To be quite honest, this time around it's been a little different. All of this did occur, pretty much exactly in the order described, except there has been more to it. With working two jobs my free time is very limited. Most of it is either spent running errands, doing chores or sleeping. The whole concept of taking care of myself is still pretty foreign to me. I still struggle greatly with meeting my basic human needs like eating enough and getting adequate rest. Recovery is still incredibly difficult and I am still working on finding the balance between myself and others. Most days it seems like I take more steps backwards then forwards.
A week or so ago my therapist told me that we can't truly be present to others if we are ignoring ourselves and although we may not see it, we are not the only ones that suffer when our self care is lacking. At the time I left her office completely angry and pretty much believed that she was completely wrong. That same day I made a huge mistake at work. A mistake that wouldn't have happened if my mind was present to what I was doing, instead of a million other places. I was devastated and embarrassed. For a few days I believed that I just needed to try harder. That I needed to say screw recovery and myself and pour more energy into everything else; my job, relationships etc. I decided that I just needed to give more and focus more on others and things would get better.
On Saturday I completely lost it. I turned into a crying hysterical mess and couldn't ignore my needs any longer. I was so emotionally done that I called a coworker and asked him if he could work for me a few hours so I could come in later. At that point it really wasn't an option of taking a break anymore. I laid on the couch for a few hours switching in between crying, talking to John and staring at the ceiling. When I did go into work I was completely unfocused. A parent even asked me if I was ok because I looked exhausted, which isn't something that is good when you are driving children around the mall and in charge of their safety. It was then that I realized that everything that my therapist said was correct and something had to change.
I needed to start taking care of myself and it couldn't wait.
After this realization I didn't do anything too crazy and I can't say that I made huge changes or that it isn't still difficult, yet I did do a few things. First off, I rearranged my work schedule so I had time to see my therapist this week. It involved asking my boss to change my schedule last minute and sitting with the disappointment that I felt in myself for doing that. Secondly, I spent a few hours on Sunday coloring in a coloring book and drinking a Mike's hard lemonade. This broke a bunch of food rules as well as my struggle with allowing myself to take breaks. Not to mention I haven't had an alcoholic beverage in about a year and a half. Instead of "wasting" time on the internet reading other blogs and blogging myself as a distraction, which I am sometimes guilty of doing, I sat with myself and my feelings. I talked to people in real time. I caught up with a friend that I hadn't talked to in a while and shared some of my recent struggles with her, as well as listened to what is currently going on in her life. I spent some quality time with John, which has been seriously lacking recently, even though we live together. I got incredibly honest with myself and realized that I was heading in the same direction that I have headed many times, burnout.
My eating still needs a lot of work and my emotions are still all over the map. I have been faced with a lot of shame and guilt in the past few days for taking these steps for myself. It still feels wrong. Although I am still exahusted and have a long way to go, I have noticed small differences. On Monday I felt a little more rejuvenated for a long day of work at the train. I wake up in the morning with more optimism and less dread. Today I took a nap and I didn't beat myself up about it. All of this is progress. Most of the time I feel like recovery has to be big and bold and only huge moments count and are worth mentioning, but I am slowly starting to realize that it really is more about the small things adding up over time. It doesn't matter how slow you are going, as long as you don't stop.
|A friend shared this on facebook a week or so ago and I have been dying to find a way to tie it into a post. This one is pretty perfect! :)|