I've felt stronger and more capable this year. There is a direct parallel between my awareness of limits and my ability to accomplish things. I know what I can give and how much is too much. It has been incredibly self-reinforcing for me to give myself permission to do or not do.
With Chris's accident on Friday, Mom needed help shopping for Christmas Eve and Day dinners. Becca and I did that and again, I was confident in my ability to know when enough was enough. We did a great job and all things flowed well. Christmas Eve I wanted to go shopping for a few things. I wanted to test myself and my skills - to see if I could manage my anxiety and conversion symptoms under increased stress. Truly with God's help I did amazing! 3/4ths of the way through my shopping trip at Kohl's I realized I was panicking. In the moment I was able to talk to myself, "You're going to be ok. You really are. You have your cold water in the car. You can take your anxiety medicine. Oh, you're hot. You can sit in front of the AC in the car and rest. You're doing great. You really are! Breathe. You're going to be ok because you just are." I was so happy with my ability to talk myself off the "Cliff of Panic" and back to a safe zone where I could manage my symptoms. I realized after cooling down in the car that I was hungry - so I gave myself permission to eat out. The whole experience was really very validating of all the hard work I've done in DBT over the past 3 1/2 years and reinforced to me that I have the skills to cope with life.
One of the coolest things that's happening is that I have energy after coming home from errands. Even as recently as 4 months ago, I was toast after 2 errands and had to come home to nap for 2-3 hours. Now, I'm switching to a more normal routine - I sleep better if I don't nap and I'm able to do cooking/baking/cleaning after errands if I give myself 10-15 minutes of "sit and stare chair time." How amazing is that?? For years, I honestly thought I would never be able to function without a daily nap. I didn't think I would be able to do more than 1 or 2 things in a day. I thought I would always have psychogenic seizures. Because of these thoughts my life seemed pretty doomed. I'm stunned to say that I was wrong! Promises of healing from God are happening! Not in the way or time I expected, but they are coming. I see being able to shop at 3 different stores, come home and make 3 different dishes for dinner, and clean up after dinner as a huge healing! Last year I wasn't able to do one of those things - and if you had told me, "In a year, you're going to do 7 different big things in a day!" I would've started to cry - because I thought I knew there was no way that would ever be possible.
To my joy, it has been possible! I'm so grateful for the rhythmic flow of life. Yesterday was Christmas - Chris is bed-bound for the next few weeks and Sarah got really sick. So we all "flowed" with the day. Stockings, church, breakfast for lunch, presents, naps, and we gave ourselves permission to not make Christmas dinner! It was amazing. We did that tonight - it flowed so well. I was extremely pleased with our flexibility as a family. This has been an odd Christmas in the sense that one of our loved ones was in a serious accident 3 days before Christmas. It changed everything. But we adjusted and moved slowly accordingly.
I am doing better and better at living in the moment. Being present and attentive to the here and now. Tomorrow will take care of itself and yesterday has passed. So I'll just be here for now.
I am not angry or dreading the new year like I was last year. Oh my word. I read my post in December of last year and January of this year. WoW. I look back at myself with compassion. The me then was terrified and depressed. Two horrible feelings to have together. Life had lost so much of its meaning for me. But, I kept going. I remember how sad January was. The whole month I was afraid and depressed - "afressed." But I survived it and went on to conquer 6 months of exposure therapy - launch a successful GoFundMe campaign (THANK YOU FOR DONATING!!!) - go on 5 different trips - make tons of fun crafts for Christmas gifts - and I could go on and on. There have been so many big and little things that have happened this year. Some of my favorite little things have been becoming in-tune with my body. I have been able to talk to my body calmly and compassionately. For example, a few weeks ago I had been sick for 2 weeks. I literally couldn't stop going to the bathroom. I prayed for help in understanding what was wrong and then talked to my body, "Body, I know you're hurting. I am aware that something is making you unhappy. I really want to help you get better. Please help me understand what is wrong so I can fix it for you." Later that day I was able to identify a supplement I was taking too much of, adjust the dosage and ta-da! I was better. Showing compassion to my body has been a huge step for me. This time last year I was writing about how much I hated my body. But within the last two months, a love for my body has been growing. I see myself as beautiful. I see my body as a tool to help me live my life to its fullest. When it's sick, that's feedback for me. That's my opportunity to look at it with compassion and say, "Yes, you've been working so hard, you're doing so much for me, what can I do to help you feel better and be more efficient?" I love being kind to my body. It's been a blessing to have compassion for myself.
This year, I can say with confidence, "I'm not where I was a year ago and I'm not where I'll be in a year!"
I'm going to enter 2017 with an open curiosity for life. I will not spend time worrying about issues that are out of my hand. Instead I will invest my energy in positive, uplifting thoughts and activities.
Maybe the Best really is yet to come. :)