Nature’s Gentle Healing

I went to my favourite spot on the beach yesterday. After a really bad few weeks, I needed to just get away from everything and everyone, if only for a little while.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I live in a beautiful city with plenty of sandy white beaches, green parks and spectacular mountains. Amazing scenery no matter where you look. Yet, I’ve been neglecting a crucial part of myself. The part that feels content in nature. The soul that draws strength from natural beauty. Despite my best intentions when I moved here to connect to that part of myself more often, I haven’t spent much time outdoors.

I had been feeling especially depressed the whole of last week, but on Thursday morning, it was even worse. I had this intense desire to just stay in bed. To not go into work. But my rational mind told me that it wouldn’t be a smart move, since I’m still new there. So, with great difficulty, and fighting between the emotional and rational mind, I somehow managed to drag myself to work. I found myself wondering how this could be so damn difficult. Even putting one foot in front of the other was a challenge.

As the morning progressed, I felt myself becoming more and more unstable. I even started crying at a harmless comment made by the lady training me. I can’t even remember what she had said. I had no rational reason for crying. It was so embarrassing, but in that moment, I just didn’t give a damn. I couldn’t stop it this time. This lady is in her early 60’s, so I guess it felt a little safer than crying in front of someone younger. But still… A big no-no for me. Crying in public is not acceptable (for me- I don’t see it as a problem when others do it). She came over and hugged me, and I kept apologizing as the tears kept coming. She told me that she’s had plenty of people cry on her shoulder during her lifetime, what with her being an “old lady”. She was really sweet. But I didn’t really want that hug. For some reason, I felt she had crossed a boundary. I wasn’t comfortable. I’m the type of person who craves touch, and hugs are especially important to me. But it can’t just be any type of touch, or by just anyone. I have to feel comfortable with the person.

Anyway, I found myself on the verge of quitting my job. It would have been an impulsive move, which I knew spelled disaster. So instead, I picked up the phone and made an appointment with my doctor for the earliest available appointment, which was an hour after my phone call. I knew if I could just keep myself together until then and not do anything impulsive, I’d be okay. It was a battle, but I did it.

I was a wreck. For the first time in a while, I wanted to just end it all. I thought of all the pills I had, and just how easy it would be. I was close. So close to walking out, going home and going through with it this time. I hadn’t been sleeping (which always makes things seem so much worse) and it was really getting to me. I couldn’t focus, I barely knew what I was doing most of the time. I don’t want to mess up and make stupid mistakes at work. I decided to go to my doctor to get sleeping tablets (she didn’t give me a lot- a good thing), and while I was there, I spent the majority of the appointment in tears. I wasn’t as embarrassed crying in front of her though. I asked her whether she’d write me a note to book me off work for the remainder of that day, as well as for Friday. She knows my diagnosis, and she knows me relatively well, so she agreed. In my state, I just couldn’t work. Even my Clobazam (that she had prescribed me a few weeks before) hadn’t made much of a difference on Thursday. Just as a side note, I don’t take it every day. Just sometimes before bed if I’m feeling particularly anxious and paranoid, or in the day if I feel I need it. Sometimes I’ll only take half. I try to use it as little as possible.

I spent the majority of Friday and Saturday alone in my room. I didn’t want to see anyone, or talk to anyone. I just wanted to read, listen to music, write and daydream. I spent a lot of time daydreaming, which has always been my escape and has helped me cope through the most difficult times of my life. I had stopped daydreaming a while ago, and maybe that’s why everything has become too much again. I realized just how much I need it. It’s my lifeline. Yes, it’s not reality. But reality sucks sometimes. Anything to help us cope, right? At least it’s not destructive, which would have been my other alternative.

I was supposed to meet a couple of friends on Sunday, but that went bust. But I won’t get into that here. It wasn’t a good day and my emotions were all over the place. Before sunset I felt this need to just run away from it all, with a craving for the ocean, so I got into my car and drove down to the closest beach. It was a lovely, warm late afternoon.

As I got out of my car, the gentle smell of the ocean greeted me as if with open arms. There were a lot of people around, and usually that would make me anxious, but not this time. This time all I could think of was the feeling of the sand under my feet, and the big beautiful expanse of water in front of me. As I sat down, the wind wrapped itself around me, like a hug, and in that moment, I felt safe.

On Saturday evening I had experienced one of the loneliest nights I’ve had in months. And usually when I’m lonely, going out and seeing people with their families and friends makes me feel even worse. But not this day. There was no ache in my heart while watching couples and families walking along the beach, laughing and having fun. I was so in tune with nature, that I felt deeply connected to it. It didn’t matter that I was alone. Because I wasn’t truly alone right then.

The sound of the waves filled my ears, like a beautiful song. How could I feel alone when I had all of this? I was connected to something deeper than myself.

The way the setting sun cast shadows on some parts of the sand, leaving other parts bathed in a beautiful soft light. Even the footprints left behind had a certain kind of beauty to it. Did the people those footprints belonged to feel sad, happy, in love? What was going through their minds as they felt the soft, cold, wet sand beneath their feet? Were they so lost in their thoughts or conversation that they didn’t even feel it?

I felt this gentle inner healing. This relief from the intensely dark period I’ve been in. I still feel the sadness, but it’s not crushing. I realized that even this sadness is beautiful. It means I can feel. It means I am human.

Protected: A Wasted Life. Begin Again.

