Tag Archives: coping strategies

Getting Back on Track?

I have wandered fairly far afield in the past 2-3 months. That is, I’ve nearly stopped posting the weekly “to do” list, stopped thinking about or working on my larger, long-term goals, except in a spotty fashion.

I haven’t done a concerted purge for the tally in the past few days, either.

The house is staying cleaner, which is great, but for more than a month I’ve been doing whatever was in front of me, instead of trying to make the work I do count towards my bigger, long-term goals.

I know why: I’ve been fighting off exhaustion and depression. Rather than simply ignoring it and trying to push it away, a couple of days ago I finally sent an “I need help!” email to my nearest friends. I got what I needed, that is, a reminder that I’m not alone, there are people in my corner. In the recent past, except for real crisis, I haven’t asked for help much (or at least that’s my perception). I had a good therapist, and that’s what I used her for, I leaned on her, and our session recharged my batteries about 2x a month, and usually, that was enough.

She retired in June. The idea of establishing a new relationship with someone else after 15 years with the same person was just exhausting. Also, the people she recommended did not appeal to me at all for various reasons. Maybe in person that would be different, but the short bio forms, much of it a sales pitch, just left me cold. This means I haven’t gotten a new therapist.

Unknown to me, my energy started to fade. When I finally realized what was going on last week, I saw that it was like a slow drain of my energy and enthusiasm. I think of myself as a self-starter, but I need energy shots or something from others. Didn’t realize that those energy shots were a lot of what I was getting from my therapy. It was my 2 hours a month to be as whiney and selfish as I wanted. For someone with PTSD, or at least for me, it was a time/place to talk about all the ways/places/times that others pushed those buttons and how I should or did deal with them.

Because my flashback is a 3 year old’s grief, I have as I say, ” a grieving 3 year old, caught in the amber of my psyche.” Accordingly  my PTSD reactions to things are almost always inappropriate! Having a safe place to start there and then see/figure the more reasoned response was a blessing I’ve now lost. That created another drain, as I’ve been monitoring myself and my behavior in ways I hadn’t had to for a long time.

All of this and a few other things created a situation where I’ve been fighting off depression and exhaustion. I’m glad I finally realized what was going on and asked for help. I’m not sure what a long-term fix is, as I really don’t think I can do this every six months for the rest of my life, any more than I think I can afford a therapist 2x a month forever either, even assuming I had one.

I need to find new answers.

In the meantime, I need to get back on track: purging, culling, cleaning, and moving towards a time/space where I can do whatever’s next, even if it’s just dying.

Flotsam, Jetsam, & Lagan Checklist

This one is for decluttering the house, rather than the structure. If you look at the last post I determined that that structure itself and the asst. stuff which floats around the house are my two biggest challenges. When I was making up today’s checklist I quickly realized that I had ONE category of “stuff” in every single room:

dumped items.

That is, items which were out of place or have no place to be put away.

This one is set up monthly, and until the house gets actually cleaned and organized, I’m going to try and tackle at least 2 of the functional areas (I call them rooms; you wouldn’t.) of my home a month. I don’t know if this will work or lean on the PTSD too much, but I’m going to try it. It helps that the laundry room has been done already once this month. It needs freshening up still , but that’s  matter of an hour or two rather than a day or two!

clutter cloud

(Image from image.google.com)

If/when  I get through with the dining room, there will be my two rooms for the month. That means I can either keep going or stop — and that will let the PTSD calm down a bit if it’s needed.

I’ve found that more than 1/2 of dealing with the PTSD is management. As much as I hate it sometimes, well a lot of times, there just isn’t any way around it that I’ve found. The only way I can do this, or do any change which significantly alters the protective structures I’d set up as a small kid, is to go in fits & starts.

It makes me frustrated as can be at times, but that’s what it is. My body needs time to be sure the new behavior, whatever it may be, isn’t dangerous. So, I have to make the change, then stop, wait to see if it seems okay, then continue with the change, then stop for a shorter amount of time, then continue, then stop . . . until I don’t have to stop anymore. Changing your habits takes a long, long time this way. But, if you’re me, then the changes can “take,” instead of coming and  the going, usually accompanied with a large dose of forgetfulness or a type of amnesia I guess, about the new behavior.

This is one of the main reasons why it has taken me so long, 50+ years, to deal with the kid crap. Having people tell me to “grow up,” or “Give it to God,” or “get over it” isn’t helpful because I can’t change how fast my body processes new behavior. And, because the trauma is a small child’s, in my case there is no rationalization possible. It’s pain/terror or nurture. Not much else. I don’t know how this compares with people who got PTSD as adults. I don’t know what it’s like if your body remembers other ways as a significant part of your life. Sometimes I think it might be better and at times I’m sure it’s worse, but I don’t know in any case!

More to do . . .


Here’s a link to the wiki definition of the terms I named this post after btw: (link)