Lately, I have had to look at myself very closely. I have had to examine what I can do and what I struggle to do. I have had to examine how I move through the world.
I have created a myriad of coping strategies that help me to move through the world and feel safe. I don’t think about what I do anymore. It just is what it is. I have done some amazing things by utilizing my coping skills. One of the big ones for me has always been the anxiety attacks I feel when I have to go somewhere I have not established as a safe place. Safe places for me are the places that I have been to so often that they are part of my safety bubble.
The way I am able to do things that are not in my safety bubble is by creating a safety buddy system. I have someone I trust to go with me when I go places. This person’s sole job is to make sure I am safe and to help me get somewhere safe if I start to panic.
Someone asked me if I go places by myself. I told them that general I don’t. This person had seen me out in the word numerous times. But they had never realized that I always had someone with me. Usually, the person with me is one of my children or my husband. Not something that would otherwise draw attention. When I journeyed to New York, I was with a very excellent safety buddy, my friend Diana. I drove to Diana’s house with a stop midway at my daughter’s place. I didn’t go anywhere else. I was with her the whole time. I also held onto her arm.
When I went to school, I would find someone safe to be with or one of my children would come for the day to be with me during the residency. I also made the fact that I had a problem with new places and new people known to the people who could help me. The entire staff was very supportive and helpful. This made going to school possible. That and I only had to be around people for eight days. The rest was done from home.
This is just one of the many things I do to keep safe. Looking at all the things I can’t do or struggle to do has left me feeling broken. I don’t usually feel broken. Mostly because I know that I am not broken. I have some dents and cracks, but I am not broken. However, when your focus is only on the things in your life that are your struggle, it is hard to not think that you are broken.
I like to think about the ways I am integrating into the world. I try hard not to focus on the panic, the nightmares, lack of sleep, the depression, and anxiety. When I do focus on those, it seems to be all I see, and I can’t see the good parts. I can’t see that I am well into finishing my novel, that I have started to create quilts again, or that I have started to bake again.
Where I place my focus is where I am. Staying in the land of the hard part has been draining and exhausting. Today the sun is up, and I am enjoying the light. I will continue to do all the things that I can do. I am going to go to that reading this weekend. I just have to decide on the lucky person who gets to accompany me.