Chilly wind is darting through the gum trees this morning. I’m wrapped in flannels and warm socks, sipping coffee topped with thick foam, and letting my soul rest.
I was recently diagnosed with severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and depression. It turns out that when a lot of bad things happen over a long period of time, those things wreak havoc with your body and spirit and leave you rather battered.
There was a time I would’ve been ashamed to say what I am dealing with, but not anymore. Instead I feel hope and gratitude and peace.
I’ve been hanging on for dear life for so long, trying to be strong enough, wise enough, good enough, trying to press on with joy and courage and kindness no matter how bad things got, thinking somehow that if I could just think the right thing or be the right thing it would all get better. But now I can just rest. I don’t have to hang on any more. I can be at peace knowing that I am OK, that I will be OK, that this is just something I have to work through and that one day the darkness will pass and I won’t have to search for the light, it will be all around me.
In the meantime, I’m doing what I can to make it as easy as possible for my dear ol’ self to get better. The time for adventuring and throwing myself headlong into projects will come again, but for now I am resting and embracing things that nourish and restore and strengthen.
I’m sticking close to the people I know are safe and trying to love them as beautifully as they’ve loved me through this difficult time.
I’m setting healthy boundaries after finally finding the courage to say no to situations that suck the life out of me, and yes to those that support all that is good, healing, and loving in my life.
I’m writing, writing, writing without judgment or editing, just getting it all out so the bad things don’t have power anymore. (Don’t worry – I won’t foist such ramblings on you. :-))
I’m giving myself good things to look forward to: breakfast dates with Bear, thrift store hunting with my girls, and camping trips with dear friends.
I’m celebrating signs of progress: a sleep without nightmares, successfully navigating a panic attack, the return of creativity.
I’m embracing my artistic side now that I’m getting the strength to do stuff again. I’m sewing and painting and taking pictures of everything that delights me, and it feels so good.
I’m also getting out into nature as often as possible. There are few things more restorative than sunshine, fresh air, salt water, and the woods. Yesterday I got up early and my dog Luna and I watched the sun come up, turning the fields into rippling waves of glowing gold.
Today I pulled on wellies and slipped a plaid flannel shirt over my sundress and went out to my rather wildly overgrown garden. It was so good to potter in the dirt for a while, pulling weeds and plants past their prime, filling bowls with gorgeous purple beans and tiny cherry tomatoes.
The ducks and chooks gathered outside the garden, happily tucking into the vegetation I tossed over the fence.
I love working outside in this sort of weather, ominous clouds scudding by overhead as buffeting winds make the world feel wild and untamed.
It does my soul good.
I’ve been reading some incredible things lately, beautiful, powerful words that heal deep wounds and bring hope. I am treasuring the book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves“. I can’t begin to describe the work it has wrought in my heart as I continue the lifelong journey of soul-reclamation. This post by Susannah Conway is so good for generating ideas for self-care in the real world and I cherish this post by my friend Rain who writes so exquisitely about the secret life of joy.
I’ve been continuing my quest to build happy things into my life every day. Yesterday was this new pair of polka dot wellies. Aren’t they outrageously cheerful?
My project this week is filling my life with amazing women who inspire, challenge, and delight me. I started a list of them – both fictional and real-life – and yesterday my friend Lizzy urged me to print out their pictures for my Inspiration Board (aka – cheap ol’ bulletin board I cover with things that inspire me).
So that’s what I’m doing and it makes me smile to see their brave, beautiful, weathered faces up there. It’s like having your own set of cheerleaders inspiring you to all that is noble and courageous and loving.
Whose photos would you tack up on your Inspiration Board?