’t know and it is okay.

I don’t think the idea of not having a job lined up is what has been stressing me out, I think it is the not knowing what the job will be. I have every confidence I will get a job, I just really want to know what it is going to be. I feel like I am trying to skip chapters in a book because I just really want to know how it ends. I need to relax, keep reading, and try to enjoy the story.

I have been speaking with my husband about everything and as per usual he is pretty chill and supportive about the whole thing. He has no worry in terms of me gaining employment and who knows what else will happen this year? Maybe I am not meant to have a job immediately.

There was another piece of me that felt like I have to get licensed ASAP as well. I had this long check list of all the things I have to do the second I graduate but the truth is I don’t. I don’t have to do any of this immediately.

I can wait to attach with a LCSW supervisor. I can wait to apply to be a registered intern. I can wait to take the test. I can wait to get a job. It can all wait. My life is not going to fall down around me if these things don’t happen the second I am done with school. It will be okay. I will be okay.

Once I apply to be an intern I have 5 years to get my hours and pass the test. If for any reason I cannot make these things happen within that 5 year window I do not get my license in the state of Florida. Ever.

I am trying to balance myself as I finish this last semester but this is all weighing heavy on my mind. This is a big life transition. Once I graduate I am walking back into full-time employment, and everything that comes along with the licensure process, and hopefully parenthood, and building my own practice at some point.

I am excited about most of these things. I am also a bit overwhelmed, and scared. I am also grateful. I am also curious. I am also wanting to speed up time and start doing it all. I am also trying to keep my balance and remain grateful for the moment I am in.

It will all be okay. I will be okay.

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Remember Yourself

Yesterday morning I wrote this post and then the internet went down so it is posting a day late.

 

This week has been a lot. It has left me feeling disconnected from myself and stressed. I have been working late at internship, in some cases I have come home multiple hours late leaving me just an hour to have dinner and be with my family before out normal bedtime. I also find myself thinking about my clients after I leave the office. I know what is happening and I know better, yet here I am being human.

I have what feel like valid reasons for all of it. I am a mandated reporter, I cannot walk out after a session where an abuse report needs to be made. and I cannot walk out on a client making threats, I have to meet and see if a suicide risk assessment is needed. and There is documentation with all of this, I cannot walk out without documenting what took place.

All of this is true. This is the job I signed up for. Yet at the end of the day when I a deep breath for the first time all day and check in with myself I recognize there somewhere in the midst of all the chaos and good social working I abandoned myself.

This begs the question, is there a way to stay late and do all these things I need to do to protect my clients AND take care of me at the same time. How do I keep my connection with myself while doing this very emotionally draining work?

I came home last night and found that my books had come in. Part of this order was a pack of self-care cards I ordered. It is a deck of 52 cards, you pull one and see what kind of self-care it suggests. So I plopped on the couch with my dinner to start exploring all my books and pulled a self-care card from the middle of the deck..

Boundaries.

Ha! The universe was sending me a very clear message and  I could do was laugh, shake my head, and say Um Yeah, I know.

So today I am going in late because I already know that I will have to stay late. Boundary #1.
I have also decided to bring one of my diffusers in with me so I can put on some oils and set a better environment for myself in the office to ease feelings of stress and tension. Boundary #2. I am also going to make a concerted effort to leave the office at the office. Boundary #3.

I also think that I need to be more mindful and check in with myself more throughout the day, take that sacred pause from time to time.

I have a lot of anxiety going into today so I would like to air some of that out as well so the burden can be released.

I am running group today and I do not feel ready because of how my week has turned out. I built time into my day to figure it out though and I already have a plan. It will be fine.

I had to make a call to the abuse hotline last night on behalf of a client and the report was accepted. This is the first time I have called and felt afraid after. I am sure everything will be fine but I do plan to speak to my supervisor again today just to make her aware of my concern.

Those are my two largest stressors right now.  I also know this is going to be a long day and I am not excited about that. I thought about putting a “but” in there after I made that statement, it didn’t feel right though. I am not excited about having to work late today end of story. I do not need to try to put a positive spin on that. I am aloud to feel the way I feel about it and that is frustrated.

