Stress is sneaky

Stress is sneaky.I go through the day and think that I am doing great. I walk out the door at my internship and get in my car, start the engine and begin the drive home. After about ten minutes there starts a buzzy feeling in my brain and I start to feel the stress that I had been blocking all day start to come forward.

I do fairly well at the internship. I don’t have any panic attacks, except the first day. I communicate with others and have made some friends. But as soon as I walk out of the door everything comes forward and bashes me in the head. Which brings up the need for “the great how to decompress before I go home” quest.

I have tried listening to books on the drive home that make me laugh, I have stopped to go for a walk, I have stopped an just looked at nature. But so far I am finding the stress just builds up until I have to hide for a short while and just escape. But escape just relocates the stress it doesn’t actually make it better. Some of it is in finding a peaceful place to be in my mind. And for that I need to clear a space.

At the moment I am at residency for school. Surrounding by a large number of people that I do not know. At the same time I am also surrounded with people with whom I have developed a friendship. All the new faces and all the people that are around me have triggered some of my anxiety and panic that I feel in crowds. What I have decided to do is to carefully choose in what things I will participate and then to spend time in my room “nesting” feeding my soul and healing. Putting together the things that I need to do for the semester. Clearing away the things that need to be put into order and contemplating how to bring home the peace that I am finding.

Breathe in and breathe out. Find the center ground and stand in the space that I have designated as sacred. And let the feelings roll from me until I am back to the center. Then reach out and wrap the feelings of peace that being here at this place brings me.


Being Afraid

Being afraid of things is not something new. I have always hated being in crowds. At one point in my life I was fearless. I would travel alone and go to new places and do things that I was amazed that I would do. I later thought about how I could do those things. And the conclusion I came to was that I had nothing to live for. So it didn’t matter what I was afraid of because I didn’t care.

Then I found something to live for and suddenly I very much wanted to be alive. I very much wanted to stay safe. And all those fears that I had been ignoring came roaring up to the forefront. I would drive to work, which was a hundred miles round trip. But I was always just this side of panicking. I would listen to books while I drove to keep me from being afraid. And when it snowed, I drove so slow I stayed off the highways.

After I stopped working I stopped driving so much. I didn’t go out as much and I climbed deep inside myself. I allowed all the things that had been just on the edge to become very much the center. These were things that I had learned to view as unsafe because of the trauma. Situations to avoid if I wanted to stay safe. But those situations did not exist anymore. I was truly safe.

Over the last many years I have been slowly reclaiming myself. I can now drive longer distances from home. I can go to many places I could not before. But there are still many things that I need to take a safety buddy with me. Someone to help me if I start to panic. Crowds, regardless of the safety buddy, still take careful planning.

What I have found is that when I stop doing something it becomes harder to do it again later. And the longer I allow my fear to dictate to me when I do something. The harder it is. I have spent time sitting and contemplating about all the opportunities that I missed, and all the things that I want to do . But that did not get me very far at all. It actually moved me backwards.

Now I try to look at it not from a perspective of the past but one of what can I do now. This time of year is difficult for me on many different levels. And I am trying to work either with or past those difficulties. But the point is that it is a forward movement. I cannot sit and think of the past or I accomplish nothing and miss the present.

Today is starting and I am going to move forward. And if that means cleaning out the cobwebs on something that I have long wanted to do, but have not, then that is what I will do. Today is new and I have some new things to try.