Hey everyone! Sorry for my absence yesterday, except not really, because the truth is that I needed to take care of me yesterday, and well, today too. So today’s post is not only going to be a combo, but a shortish one. I love you guys, and I love talking with you, but I have needed some self-care from places other than my laptop for these last couple days, and so I’m just popping by to share a little, and then retreating back to my blanket fort.
I’m going to use my words (see what I did there? meh. yeah, it’s a writing prompt cop out) to explain what’s been going on, and then tell you about what helps me to heal.
So, what’s been going on is that my anxiety has been in full force for about 5 days now. It has been exhausting. There have been tears. There have been near panic attacks, brought down only with the aid of Xanax. It hasn’t been pretty. My therapist and I did some work trying to figure out what set all this off, and I think we uncovered some helpful info, which is actually contributing to a blog post that I’m working on, to be posted on a later date. However, this has largely just been a setback, plain and simple. It has been frustrating, because I was feeling as though I was making progress in therapy, so to slide back so drastically has been very discouraging, but I am trying to keep my head held high.
The “Glow in the Woods” prompt is actually a reference to a grief resource that Carly Marie (the creator of these prompts), found helpful. Glow in the Woods is a website for bereaved parents. Truthfully, I haven’t visited the site. Since I am battling anxiety as well as processing my grief, I’m nervous to go read anything that deals with the loss of children. I believe it will likely be triggering for me, and so I am staying away. My therapist is nodding her head in approval right now.
However, I do want to share with you some things that have helped me, both in processing my grief AND in managing my anxiety. I will list them, in no particular order below:
- Xanax. Okay, this one is in a particular order. Honestly, it’s probably helped me the most in keeping anxiety from ruling my life these last few months. I promise the rest of this list is in random order, though.
- ASMR– Okay, so, a bunch of you are probably about to think that I am crazy, but some of you will either already know what this is, or thank me for the rest of your lives for introducing you to it. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, and rather than go into long detail explaining it, I am going to link you to some helpful information and share my favorite ASMR artist with you (p.s. – the sound in that video is binaural, so I recommend using headphones). If it does nothing for you, your brain may just not be susceptible to ASMR, and that’s cool. If it relaxes you or mesmerizes you like woah, you’re welcome.
- This blog. This space has been an amazing source of healing for my grief. Sharing my experience with others is a balm for pain like no other.
- My therapist(s). I started with one therapist, who originally diagnosed my PPA. She helped me dig my way out of the trenches the first time I battled this monster, and it is because of her that I know there is an end in sight. However, I am now seeing her colleague, because my new, current therapist is trained in EMDR, which is a trauma recovery therapy technique that we have not yet attempted, but have been laying the groundwork for. We haven’t really had a chance to give it a shot, because I’ve been on and off in crisis mode. Eventually though, we’re gonna give it a go! Even without beginning EMDR, my new therapist is just as great a fit for me as her colleague was. With a mixture of compassion, humor and Real Talk, she is able to say exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. My ah-ha moments have been 100% based on things that she has said, my decision to take the medication which is currently making my life functional was bolstered by her encouragement, and my grief, which I tend to keep locked in a box inside a cellar which is also locked, bricked over and has a lovely garden planted on top, is now slowly beginning to come out, be observed and is beginning to heal, all because of her gentle pushing and well-leveled patience. Not trying to kiss any butts here, but my therapist is awesome and if you are currently battling PPA, PPD or any other mood disorder or unhappiness, I highly recommend you locate a therapist, post haste.
- Self-Care. Obviously, this includes my meds. It took me a while to realize that was obvious, but it is. Meds. In addition to that, sleep. Also, seems like it should be obvious… but it’s not always. As for the rest, do what makes you feel restored. It can change, day to day, but take a moment and ask yourself “What do I need?”. This is an amazing, and huge article on self care. Peruse it, bookmark it, keep coming back to it. I’ll be honest, I suck at self-care. I am so busy “doing” that I often forget to stop and check in with myself. Today though, I rocked the self care. Just during nap time today I, gave myself a manicure, drank a cup of tea while reading my book in the library and ate a bowl of honey nut cheerios for a snack. See? A+ self-care today. This was especially made possible by my excellent husband who cleaned most of the house yesterday, paving the way for me to have a day where I didn’t feel like self-care meant slacking on house-care. Speaking of that wonderful man…
- My husband. He cleans, he cooks (well, sometimes), he holds me when I have panic attacks and reminds me to take my medicine. I married the best one, sorry ladies. Whether you have an amazing partner, an amazing best friend, or an amazing parent, I think it’s important to have someone who you can confide in. Someone who can be available when things are not so great, and who can celebrate with you when things are excellent. If you’re feeling isolated, a great place to start can be a support group. I’ve linked to PPD support groups, but there are support groups for just about anything and lots of info about where to find them online. If you don’t need a support group per say, Meetup.com can be another great place to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends. Hopefully this goes without saying, but if you’re meeting internet people, please make sure you use good judgement and meet only in public places. There are great people on the internet, and I’ve made a lot of real-life friends that way, but there are not so great people, too. Be smart and safe.
Well, as usual, I am long winded and my “short” post is anything but. Oh well. Hopefully you find something helpful here and I’ll try to be back tomorrow with another Capture Your Grief post, but if I’m not, you’ll understand, and I’ll appreciate you for it!
Lots of love to you.