This is me staying connected to myself, not trying to make pieces of myself pretty because we are not supposed to admit that sometimes we are just annoyed or frustrated or overwhelmed. Yesterday I was completely overwhelmed and I soldiered on and it felt like shit. Today I am frustrated and I will allow myself to have that. I will do what I can to make the day easier for myself but I will not tell myself that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel about it. All feelings are welcome here.

This is what connection looks like for me. Today will be a better day even if everything goes to shit because I taking care of me while I take care of everything else.

 

Let Your Soul Shine

This morning my husband woke me as he usually does on a weekday morning, by kissing me and snuggling into me before he leaves for work. He laughed this morning and told me I was making ridiculous faces right when I woke up. Well if he knew what he was waking me up from he would understand.

I was having a dream about a song. Immediately after hubs left I closed my eyes and remember the melody but it was gone. The words stayed with me though. It was a song that talked about being able to see the pain a person’s eyes and knowing the suffering that dwelled underneath. Then it built into this beautiful crescendo and the lyrics sang let your soul shine! Let it shine through for all to see!

I felt so at peace and filled with joy.

I have been sitting with some dread recently related to obtaining employment after grad school. I have already talked about my fear and worry a bit here, unfortunately these feelings persist. I am grateful for what has been put in my path AND I don’t know that any of it feels right for me.

I have been filled with a fear that my concern about being hired will result in me abandoning myself. I feel the song I woke up singing myself was a song of hope. It was a message about my purpose. Everything will work out so long as I do what feels true to my soul.

I have already turned down a position I knew wasn’t right. I have an interview later this week and I don’t know that it is the answer either but I am going to go with an open mind and see.

I keep reminding myself I have time. It is only January, I do not have to have it all figured out right now. There is time.

 

 

Did You Hear That?

ptsd

One last post tonight to put myself at ease and to experience my own unburdening with the hopes of then falling into a restful sleep.

I have been sitting alone in the living room for the last hour writing. Normally I enjoy this quiet time; just me and the house and my tea and my thoughts. Normally. Sometimes though when I sit alone at night in my living room my PTSD creeps up on me, an unwelcome guest crashing my party, here to terrify me until I can barely breathe.

It started with a noise.

Was that a knock at the door? It can’t be, what time is it? No it’s much too late.. Then what was that noise?

Get up, heart pounding, stomach has already dropped out, adrenaline pumping. Walk into the bedroom;

Babe? Was that you?..
Oh it wasn’t? Then did you hear that?..
Oh you didn’t?.. Well I am sure I heard a knocking..
No but you don’t understand, I am sure I heard a knocking..
Okay, you’re probably right..

Return to my nest on the couch. Continue writing, but not without first enlisting the company of my trusty guard dog.

It was nothing. It was nothing.

Check to make sure the doors are locked..

It was nothing. You are safe. You are alone. You are safe. It was nothing.

Sit back on the couch continue writing.

Hear a knocking. Look at the dog. She didn’t react.

It was nothing. She would have reacted. She would have barked. It was nothing. You are safe. You are alone. You are safe.

You are alone. You are alone. You are alone. It is dark. You are alone.

You are okay. You are okay.

Continue writing.

Feel a bump on the couch. All systems on red alert. Heightened sense of hearing and touch. Aware of every inch of your surroundings. Listen… Listen…. Listen… Nothing.
Look at the dog. She didn’t react.

What was that? I am sure I felt something. Is there a monster under the couch?

You are not a child. Monsters are not real.

How do you know?

Try to convince the dog to come sit on the couch by you.

Come here baby.. C’mon.. Come here honey.

Give up. She is not moving. Continue writing.

No more noises. Heart rate back to normal. Menacing thoughts silence. Ability to focus restored. Sense of safety restored.

Normally I enjoy this quiet time; just me and the house and my tea and my thoughts.

Normally.

