It’s been a hot minute.
I’m happy to report that I am feeling so much better overall, and have been feeling better since around…June?
It’s weird to look back on one’s own mental health journey because my memory is all warped and anxiety/depression lies. I notice little things that are different (which are really big things), like feeling excited for the day instead of dreading having to leave my house.
I’ve made serious gains and had a few breakthroughs in figuring out how to heal from trauma and self-regulate and reparent myself, many of which are hard to describe. One recent example is realizing just how triggered I am by chaos/loud screaming/joyful play by children. To back up, a few years ago, my friend and I were watching our kids play together. It was loud. There was running and screaming and throwing and mess. I was tense. I was on alert. I was gritting my teeth. (but I wasn’t aware of this at the time.) My friend turned to me and said, “Isn’t this great?!” I looked at her like she was nuts. No. No, this was not great. This was the opposite of great.
Fast forward to when I told my therapist this story and she declared that chaos felt unsafe to me. Holy shit. We unpacked this and she introduced the concept of “healthy chaos.” My mind latched onto this phrase. It sounded so foreign. It was an oxymoron.
Anyways, I’ve worked on this enough to be able to, 1) realize I’m being triggered, 2) name my feeling, 3) identify the situation for what it is. (is this truly unsafe? am I ok? are my kids ok? yup, we’re all ok. 4) label it as healthy chaos and self-soothe.
Trauma survivors, I see you.
The best part about all of this is that I’m able to take these skills and apply them straight to the raising of my kids. It brought me to tears when I realized that I am saying things to my kids that I, myself, desperately needed to hear as a kid. It’s all connected.
And so, I find myself thankful and more optimistic as of late. Heck, I even bought a shirt that says, “What if it all works out?” because shit, that speaks to me. It’s about time I bought a shirt with a positive saying on it instead of “leave me alone,” “dead inside,” “go fuck off.” You know what I mean.
Even so, there’s a part of me that’s always a bit scared. Scared the bad will creep back in again. With the coming of Fall and cold and darkness, comes this feeling of panic, if I’m honest. But. I have more tools this trip around the sun. I have more insight. I have things to look forward to.
Am I ok? Am I safe?
Right now: yup.