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Frustrated With Myself (Again)

Yesterday was a weird day.

It all started when my therapist sent me a message confirming our appointment for later that morning. I felt emotionally cut off from her. It had been too long between sessions. I thought to myself “I don’t need therapy (or her) anymore”, but another part still wanted her (and I know I will always want her, even when I don’t “need” her anymore). The part that was indifferent had a far more active role in my mind though.

It continued during the session. I could hear myself saying all these good and positive things, but I lacked emotion. I was fully present and attentive when my therapist was mentioning some stuff about her and answered the questions I asked her, but when it came to ME and MY stuff, I felt disconnected from my feelings. I felt like I was “on the surface” instead of “down deep”. I couldn’t connect to ME. There were a couple of moments where I got really angry at technology and felt I was going to throw something, but that’s it. No other emotions.

Then it was time for work. My final training shift. Sunday we skipped training as the manager wasn’t there. Walking into the store I felt tired and not too well. All I wanted to do was go back home and sleep (I woke up this morning with a cold/flu so that’s probably why I felt so crap last night). But being so new I didn’t want to take any chances. The store was way too noisy. There was too much stimulation around me, and I felt triggered. The lights were too bright. There were too many people. Too many voices. I felt myself starting to lose control, and I was about to go tell the manager that I’m quitting, but then someone close by dropped a book and I almost jumped out of my skin. That quickly zapped that thought out of my head. But I started feeling claustrophobic and anxiety ripped through me. I was trying to remember all the tools I have learned up until this point, but I just couldn’t focus. I hit a blank. I felt tears well up, and I walked to the back office, to the furthest corner I could find and tried to get the tears to just not come, but come, they did. But I managed to stop the majority of it. I felt so overwhelmed. I forced myself to stay busy with the new books that had come in that I saw lying on the table, and proceeded to pick them up one by one and read the back (just like my therapist had suggested in our session). My shift was starting in a few minutes so I wasn’t neglecting my job at least. I really didn’t want to go back out there. It felt like my inner child was kicking and screaming, begging me to stay where it was safe, but I told her it would be alright and went out anyway.

It was much the same. Too many people, which I find intimidating. The smallest noise (the sound of someone typing on the keyboard for example) made me want to yell “stop it, just stop it” and cover my ears. I was still so jumpy (yet anyone that knows me will tell you I’m always quick to startle anyway) and my senses were on extra high alert. I’m naturally sensitive to my external environment (even as a baby apparently), but most of the time I can deal with it. But in moments like these, I find it especially difficult. It’s times like this when even the texture of my clothing bothers me and I just want to rip it all off. I don’t know exactly what it is that sometimes takes this sensitivity up beyond what is even normal for me, all I know is that it happens.

At one point, I had to help a customer, with my manager standing there watching. I didn’t trust myself. I felt panic and anxiety rise up. I looked at my manager and I think she could see it, as she smiled and said “you can do it”. But I didn’t feel like I could. The pressure was just too much. I wanted to run out and not look back. But I forced a smile and greeted the customer, painfully aware that I was visibly shaking. I then suddenly took on “robot mode”, and can’t remember the rest of that interaction. It was as if I had just shut down. When I was “back” the first thing I remember is the manager telling me “good job”. I can only hope I was friendly with the customer and didn’t come across as a complete idiot. But the manager looked happy, so I guess it’s safe to say that I didn’t mess up.

I know I should be kind to myself. But how can I be when this shit happens? Just when I think I’ve taken 1 or 2 steps forward, it’s like I take 20 steps back. It’s frustrating.

Change

I started a new job on Wednesday. My range of emotions are vast.

I’m excited about this job, and enjoying it. Other times I feel fearful and just want to stay home in bed and drown out the world. I’m still trying to find balance. I feel completely off kilter and not quite sure how to handle this. As with any change, it takes a while for the body and mind to come together in harmony again I suppose. And as much as I like change, that fact doesn’t make it that much easier to deal with when it actually happens. Alternating between periods of feeling “I belong here” and “what the hell am I doing here?”, and “what if I fuck up?”.

I no longer have unlimited time to spend on my blog or other people’s blogs, my emails are falling behind, and I haven’t watched TV in days. It feels a little strange to not have that so much anymore. But it’s a good thing. I just really need to find that sweet spot. Anxiousness has reared it’s ugly head again.

I found in the first few days, I was testing the people I work with. Being awkward, saying the weirdest shit because I’m feeling nervous and uncomfortable, only to find them laughing at all of my jokes and paying complete attention to me, almost like they’re eating a meal and savoring every bite. This is strange. I thought I was putting them off. Definitely a good group of people… And it seems I fit right in. After all, anyone who can accept me through my awkwardness is alright in my books. I’m much more comfortable around them now and the awkward moments have mostly disappeared.

Working night shifts, my sleeping patterns have changed too. It feels strange to get home late, past my bed time, and sleep in until 8am. But I’m slowly starting to feel better. Yesterday was the first time in ages that I woke up feeling as though I had a good nights rest. The constant fatigue seems to have gone. So maybe I’ve found a good sleeping arrangement and should continue this even on my days off. Maybe it’s a combination of having a job, socializing, and Vitamin B, Iron and Magnesium supplements that have also helped me feel physically stronger and less mentally exhausted.

They say change is as good as a holiday. Well, it takes a while to get your mind fully into holiday mode too, so I’ll go with that.