Sometimes forward…sometimes back
Some days having complex PTSD is harder to deal with than others. The past few weeks have had a few days like that. One of my limitations is travelling on public transport during peek times. I inevitably end up having a panic attack or being so anxious by the time I get to where I’m going, it takes ages for me to settle and it’s just plain exhausting. And then I can’t stop thinking about the journey home again.
I haven’t been able to catch the train to work for over a year now. But my car was in for repair and I had no alternative when I needed to get to the office. I am fortunate and grateful that I have the kind of job where I can work remotely. But one day, I had 3 important project meetings so had to go in and another day was summoned in for another range of meetings.
I mistakenly thought the train would not be busy at the time of the day I travelled in – 8:45 am – so was seriously stressed by the time I reached the city – a 50 minute ride. I had to stand aside on the platform for a few minutes before I could face the walk to the office. I have to take 3 escalators on my way out of the station and I wait patiently at the bottom of each one for all the people to clear. By now I am hyper-alert and have to take the least populated route to the office.
I am trying to practice my newly learned strategies but sometimes the anxiety is so high it’s all i can do to breathe never mind remember what else to do. I stop, take some deep breaths, and start focusing on what I can hear, see, smell. I don’t drown out the sounds with my headphones as i sometimes do – i want to be able to hear trouble when it comes. I remind myself i am safe – I am not in a war zone. The trip to the office has worn me out and I still have to function enough to get through these meetings and get myself home again. Days like this require sheer will-power to get through – I grit my teeth and press on because the alternative is to surrender to the fear and if I do that I will never get well.
A friend recently sent me a card with this quote which I think depicts me on days like these – Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says ‘I will try again tomorrow’ – ANON. Each day has it’s challenge with this illness, and I frequently end my day with a whimper but determined to try again tomorrow.