 

 

Find Me, Dear Heart: An Ode to Infinite Worthiness

worthy

Tonight I checked in with a friend. I am glad I did, she apparently has been struggling and I was not aware. I know it took a lot for her to even be open with me about her struggle. I am glad that I have done enough for our relationship to feel safe for her to share even a little bit, I know how scary it can feel to be honest during dark times. We talked for a while and her pain hurt my heart. It was not just her pain, but the shame she was unknowingly expressing.

She talked of the burden. The burden we all have felt at some point. The burden we carry that we will not allow others to shoulder for fear of burdening them. We don’t want to be too much, we don’t want to ask too much, we don’t want to risk running others off with our darkness. We don’t feel worthy of the comfort, and love, and connection that can come from allowing others in and trusting that they will want to stay and hold our hand through it.

I gave her my words, I tried to make her feel heard and loved and understood. Ultimately I know from my own experience that you can never feel connected with others and truly allow yourself to be unburdened until you begin to work on the relationship you have with yourself. Until you love yourself you will never feel worthy of the love and comfort that can come from others because you will not believe you are worthy of it. It is an up hill climb and it is a long road she is on, but I know she is on it and that gives me hope.

I am no poet but tonight I want to close this post by sending a message out into the universe with the hope that my friend will feel it and feel comfort..

Find me, dear heart.
I know the pain you carry.
The pain of I cannot burden another person with my load.
The pain of I am not worthy of your time, your consideration, your love.
The pain of the awful voices in your head that torture you with hurtful untruths about yourself.
Find me, dear heart.

I see you.
I see your greatness.
I know what bubbles beneath your surface.
I know because what dwells in your soul dwells in mine as well.
I am darkness too, your dark does not frighten me, it is not too much.
And like me, you contain the brightest light, a light that is uniquely and magnificently you.
So find me, dear heart, and let me be your mirror.

A mirror that can reflect for you the love, and connection, and wholeness you are worthy of.

Anxiety’s Funny Like That

So that post earlier where I talked about letting go of control and asking the universe for clarity.. It is as if it never happened.

I felt better for like 5 minutes and then spent hours researching different job opportunities and getting hopelessly disappointed by how disconnected I felt from everything I was seeing. Then my husband got home and I cried for a while about how hopeless I feel and my enormous fear of backsliding and not being able to continue my direction of growth.

Yeah… So that happened. So much for not getting all wound up and trying to control it. I lasted like 15 minutes. I am not as zen as I would like to think I am. So much for meditation and intuition, I’ll just freak out over the future and catastrophize the shit out of my entire life.

So now I feel the need to balance my mini-meltdown with some rationale..

Here is my truth:

Everything has always turned out.
I am surrounded by abundance.
I have never settled but I have had to wait for the right thing.
Patience has been worth it.
When I become clear on what I want in my life it comes to me.

I do not have to have everything figured out right this moment. I do not have to have all the answers right now, they will come when they are meant to.

And now I would like to take this balance once step further and throw in some gratitude because the rationale may help ground me but the gratitude is what makes me feel better.

Tonight I am grateful for my husband, for our home, and for our sweet fur baby. I am grateful for the surplus of canvas I have left over from Christmas gifts. I am thankful for books and the worlds I am transported to when reading. I am thankful for all the growth I have experienced in the last 5 years. I am really really thankful for the growth.

I am also thankful to be in a position in my life where these are the kinds of things I worry about. I know even this is something to be thankful for. The things that give me anxiety now are things I could not even dreamed of asking for 5 years ago.

Unraveling a Scribble

All day I have been on the fence about writing. Now that it is closer to bed time I have decided to get this out for fear it will keep me up if I don’t. Day two of the New Year was met with all consuming anxiety. I almost had a panic attack while we were running an errand earlier and it took me quite sometime to release the energy once we were home.

I have been on the verge of a panic attack for over a month now, it pops up at random times but the current of anxiety has been constant for sometime.

I am pretty sure I have my finger on the cause, that does not mean I have control over how it is making me feel though.

