There’s no stars visible in the sky, just a deep endless inky blue. I’m alone tonight, saving Tonks and Zoe, as alone as I get anyway. Rose is sleeping over with family. Funny how it transports me straight back to being single, so many nights like this, when I turn out the lights there’s only the sound of my breathing, the whoosh of blood in my ears like the echo of the ocean in a shell.
Today was a good day. I’ve finally come out of the trigger spiral I’ve been in since the Gastro-enterologist tried to put me on a diet. I can think clearly again and the voice of self hate has gone quiet. You can’t stay triggered forever, wait long enough and they pass.
There’s hard things going on, as usual, but I’ve found a calm centre for now. I’m working on the triggers and issues around food with a new shrink. We’re looking at ways of reducing the intense agitation I’ve been struggling with. There’s been a lot of anxiety for me this year, at the height of it I’ve been having about 3 panic attacks a week. We dug into mindfulness stuff last session, something I’m very good at but can’t access and get tasks done once I’m highly distressed. I’m spending a lot of time working on home and business things and study, in a state of intense self loathing and high anxiety. It’s exhausting and inefficient and my ability to manage food well suffers.
I know I have issues with success. There’s so much baggage. Ridiculously high expectations, the pressure of peer work where people are often telling you that you have to ‘make it’ so they know there’s hope for them, a sense of responsibility to those who haven’t survived, it feels like dragging a lot of rocks around with me all the time. It makes it so hard to think clearly, be brave and bold, use my creativity.
I’ve just noticed that there’s also issues around how I believe I will make it. I seem to have become indoctrinated with a lot of ideas about what it takes to be successful that are instead half killing me. Success is achieved through pain, sacrifice, hard work, drivenness, focus, pushing yourself past your limits and so far outside of your comfort zone you can’t remember what it looks like. I think I’m partly right but also very wrong. For me I need downtime, rest, playfulness, freedom, and space in my comfort zone to recharge. The drivenness becomes exhausting and destructive when it gets out of hand. The ridiculous thing is, at the moment I have actually been getting more done on my days off than my work days, and done easily and joyfully.
It parallels the journey and learning about physical health I’ve done. After years of tests and agonising or uncomfortable or stupidly restrictive treatments I finally stated to get better when I walked away from trauma and abuse, started spending money on things I enjoyed instead of supplements, and went back to eating a regular diet. The thing I’d been promised over and over – that if I suffered enough, drank enough nasty things, restricted and controlled enough, there would be healing – that never happened. I don’t think I can sacrifice my way to success either. Some sacrifices are necessary, yes, but my balance is far out of whack. In one sense, the best way to create an awesome future is to create an awesome today. Every day, over and over.
So I’m focusing on living more in the moment and my heart is singing and I feel whole again. I’m watching my work hours and refusing to let myself work into my evenings. It’s harder than it sounds. I’m asking myself what I want to do with my time off instead of filling it with more jobs. I feel freer. This is more sustainable. This is where I find my joy and my heart. Success can spring from those rather than pain and stoicism. Or not, one never knows. But I’d rather fail on these terms than succeed on the other. It’s a far better place to be in. Peace to you also. x