Since I started EMDR therapy a few weeks ago, a lot of stuff has been coming up. As a result, it’s been hard for me to write here.
Yesterday was a really tough day.
I cried for most of it.
I’m not depressed per se, but I have days where I cry a lot, as emotions I’d kept under lock and key for decades come pouring out. Where I feel stuck, as if I can’t move from the spot I’m sitting in.
During these times, I try to give myself the same care that I’d give to my children.
Self-care was a trigger phrase for me while in a cult. Attention to the self was considered sinful.
So I’ve found it helpful to think in terms of re-parenting. How do I treat my children when they’re not feeling well?
I don’t have the same expectations. I allow them rest. I support them as they feel their feelings. Even if those come out messy.
Some days, even bathing is too much. I consider it a good day if I wash my face and do my skin care. I’ll go for a short, leisurely walk. I’ll make sure my kids are fed and loved on.
And that’s enough.
As it happens, my youngest is sick right now. I took him to the doctor today to rule out Covid or Strep (negative to both, thankfully). I don’t usually take my kids to the doctor for a fever and cough. But because he’s my preemie, I’m a bit more cautious with him.
I’m so grateful I can stay home with my sick child.
I’m a divorced, single mom, but I’m not in the dire financial situation that many single mothers are in. I don’t have to choose between paying my bills or staying home with a sick child.
I’m grateful for friends who caught me.
There’s an idea I heard from Tia Levings, who appeared in the Shiny, Happy People documentary. She said, “when you leave fundamentalism, and you’re out there flailing like a little fish… there are people that catch you. The universe catches you.” – Tia Levings on Instagram
I cried when I heard this.
Because it’s been so very true for me. Leaving an organization that teaches you that everyone outside it is wicked and fit for destruction is phobia induction.
Learning that that is a lie has been beautiful.
I’ve been treated with more love, empathy and kindness by people who are atheist or who have religious beliefs that I reject than I ever was inside the religion of my birth. Their so-called “love” is fake, and it goes away like blowing out a candle.
When I’m having a hard day, there are people I can reach out to who will hold me while I cry. Who will listen without judgement. Who won’t use spiritual bypassing tactics or thought-stopping techniques to subtly shame me for having unacceptable emotions.
I’m so very grateful for that.
I’m grateful for simple, beautiful things.
Like this dog we encountered last weekend. She was a very, very pregnant girl having the time of her life swimming on a hot day.
Her owner kept throwing a large stick for her to retrieve. But when she saw me and the kids, she was determined to meet us.
She climbed (not easy in her very pregnant state!) up a rock wall to get to us and was rewarded with lots of affection.
Her owner obviously enjoyed this scene as well, sharing his beloved dog with us in a moment of mutual joy.
Paying attention to little “glimmers” like this help me cope with the triggers I experience.
For the last few years, I’ve felt a sense of oneness with other people that I’d never had before.
I appreciate the beauty around me, the mathematical unlikelihood of my own existence, and the value of other people and living things all the more.
Focusing on the here and now is part of the mindfulness that keeps my anxiety from spiraling out of control.
What are you grateful for lately?
P.S. I’m not going to do that thing some bloggers do where they apologize for their navel gazing post. I share these vulnerable moments with you because I know that reading about other people’s imperfect, vulnerable moments helps me judge myself less for having them. And I hope that’s what you get out of this post. Ok I’m all done metablogging now. 😉