Arctic wastes

Broken Plastic_sHoliday weekend. Tacked on to the end of my long sick leave so it’s rather wasted on me. Yesterday was one of those ice box days where walkers venturing out actually smiled at each other as fellow travellers, braving the arctic wastes. Kind of fun.

I have been battling depression once again. I went back to the basics, and it’s worked out well. The basics are veggies and protein, light, walking outside, sleep, a bit of human contact. I know this sounds basic, but I forget it when I’m depressed.  Just helping my sluggish biology along as best I can, helps. You’d think it’s superficial, but it’s not.

The second part of it is calming down and not focusing on the dark side. Not the time to figure out the meaning of life or lack thereof. Jazz music, TV and movies, and trying to relax.

With PTSD, my system is permanently revved up, so the job is to try to relax, to feel like everything is basically safe, that there is no danger  currently. A part of me thinks we still live in desperate circumstances, so I have to counteract that, do things that make me feel safe, watch my breathing sometimes.

Whatever I decide about group and therapy will be OK. I want to be sure it’s all helping me along. If it’s not, I don’t want to keep going just because that’s my habit. For now, I’ll be going back this week and seeing how that goes.

I know I have to do other things to heal besides showing up for therapy, I really do. Stuff like this relaxing. Maybe some massage and maybe I’ll try yoga again.

Ron’s philosophy of feeling all your feelings all of the time doesn’t really work for me. I need to be able to put bad feelings on the back burner at times, so I can have a life. I need to calm my system down. I still think it’s great to feel more, and to feel bad stuff in therapy, but I’m not interested in feeling terrible all the time. I don’t think that helps me or anyone else.

Art: Digital Expressionism

  1. laura said:

    Hi Ellen, it seems as if you haven’t mentioned your nausea for some time, is that still happening? It sounds like you feel well, in this post, that’s great. Did you find out what was causing it?
    I think the thing about ‘feeling your feelings’ doesn’t mean to wallow in feeling bad until it somehow passes on its own, but to pay attention, locate it in your body, investigate, try to understand where it’s coming from, and if it’s a nameless fear, or an irrational something, to recognize it, name it – and then take steps to make yourself feel better. Anger will generally pass quickly on its own unless you’re feeding the flames with a story. If it’s loneliness, or something you can do something about, then do something about it. this is the approach, rather than avoiding the first whiff of uncomfortable feelings.

    • Ellen said:

      The nausea is mostly better. It may be a B12 deficiency.

      Yes, mindfulness. It’s actually not a part of Ron’s approach to therapy.

  2. Hey Ellen. Have been reading your posts faithfully, as always, but don’t have stuff to offer every time so I’ve been keeping quiet lately.

    However, when it comes to this newest couple of updates, I just want to say that I think it’s good for you to trust yourself. You live your life 24/7 and nobody can tell you what’s best–not a therapist, not me, nobody.

    Whatever tool you use, it’s only as good as you use it. I have friends who go to therapy and lie or hide things or make excuses. They’ve done years of therapy with seemingly little results.

    At the same time, almost any tool can be useful if you bring real heart and dedication and intention to using that tool to further your progress and understanding of your experience in life (therapy, yoga, group hugs, whatever!).

    It’s hard when most of us–at least, I can speak for myself–I was kind of taught when I was a kid that I was a crappy person and bad and that my feelings were untrustworthy or to be ignored. I often blamed myself for my feelings and emotions that were negative, etc.

    But in the end, feelings are not “right” or “wrong.” Feelings are just something I have, and something I need to make sense of in my own way. It seems like many times I’m so fixated on whether or not I’m right about something.

    Who cares if my feelings are right or not? There’s no such thing. So I go by my feelings, always knowing that they are not necessarily the truth, but just what I am listening to at this moment, and certain to change the next moment.

    Although listening or responding to my inner feelings has certainly been helpful for me, it’s also not the end-all be-all.

    Feelings and thoughts come and go. They change all the time, from one day or even one hour to the next. They are unpredictable and unstable. But there is something that is aware of the thoughts and feelings, and when I breathe and relax I am able to occasionally tap into that part of me which is actually just experiencing all of this. It’s not a particular feeling, or thought, or belief. It just is happening right now. And it’s no big deal. 🙂

    And that is a relief. I think you are on the right path because you are beginning to listen to yourself, and that’s a good thing, Ellen. Congrats.

    • Ellen said:

      I like the approach. These things are all tools. It’s taken me a long time to feel my feelings in the first place, and now I’m starting to follow and act on some of them, a bit of an experiment. My childhood was similar. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. A really great way of explaining this. Take care

  3. Ruth said:

    Depression and PTSD suck… I find that sometimes the just suck the life out of me too. Sounds like back to basics is a great idea. I am glad you are finding human contact. Going back to Group may give you a different perspective. Wild suggestion, ask the group what they think about the direction it is going in. I actually did that with a group I was in. I found a good friend and also found out that several of the other members felt like I did. Sounds like you are looking for things that work for you. You are doing great….before you argue with me remind yourself that you just had cancer surgery, you are working with parts hanging around, you are working through a very tough challenge – PTSD and you are smiling and saying hi to people that are out in Arctic weather. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      I might ask that question Ruth. Thanks for the positive perspective. Hugs

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