Today while hubs was helping me through it I discussed the possibility of going back on the anxiety meds I was on 5 years ago. I have been reluctant because I am in therapy and literally learning therapeutic techniques in school on how to cope.. I keep telling myself I should be able to get by without the meds.

I have not seen my therapist in a few weeks because of the holiday so I have decided to wait and process everything with her before making a final decision.

My family is definitely part of the recent flare up. Even creating a physical boundary between myself and the drama is not enough if I am not better about my emotional boundaries. There are certain family members I do not have good emotional boundaries with and it is as if I can feel what they are feeling. It is exhausting. I am exhausted.

Another source of the recent panic I am sure has to do with my being sick for over a month. Illness is an anxiety trigger for me. A lot of my trauma centers around me not feeling in control over my body during different parts of my life and for different reasons. When I am sick I am not in control of my body, it is a major trigger for me. The last antibiotic I took for my ear infection did not take so I am still walking around feeling swimmy headed with clogged ears. I know to most it seems like just a simple inconvenience but for me it feels scary, like I am out of control.

This brings me to the last source that I have identified and that is the work I am committed to doing in therapy this year. I mentioned previously that this year I am going to start working on my relationship with my body. That  means a lot of things and they all scare me. I don’t think there is anyway to get around the fact that this is going to be painful and the probability of me seriously struggling is high.

When I was talking with hubs today about possibly getting back on the meds I told him it was primarily because I do not want to suffer. That is my fear, that is what I have been trying to numb and escape all these years, suffering. At the time of that conversation i was talking specifically about my fear of having panic attacks and that I do not want to suffer in that regard but honestly I think it was a deeper piece that was speaking up. I am afraid of what comes next in my work. I know it is an important part and will be so healing but I am afraid of how much it will hurt and I do not want to suffer. There are things I do not want to relive. My body is still holding things that I think it will only be able to release if I do this work but I am so scared.

It feels better to say some of this out loud and be honest about how scared I feel right now.. AND it hurts too. I can feel the tension my shoulders and neck as I write this, it is as if an elephant is sitting on my shoulders.

To make myself feel better today I put on some oils, I cleansed myself with sage and a bell (it may sound hippy woo woo but it works for me), I stretched, I played a game with hubs to help distract myself, I lit candles, I drank a balancing tea blend, I watched a movie from childhood that brings me joy, and when I was finally feeling a bit more like myself I put on music and danced. That last part is what really yanked me out of it. I put on my Sade station on Pandora and danced while making dinner. Hubs laughed as Lucy and I danced to Creep by TLC and then he spun me around the kitchen to Georgia by Ray Charles.

Something else I did that really helped was paint. I was sitting on the couch in the sun room with the Buddha board hubs got me for Christmas and I noticed the shadow I was casting on it. I started painting my shadow and there was something very symbolic about that to me. So I got a canvas, returned to the couch, and painted my very first self portrait..

self-potrait

I think it somehow very appropriate that my first self portrait would be of my shadow. I think it speaks to the work I have to do yet with my own shadow pieces.. I think it speaks to the dark place I was in today.. I think it speaks to my need to dig deeper within myself so I may know myself better.. It also speaks to deeper things that I do not discuss openly on this forum but that are very meaningful as well. It was symbolic to say the least. This was my first painting of 2017 and at first something about that made me sad, like I was starting the year off in darkness but then I read this..

transformation1

My mantra for this year is one of transformation, that will not take place just in light and love.. I have to be willing to go back to places of darkness and pain and bring light and love to the pieces of me that are still residing there. I have to take light and love to the parts of my body I am afraid to look at because of the trauma they experienced. This will be scary, and I have always been afraid of the dark, but there will be light and it is up to me to shine it.  My hope is that by years end I will have the courage to paint another self-portrait and from this darkness my deep hope is to find the butterfly.

Tomorrow is my first day of therapy, I am excited and scared. I just keep telling myself You are safe and it is going to be okay.

You are safe. And it is going to be okay. You are going to be okay. You are going to be okay.