Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I can walk!

My crutch has been completely discarded, and now I'm finding out how wobbly I am when walking without it. I say completely discarded, because I've realised that over the last few months I have still been having moments of comfort eating; but these last ten days, I've had none. And its made a huge difference, to everything.

My emotions are letting me know just how strong they can be. Not only that, they're letting me know that they have other physical manifestations than tears. These physical sensations I'd never allowed myself to feel before, because they are unpleasant. Far easier to eat until I'm unable to eat anymore and feel that accustomed and easily identifiable awfulness, than these weird “inexplicable” sensations.

Loneliness: Aches in chest - front and back. Tight pressure behind my eyes. Heart in the throat feeling that leads to a slight cough. Restlessness coupled with a feeling of not being able to place where I've put something, but not knowing what the something is I've misplaced. Once I identified this feeling as loneliness, rather than anxiety, I was able to sob into the sink, and various other places, over the course of making our dinner last night.

Anxiety: Tingles, shortness of breath, restlessness, tension headache, LACK of hunger, nausea, need to pee a lot, and heart palpitations.

Shock: Shivering, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, lowered temperature.

Anger: Tightness in the chest and shoulders. Burning in the gullet. The need to lash out at whatever's making me angry. Jaw aches. Tears. The need to defend what I consider mine. The need to have things done right when I want them completed and how I want them done. Intolerance for any irritation.

Happiness: Warmth and light feeling in the chest. Sometimes the need for tears. Relaxed. Confident.

I wanted to add In Control to the happiness list, but that's what's gotten me into this mess in the first place. Somewhere along the line, somehow, I learned that negative emotions aren't to be felt, they're to be controlled. Not controlled until you felt safe and appropriate to let them out; control them, full stop! The only way I taught myself to control them was to ignore them by eating them away.

So many times over the past month I've had to sheepishly admit to Alaskaboy, just after I'd either finished bawling or was about to commence, that I'd been carrying my stiff upper lip for the few days/weeks prior. We're both beginning to loathe that overly-starched part of my body, for it gives us both a false sense of how I'm handling situations.

This week both the starch for my lip and the wind in my sails have been nonexistent. But so too has my crutch. I'm learning to walk all on my own, and it's been a very scary process. Partly because at first I was too damn stubborn for ask for someone to hold my hand. It's gotten easier knowing that Alaskaboy has been there both on the phone, and in person, when I've actually deigned to ask for assistance through the slippery bits. He also trusts me enough to believe me when I say, “Okay, I'd like to try it by myself for a bit.” Sometimes I ran a bit before I needed his help again, and others I promptly fell straight over. I'm learning to accept that it is all part of the process. I'm rehabilitating myself from an injury I've had for a very long time. I would only offer help and compassion to someone who's learning to walk after a physical injury; why did I feel that I didn't deserve the same consideration for this emotional one?

The other day, when the phone was finally connected, I actually admitted to my mother how awful I'd been feeling. I didn't try and be 'all grown up' and pretend that I had a handle on things. Because I certainly didn't, at that point. And you know what? It felt fabulous to ask for help. Instead of feeling immature for crying to my Mummy for help, I felt incredibly mature. I was admitting that I trusted her with the real me, and trusted myself enough to be the real me.

Today, the real me feels like a cross between several different people: a kid on her first day of school, right before she walks into that class room; someone summoning up the courage to ask their crush out on a date; a prisoner set free into the big wide world after years behind bars; and like someone watching the television for their winning numbers to come up during the weekly lotto draw.

I've lived here four years now, and in many ways I feel like I've only just now stepped off the plane. This time, without my crutch to lean on. I have no more excuses to hold me back from going out and making my own life here, rather than living vicariously through my husband, neighbours and friends. I've come to a pretty major crossroad, and to mix my metaphors, I can either shit, or get off the pot. Continue as I have been, gradually working my way down the road to becoming an agoraphobic recluse. Or getting out into the world and making my own friends, getting a part time job to help contribute to this family, and in general living my life, rather than merely existing. Because in all honesty, that's what I have been doing these last few years. Existing in a kind of limbo until I felt strong enough to venture forth on my own.

Many of my issues have been dealt with, but they'll never fully be resolved until I can get out and do things that have burnt me in the past. Yes, I have had bad jobs and bad relationships, but I've also had good ones. Why am I still letting my bad memories control my future happiness? Because it was easy. Crutches usually always are easier to use than standing proudly on one's own two feet. Easier to blame others for my failures, than admit I was afraid.

So, it's with a strange achy feeling, that I've yet to identify, in my gullet, that I bid goodbye to my crutches, and say hello to Courageous Me. It's high time I took my personal philosophy, “Ask; then at least you'll have an answer.” and applied it to things other than questions. “Do; then you'll have a chance of succeeding.”

ETA: I swam a whole kilometre today in the pool! Big improvement on last two attempts where I managed 300m and 450m respectively. :D

2 Nibbles:

Joc said...

Wow what a fantastic post, you have made huge strides in the last little while. You sound so centred, and happy. I am so looking forward to getting where you are.

I loved your previous post too, but I have spent far to long unsuccessfully trying to come up with a witty response that cues in with the "force" :-)

One kilometre in the pool!! Go you that is awesome. (how many laps did that equate to?)


Kada said...

It's been hard, Joc. So many things I've had to learn about myself, my past, and the way I cope with things. Even though it's been an intense few months, I wouldn't give them back for the world. They're precious to me now, even though I hated them as I went through them.

I felt like that, at the time, no matter what I did, I was sinking deeper and deeper, when in fact I was flying higher and higher. But the thing about flying higher, is the air gets thinner, and you need time to adjust to how to interact in this bright new world you've discovered. :) I have faith you'll get there, one flap of your wings at a time, just like I have. And then, fly on to the next part of the adventure.

HEHEHEHE Doesn't matter how witty, unwitty or corny it would have been, I'd have loved it!

One kilometre did feel awesome, especially since last week at one point I was too "weak" to do anything except lay around the house and cry, then sleep. Literally.

I think the pool is approx 25 feet long, so to get a kilometre, it took me one hundred and thirty one laps. I swam a couple extra, just in case I'd miss counted.

Actually the pool is too short for me to do freestyle or backstroke, as I go too fast and get dizzy with the amount of turns I have to do. So, I stick with breaststroke, butterfly, kickboard and thigh buoy work. I'm thinking of getting some water aerobics dumb bells and having a go with them too! LOL

Do you like to swim?