Small Victories

Photo by Eva Elijas on

Life began burying me in March, and digging out seems to be a terrifyingly impossible challenge.

Triggers, similar to those in 2015, have left me in a parallel universe where what is happening now is blended with things that either have not happened or occurred years ago. Grief, anxiety, and hopelessness overwhelm my day-to-day experiences, and, as I have many times before, I isolate myself. I must. It is what feels safe in a world that does not make sense or seem safe.

Shame and fear of sounding “crazy” keep me from sharing much more, but it is important to acknowledge five (there are more) small victories I have had in the past two months

1. I just hit the 500-day mark for not self-harming. I cannot tell you all how much of a struggle that has been. While I cannot promise another day, I have worked really freaking hard for this one.

2. The terror and shame imprisoning me kept me from communicating with anyone about what was going on with me. In a state of complete hopelessness, I sent my therapist a text and said I was ready to talk. Turns out that was harder than I expected, but my therapist gave me paper and markers. Pictures and written words spoke when I was not able.

3. Three or four weeks into avoiding people, places, and activities I enjoy, a friend of mine offered to train with me 1:1 at the gym. On the first day, I took a deep breath, opened the door of the gym, and bolted to the locker room. I managed to stay and worked out with my friend in a private room that used to be the kid’s room. Not only did I gradually move from the private room to the general population on busy evenings, but I worked with him and his wife at the loud and chaotic (for me) powerlifting competition. No joke, I slept the rest of the day and most of the next because of the physical, mental, and emotional energy it took to function for those six hours. Finally, I have gone to the gym twice by myself in the morning when it is not as busy. I feel stupid saying that, but I was not sure I was ever going back. That is progress.

4. Doctor appointments have been excessive lately! Most honor my request to not be weighed. My primary care doctor is not one of them. Well, it is his nurse who tells me to step on the scale with such forceful verbal aggression that I comply every time. I was not having it the last time I went in to see my doctor. After arguing for a minute or two, I stepped into the exam room and sat down on the chair. I refused to move. They were either going to drop the issue or kick me out. Guess what? My doctor did not care AT ALL that I did not step on the scale.

5. I shared with my siblings how I was feeling about something important to me (and them). I was afraid to bring it up or acknowledge my grief and pain because I did not feel allowed to feel the way I was feeling. It gave us each a chance to give voice to how we were feeling individually and how we were dealing with it. More recently I told them I was struggling but did not want to complain because each of us has tough “stuff” we are dealing with. I knew it was an inner voice preying on my insecurities and shame, and I am glad I recognized and shared it.

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