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Shifting Gears

Learning how to listen to your body is a whole big thing. Just when I feel like I'm doing pretty good, I realise I don't know as much as I thought I did - or that I'm not paying as close attention as I thought I was. I've been settling into a new rhythm after last week's revelation that I've been (basically) in survival mode. I'm so grateful for my friends, they are so good at pointing to those patterns in too close to to see.

One of the things I've realised is that survival mode looks different for me now than it did 5 years ago. That's actually encouraging. I used too have a lot more brain fog and a lot lower tolerance for continuing on with the needful things. I used to be so exhausted, that I'd perpetually be in tears. I used to have a resting heart rate near 100 BPM and be able to feel the epinephrine in my bloodstream.

This time, it felt more like I was always on the brink of developing a cold. I have been (and still am) socially withdrawn, low energy, and have no interest in cooking meals. I've been interpreting all of this as simply worn thin - starting a new business, maintaining most of my case load, and not getting any holidays will do that. On top of that, my husband is starting on some new medication that looks to be incredibly helpful, but my goodness does it come with a lot of life adjustments! We've had to put nearly everything on pause while we just wait to see how his meds will settle out. And adjusting to new things is incredibly difficult for both of us - he's autistic, and my developmental trauma makes me sensitive to change.

One of my best mindfulness activities is to sit alone by a fire, and I finally had time to do that on Thursday. After two hours by the fire, I went back inside to hang out with my husband for the remainder of the evening. That's when my body decided I was safe enough to kick in my fight/flight response. My heart rate spiked, the epinephrine hit my system, I felt jittery.... It was such unique timing for that familiar experience. So I did what I do to calm my nervous system and my next day was actually really fun and really satisfying.

I need to remember that I adapted so that I have trouble noticing stress. I need to remember to accommodate for the physiological facts, regardless of what I think or feel at the time. I need to rely of my friends and family to point out what I'm not seeing. My plan from here is to build in my backyard fire moments, take pressure of myself for making progress on writing (without giving up on it), and giving myself permission to be in survival mode right now - it's okay to be in survival mode, I just need to make sure I engage with it in as healthy a way as I can.

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