Sunday, 14 March 2010

NEW BEGINNINGS (OR SHEER TERROR...)


This week sees me finishing my PTSD therapy and going out into the real world alone. It's a strange sensation. I do feel much less anxious and traumatised than I did 18 weeks ago, but I'm also oddly nervous. The last 3 years have all been focused toward getting this much needed therapy and the five months of the therapy have been concentrated on working through my trauma; it had never occurred to me until now that I would at some point be living life post-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And I'm not quite sure how to handle it...

I'm not magically cured, but I am much improved on a even a few short months ago. I'm not suffering almost constant flashbacks anymore, I am sleeping quite well even 3 nights a week and I've been given the tools to handle the continuing problems better. For the first time in 5 years, the world seems like a place with possibilities rather than just a succession of challenges to be endured and while I'm delighted by the change of view, I'm also slightly daunted by the sheer amount of opportunity and choice out there.

The past 6 years have been heavy on stress and trauma and rather light on choice and confidence and it's proving surprisingly tricky to remind myself that the second experiences are welcome in my life and here to stay. I still feel strange asserting my desires or choices in anything, even a minor thing like which bar or restaurant to visit. Part of this is having had my feelings trampled over by unsupportive agencies and friends for a long time and part of this is because I have been so enveloped in trauma and pain, I haven't wanted to poke my head outside my shell and assert myself around people I know. This is something I have to work on, but it's hard to know where to begin apart from standing in front of the mirror and telling myself "I'm worth it"...

In between positive affirmations, I also need to find ways to structure my never-ending days to give myself routine and purpose while challenging my remaining agoraphobia. This is made slightly trickier by the fact it can't really cost any money thanks to my restrictive budget. Shopping sprees and endless day trips are not particularly feasible, maybe more long walks, trips to the library and other educational sounding endeavours methinks. I was hoping to expand my social repertoire and my skills set and take up a course one day a week in cookery. Sadly I have been somewhat thwarted at my first hurdle by the fact there are almost no classes that involve cooking for fun during the day in London that don't cost hundreds of pounds. Time for a rethink already!

I'm slightly at a loss for ideas after sitting around in my pyjamas watching Diagnosis Murder for several years, so any suggestions to kickstart my new (hopefully dynamic) life would be gratefully received...

4 comments:

  1. Congratulations on finishing your course of therapy. I think you're to be commended highly for tackling all this.

    In terms of something new and cheap to do, off the top of my head... you might want to have a look at do-it.org for volunteering opportunities. You enter your postcode, interests and preferred activities, and see what's going on in your area.

    (I say 'cheap', my experience of volunteering is that you frequently get a meal/snack and often travel expenses too, so in fact you're quids in!)

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  2. I've got a Tate membership that allows free entry for 2 to all exhibitions - let me know if you want to go to anything ... x

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  3. You could always try my bible... Time Out. They always recommend lots of free activities. MMx

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  4. Do you know anyone else with similar days/times off? Rather than just meeting together to get coffee/food, you could try to learn something fun together.

    I am also a huge fan of parks, especially now that they're all pretty and flowery. Bring a book and a blanket and you instantly have something to do and a prop to keep you from feeling weird about being there alone.

    Also, I read Marathon Man's comment as, you could always try The Bible.

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