I write this post last night after a big day of self-care.
Last Sunday I found myself behaving in a way that was disregulated. Nothing in particular had prompted this PTSD relapse, but wiring hindsight, I see I had been ignoring signs of growing stress and emotional dysregulation for some weeks.
Monday is my day off with my son so I tried to draw on the things that bring me energy and help me to heal. We spent the morning going for a long bushwalk and collecting dead leaves and Banksia pods for craft. While Amory had his lunchtime nap, I did Pilates and we then spent the afternoon in the sunshine at the beach. That evening I did a few digital sketches before calling a friend.
Anyone who has been following me for awhile knows that this is my recipe for self-healing: movement, creativity, light and vulnerability - reaching out to my support network and telling them when I’m not coping.
With the support of my husband, I had already booked back in to see my psychiatrist after a short hiatus. But things went downhill again Monday night and once again I was in a deep state of dysregulation. I was hurting.
I have had a bit of difficulty recovering since then. At some point, I will do a post to talk about medication and the difficult relationship that I have with it. Because that is what this has come back to. In talking to my psychiatrist, she tells me this experience is very normal for people who come off their medicine. It was an unwise move I made. It’s part of a longer pattern I have had where I start to feel better and want ‘that poison’ out of my body so I can get on with healing the way I like to – which is very much driven by a natural, more holistic look way of looking at my health.
I hope that in time I will reconcile myself to the fact that medication is also part of that healing. For the moment I’m back on a new cocktail of drugs to get me through this current period of dysregulation until my longer term medicine starts kicking in again.
I thought I would set out on my own blueprint for healing, for anyone else who is hurting, for anyone else who is fighting and so tired but keeps fighting anyway because they don’t want to let PTSD overcome them.
Since Sunday I have made a point of moving every day. I’ve gone for a run, I’ve done yoga, I have done Pilates, I’ve been on bushwalks. I’ve done anything I can to get a little surge of endorphins, in the hope that adding those into the chemical mix of my body will start moving me in the right direction. Running in particular is something that gives me a lot of solace because it is also quite mindful. I’ve had less luck with yoga recently. Myself practice hasn’t been as rigourous as it should be as I have instead been focused on my Pilates studies, I tried out a local studio down here in the Illawarra today but it was a bit of a dud so it’s back to the drawing board for me
I’m currently sitting on the porch on our back deck looking up to the escarpment with my legs and tummy out soaking in the sun. When I say light I don’t just mean sunshine, I mean air, I mean breathing, I mean nature, I mean seeing things that are green and wet and wild. I mean taking myself out of an artificial environment like my house and getting back somewhere that I can ground myself, where I can take my shoes off and feel the earth and breath the air and start to rebalance.
My main creative outlet is writing. It feels a lot better when I can express myself. As the words start to leave my mouth it’s almost like a hot warm fullness settles into my chest in the place of that cold anxiety. I have recently added to this doing some short video snippets for Instagram reels and digital art, which I am particularly loving. I have been doing some digital sketching and then layering them with imagery that makes me happy and words that I wish I had written myself.
This is the hardest one. What is different about this relapse versus others is that I was the first one to put my hand up and say I need help. That meant having vulnerable conversations with my husband, my mum, and even my manager at work in order to best position myself for healing and recovery. Even in talking to my psychiatrist I had to be brave and take the courage to honest and tell her that I stuffed up. The reason I’m in this mess is because I decided I was well enough without medicine and took myself off it.
I don’t have the happy ending to the story that I am looking for as yet. This is just my blueprint for recovering from a relapse into post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is different for different people, I am not a mental health professional. I am a mum, a writer, a survivor, and someone who is just trying their hardest to not only survive but to actually live.