The Eye of the Storm

I have post traumatic stress disorder. It manifests itself differently for each person. I tend to get overwhelmed and shut down to a numb state unable to feel physically or emotionally. This is a safety response with which I have become exceptionally proficient. Unfortunately this way of living has further complicated how I respond to myself and others.
It is for this reason that I have begun to attempt to reintegrate into a more involved life.
In therapy I have been challenged to identify and process my emotions daily. I have been able to move from happy, sad, mad, etc. to more nuanced emotions, differentiating between emotions such as agitated, aggravated, angry, and annoyed. I have been able to discuss relationships with others without feeling an intense sense of shame.
In the beginning of March I joined a gym as an attempt to challenge myself physically. At some point in the past four years I gave up. I quit. I lost the mental toughness and stamina that I once had. Today I ran 6 miles faster than I have done in two years. On Tuesdays I work out with a trainer who I am pretty sure takes pleasure in watching me suffer through his torture ideas. I love it. I am finding myself much more in tune with what is going on with me physically. I feel my lungs choking for air, my heart exploding, and my muscles begging for a break. I don’t shut that down, instead I work despite the discomfort.
A couple weeks ago I decided to take a class on mindfulness meditation. I have been meditating for several months, but I wanted to step up my game a little. I recently had an experience that was completely novel to me. I was participating in a body scan meditation, noticing each and every sensation in my body one part at a time. Instead of shutting down I had this sensation that I was extremely cold with my hair standing up all over my body. And I went with it. It was one of the most physically uncomfortable 30 seconds of my life, but I was alive.
Reintegration has not been easy. In fact, it has been an uphill battle. Physical, mental, and emotional feeling hurts. This is likened to sitting in a hurricane. The eye of the storm is calm, but you can’t make it out without experiencing the high winds and rain outside of the eye. I am venturing out of the eye of the storm and thanks to the help of my therapist, trainer, and meditation instructors it has not been as bad as I thought.
eye of the storm image from outer space
Photo by Pixabay on

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