Accepting is a vital part of coping with PTSD. Once acceptance sets in the next step is learning to pace yourself.
I remember watching my brothers run cross country. They often talked about the importance of pacing themselves. If they ran too slow at the beginning of the race they can never make up the time later. If they go too fast, they burn out and finish poorly. I noticed that living with PTSD, people usually expect me to carry on as if nothing happened. You try to explain your limitations and they ignore it. Often PTSD is called the invisible wound. No wheel chair or crutches to give others a visual clue that you’re wounded. On the other hand, I try to avoid retreating farther and farther into my own mind and world. Part of being healthy is to be involved and engaged with living, not just existing any more.
I stopped writing last night because I was falling asleep at my computer. Sigh….I’m terrible at pacing myself so this is really a note to self. Things I know I should do but still struggle to implement them in my life. When I woke up this morning I chuckled when I read this on Facebook:
Some of you are all work and no fun. Slow down and enjoy the journey. You’ll still arrive where you’re supposed to be, but your life will be so much more fulfilled.
CPTSD survivors lived because they stayed hyper-vigilant and full alert without breaks. It gets a little crazy. The very concept of relaxing and letting life drift is antithesis to survival in life’s war zones. A sleeping soldier is a dead one. People have a hard time accepting that what may appear to be a happy home on the outside is a battle ground on the inside. I often comment, “You don’ know what people are really like until you close the doors.” So what does this have to do with pacing myself? I am not in a war zone any more. I can relax and let down my guard occasionally with some safe people. Pacing yourself includes allowing time to put up your feet and rest with your eyes closed because you know you are in a safe place. Unfortunately, many PTSD survivors are not in a safe place. Staying at break neck speed racing ahead of thoughts, feelings, and circumstances is a survivors twisted thinking. Slowing down, processing thoughts, letting go of insane schedules, stop the race now and accept that busyness only delays addressing the issues haunting my mind. The power of meditation is it allows me to slow down and become aware of what is really the important things in my life. Breathing is good. When was the last time I allowed myself 1 minute of breathing time. What in my life do I need to let go? And what in my life do I need to keep because it helps in other ways? Exercise is an example of one of the things I am tempted to let go and not do. However, exercise is the most underrated mood enhancers in the world.
I can do this. I can pace myself. I need to contact some people and tell them what I need. Oooooo self care – what does it look like to you?