As someone with a history of disordered eating, severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, grief, surgery induced menopause (goddammit!), adult diagnosed ADD (seriously?!), autoimmune disease, and all the ‘other’ ‘regular’ shit of life-ing and mom-ing and wife-ing and writing and working and schooling and and and (can you say, ‘hot mess’?)…it’s easy to fall back into old habits. To not make the best choices when it comes to food and water and sleep and all of the other oh so important for survival self-care things.
It’s so easy, that I usually don’t even realize I’ve fallen back into those bad habits until it’s too late.
Until my meds have run out. A week ago.
Until I haven’t had more than 3-4 hours of sleep a night in weeks because the insomnia is back. Again.
Until I completely forget how to listen to my body’s cues and don’t drink when I’m thirsty or eat when I’m hungry, because I don’t even know how to read those cues anymore. So I’m restricting. Again.
And that effective combo/dose of meds that was *finally after all these years* working has stopped working to the point that I’m having (almost)daily panic attacks and I’m (almost)constantly anxious to the point that I (sometimes, more often than not)don’t want to leave the house. Again.
And I feel the depressive mood swings start to rise and fall. Again. Like the tide in an angry storm. And then the manic swings that hit me on the over-correcting upswing send me into a tailspin. Again.
And I feel my once (relatively)solid feet start to slide out from under me and if they do slide out completely then down the rabbit hole I’ll go, with no branches or roots or rocks in sight to grab hold onto to keep from sliding down down down.
And I’ve just been powering through and going going going. All the while I spend way too much of my (not enough)energy on just trying to hold it together. For one more breath. One more minute. One more hour. One more day. One more day. One more day. One more day.
And I finally take a breath and just sit still with myself. With my body. And I breathe. And I stay quiet. And I breathe deeper. And I listen. And I check in with my body. And I feel. I feel the vertigo deep behind my eyes. The zappy brain charges in my head that make me want to lose my shit. The swelling in my feet and hands that make my sausage fingers painful stiff to bend. The adrenaline pumping down through my wobbly sea-legs. The roller coaster contractions in my stomach that make it twist and turn and swim and gasp and want to empty it of it’s contents at any moment. The tightness in my chest that feels like a solid fist jammed up tight and compressing any air that might get in.
And I don’t know whether I want to fight or flight or if I’d even have the energy or desire to do either one so I just freeze. Because that’s all I know how to do. Because anything else doesn’t feel safe. Just staying right there in place, immobilized, not seen not heard. That’s the only thing that feels even remotely safe.
Damnit fucking damn. How did I end up back in this place? How did I let this happen? How did it happen without my knowledge or consent? What the actual fuck?!
Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath.
One hand on heart. One hand on earth.
Deep breath. Slow. Long. Drawn out. In through the nose. Out through the mouth.
Hand on heart. Hand on earth. Grounding myself. Focusing. Slowing the spin. Halting the slide. Still above ground. Not in the hole. Not yet.
Self-care 101. Listen to my body. It knows. It tells me, if only I will listen. It whispers softly in my ear. I don’t hear. It speaks a bit louder. I don’t listen. It pulls and tugs at my shirt at my pants at my fingertips. It raises it’s voice and speaks more urgently. It blows whistles and sends warning flares high into the sky. Louder and louder until I have no choice but to listen. To hear. To stop. To call the mental health number on my insurance card and schedule an urgent appointment with the psychiatrist for a med check. Urgent because otherwise the next available appointment isn’t until the end of October and this is only the second week of August and surely by the end of October I’ll be stranded and left forgotten at the bottom of the rabbit hole, the ladder rungs washed away. Urgent so I’ll be seen in two days. Urgent so I can see still see the light at the end of the tunnel. Urgent because I can hang on for two days and power through and make it to that appointment. Two days. I can.
I can acknowledge that I’ve slipped into all of the old habits. I can see where I’ve relinquished control. I can hear that I’m not listening to my body. I can feel that I’ve completely disconnected from my body. I can face the ghost who’s taking it over. The ghost of years past of traumas past of habits past. I can see the old me, that one who doesn’t serve me. That one who sets out to destroy me and everything in my wake.
Nope. Not this time. Not going to happen.
Two day. Two days. I can keep her at bay for two days. I can write and write and write and listen and hear and feel. I can tune back in. I can practice self-care and self-love. I can. I have. And I will.
And thanks to insomnia, one day. And thanks to insomnia, today.