Mental Health

Fifty-seven days ’til spring

"Spring Flowers" © Billy Wilson, 2010. CC BY-NC 2.0.
Spring Flowers” © Billy Wilson, 2010. CC BY-NC 2.0.
I bought a two-month trial at a yoga studio near my office. It runs out the day after the vernal equinox. I’m trying hard to grab onto anything that may be able to propel me out of winter. Ever-hopeful late afternoon stretch breaks are exactly what my routine has been missing.

At 4:30 in the morning I climb out of bed and stumble to the gym before I have time to form any feelings about the day. For an hour I lift weights and blast music through earbuds. I climb onto an elliptical and only briefly curse my once-again hurt foot that’s preventing me from running. Forty-five minutes. I shower, eat, and walk out the door regardless of where I’m heading.

The less I’m at home the better I function. I go to my coworking space, hang out at coffee shops with Mason, and take walks with Alyssa. I meet with my therapist twice a week now and together we try to unravel a lifetime of habits and a faulty belief system.

It’s a constant struggle. I often catch myself wondering if any of it is for anything. There is nothing broken here. There is nothing to fix. All I’m trying to do is understand. Trying to find out what needs I was filling with things that did not fit. In a text message to an old friend I say, “It’s weird because, ultimately, all we’re saying is, ‘Here’s the foundation you’ve built your entire existence on. It’s shitty, but you built your entire existence on it, so good luck with that.'”

There’s a part of me that thinks realizing why I do the things I do and hold the truths I do will help me let them go. If I know why I developed a habit, a trait, a belief that does not serve me then maybe I can find a better way to meet that need. A more effective way to say the things I’m feeling or wanting or wish I could get from somebody.

But I know that I can’t hold on too tight to that hope. Maybe we will hash this all out, take it all apart and inspect every element, and be left still not knowing how to change any of it. Maybe the foundation always just stays the same. And I’m going to have to get used to the idea that that’s okay, too.

Sitting on the couch in my therapist’s office, my legs curled under me, I stare at the plants in the corner. Not avoiding eye contact, but not making it either. He tells me he’s changed my main diagnosis on my insurance claims again and my stomach gets all up in knots when he starts talking about PTSD.

Post traumatic stress disorder. I wobble in and out of focus. Part of me hoping that naming something makes a difference. Part of me knowing it doesn’t change anything. And a third little voice talking low, “Post. Post. Post. It’s over. That’s promising.”

15 thoughts on “Fifty-seven days ’til spring

  1. Have you noticed that to days are slightly longer? Practicality all of my patients have.. and they point it out all the time. There’s hope..

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  2. “At 4:30 in the morning I climb out of bed and stumble! to the gym before I have time to form any feelings about the day.”

    Big yes from me, regarding exercise. Harder to not form those same kind of thoughts about our past.

    So well said.

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  3. I heard starlings this week in the tree. There are frogs croaking at night. The light is just a half percent brighter and cleaner and warmer. I don’t put my coat on before going from house to car- I toss it into the passenger seat just in case. It’s slow in coming, but it’s coming.

    Wherever you go, your past goes with you, Ruby. But it doesn’t have to be something done to you. You can own it. Diagnosis means you can stop making blind stabs in the dark and proceed with purpose from here. You’ve got this. I’ve always looked up to you.

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  4. PTSD. Identified and manageable. Like you I am counting the days until spring. Thank you for your post – you are inspiring. Knowing that there are others also struggling to get through winter somehow helps me.

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    1. That is so good to hear, Paul.

      My therapist and I were talking today and he asked, “Why have a blog? Why not just write in a journal?”

      I said, “People read it and sometimes they relate. And that makes me feel less alone. And I hope that maybe it makes them feel less alone, too.”

      Thank you.

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