Living with PTSD is not easy adapt to. Given, I see that I am making slow progress towards managing my coping skills. I don't believe I will ever be "better" but I do believe I can allow myself to live and feel again. My current counselor is amazing. I wish she had been around 4 years ago, though if I wasn't ready or in the right mindset, I may not have had positive results. She truly is the best counselor to help me through this PTSD brain of mine.
Every morning I wake up and have an appointment with her, I initially feel dread. I'm tired and don't feel like having to go down to where all my trauma took place, I've even cancelled a couple of times because I have just not been with it. But truth be told, I always leave her office feeling "better". She gets me connected to my thoughts and feelings and really helps me work through things, pinpoint why I feel those emotions and what they have to do with to help me sort out all these thoughts.
Today we discussed my external need to shop. Last week was a hard week, both Bee and I were really sick (we still are but able to cope better). It was an exhausting week and I had to bring her to daycare at least one day. I dropped her off and headed to Target to pick up a few things. Before I knew it, I had been walking around for 3 hours and had just bought a cart full of stuff. For anyone who knows me, you know I don't place heavy emphasis on stuff, it just doesn't really matter but I get into this space of not really knowing I'm doing it, or self justifying in that moment of why we may need those things and even though it leads me to anxiety about finances and shame for spending a lot, it is my current automatic response. Besides my counselor mentioning that it is totally normal behaviour, she helped me understand why it may be happening and how we can put some safe guards in place so I can stop myself.
I realized that I over compensate buying Bee thing because I never had the chance to with the boys. It's not that she has a lot (she really doesn't) but I have the chance to buy things for her of which I did not get that chance with the boys so I over compensate. I never knew that prior to today. So we're working on it, she did warn me it will take a while. I have had 5 years of this automatic response and changing it overnight will not happen, but it's about bringing awareness to the situation, it's about connecting my mind, body and emotions to the situation. Its about putting plans in place to help stop me and redirect to a more healthy coping strategy. She made me realize that shopping is my coping strategy and that it can be hard to stop, even as ashamed and aware I am of how bad it can get, I just thought retail therapy was a thing because it gives instant gratification. But for me, it hold so much more emotion, its connected to me in a much different way and I'm starting to realize that.
PTSD is incredibly exhausting, re-working my brain is exhausting and my greatest challenge is not being able to do more than one thing in a day. It is my biggest limitation, it is my biggest enemy within. After my counseling appointment today I was ready to come home, I had a massage and knew it would relax me but I was so tired after counseling that I wanted to call it quits. But that's me everyday, if I do some laundry and house cleaning in the morning, I feel that's all I can do for the day. If I go out to an appointment, I feel the need to come home after. Hanging out with friends, as much as I like it and look forward to it, exhausts me. Its one of the reasons my mind goes off line and I end up walking around Target for 3 hours. I'm just exhausted. If I am expected to do more than one thing a day, I cringe and feel panic. I try to plan only one thing a day so that I can cope with all that comes with it.
Again, it's nice to know that this is normal behaviour. It's nice to know that it's not just me being lazy, as some say. It's valid, it's a physical, mental and emotional state that is very delicate. My window of tolerance is very small and understandable so having to do more than one thing a day can seem like a mountain sometimes. Just like figuring out my retail therapy, I am figuring out what works for me. What schedule can fit my need at this current time. Not to say I will always be like that, but for now, it's hard for me. It's a true struggle. I really do appreciate the family and friends who understand that. It's not that I don't want to see people, I need and desperately want interaction, it's just for me it takes so much and right now I have so little to give.
Time, she always tells me time. It takes time and it takes a lot of time. I've spent 5 years re-wiring my brain to being this way and it will take time to re-wire it into something more manageable. But I am seeing slow progression and that brings me a large amount of hope (though there is still a lot of doubt as well)