Panic Days

Part of getting better, I suppose, is learning to manage our disadvantages better, our disability, our adversity, our weakness, sickness, humanity. For the most part of my recovery, I’ve thought that I will be better when I stop waking up from nightmares, having flashbacks or panic attacks.

Truth is, “better” may be learning to manage the bad moments better, not their absence.

Once a counselor at an online hotline told me that there will always be triggers you can’t predict. The true recovery lies in recognizing that fact and learning to manage them better.

Oh boy, was she right.

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It all started again last week.

Dancing ballet and trying to get out in the world and socialize again, it has been bringing up issues more often than I would like to admit. 2 years back I would let that defeat me, I would think, clearly I’m not strong enough to handle this. But I like ballet too much, and I’m not giving it up, even after such moments. But there has been more than one class which I miss because I panic, which I only watch because I’m so freaking out that I can’t feel my legs, in which I ran in the bathroom to put water on my face in an attempt to remember where I am and that there is nothing threatening about it. But I’m scared, my god, I haven’t been so scared in a while, dancing is exposing me, and I’ve done such a good act out of hiding.

And so it starts again on Sunday. Continue reading

Recovery Updates: Finding My Way Forward

I’ve said this many times, and I’ll say it again. Recovery is a process, with ups and downs. It’s a messy process.

I’ve had huge jumps forward lately. I’m finally getting out of my apartment more, trying to meet more people. I’m finally starting to be more stable in my finances, and fix holes in my budget (and wardrobe) that have needed fixing in years. I’m finally starting to want to be more attractive again, and not like in university, where since I was raped, I kept myself steadily thinking I’m fine with combination of being drunk when I go out, or being too exhausted and too busy the rest of the time. It’s a process though. Since I started getting depressed the may-june of 2012 after finally admitting myself what happened, I’ve done a whole circle around.

For most things I’m going better, but when it comes to my body issues I go back and forth. While I was depressed I started wearing simple things. Then I gained weight, I started wearing darker things and going out very little. I spend a lot of time wishing I could go back to the weight I had, and planning the clothes I was going to wear when I could afford them.

But I’m not the same person anymore. It’s ridiculous to think I can go from wearing sweaters, sneakers and wide pants to short skirts, high heels and so on. I’m not the same. There is no moving forward until I see that. And I have never really been the short skirt type that much, but I was just starting to warm up to the idea of more attractive and sexy clothes- right before I had a breakdown.

Most of the time I feel older than I am. Most of the times, I’m only hoping to one day go back to who I was. But I am not the same person. Continue reading

One step forward, two steps back

For couple of weeks during the summer, full of a lot of work, it finally comes down on me- the life I chose, the things I’ve been through…. I’m not completely sure why I’m going back to that, but after these couple of weeks I end up completely drained. I have no more power to fight it. The harder we run from something, the stronger it comes to hunt us, and I have never ran from something as much, my entire life. And so, I come down to dealing with it. Between panic attacks, flashbacks, crying, depression, ptsd, lots and lots of talking and thinking and taking walks, I lose myself, more then ever. I lose sight of whom or what I’m doing this for, or whether I moving forward. I lose a sight of ever being in another situation.

Sometimes I have the feeling I am moving forward, and sometimes, I’m simply drowning. I lose sight of the shore…which, as they tell me is a good thing. And so it all comes to this week, these days, when one morning I look out of the window and I realize that the fall is coming. I have lived through the summer, and my nightmares. I have work piled up to my ears. And all I can think of is: when did it become fall?

I have been so focused on getting through the days, that I have missed when the seasons changed. And most of the days I have this familiar, yet foreign feeling, that I’m not sure if I’m going forward or backwards. Even if you don’t have that literal meaning in you- you have to accept and get through your past, to move forward- I keep taking steps, and sliding backwards every once in a while. But unlike in theory, where math shows you that 2 steps backwards, and one step forward should equate to being one step back after all, life’s calculations aren’t exactly such.

Because in life, the real true fact that matters is which are the steps taken. Sure, I spend another 2 hours trying to create something for my business, only to break down again, and let go for the night. I did create one thing though. That’s a start. Yesterday, I mostly didn’t have such a great day- I had another flashback, which led to a short breakdown on my part. I also did not finish the work I had for the day- 2 steps back.

Meanwhile however, I met with one of my best friends. I had recently told her the truth about my rape, and spend few half-awkward half-nice meetings with her. In the past 2 years, between my not-talking about anything while I was in denial, and us often being in different countries, we lost touch a lot, and even though meeting occasionally was still the same, I missed the day to day deep talks we used to have. Now, few meetings where we talked about random stuff happening to us, and I was somewhat telling her the hell I was going through, we are finally back. Back to being the kind of friends that can talk every day and always have what to say. If I feel bad I don’t have to lie to her anymore. But we can also talk about nothing and everything. We are back to being as close as we were.

So, in the math of life, I think I have gained. Sure, another somewhat fruitless day, and memories I’d rather not have. But the times are this way. I’ve been having such days for months. And despite all, I think I will be out of them soon. But on the way, what is a missed day, compared to having gained back my best friend? That’s priceless.