Monday, September 9, 2013

Time Out - Permission to Rest on the Road to Recovery

When a child is bad, he (or she) is often put in time out.  A time out of the normal busyness and activities of the day, the house, the school, the setting.  A time to quiet down.  To reflect.  A time perhaps, to separate the past i.e. the misbehaviour, from the present i.e. the time out and be better prepared for the future i.e. after the time out.

What happens, though, when a traumatized person settles into a routine, even a minimal one, and plods along daily, weekly, monthly seeing little or no results?  Plodding. Ever plodding.

Sure, there are some good times.  Some bursts of sunlight.  Moments of joy.  Splashes of joy in the cesspools of life (to borrow a title from one of Barbara Johnson's books).

Yet, overall it's the cesspool that's constant.  The splashes of joy are what makes the journey endurable.

And so it is, at least during this time in my journey through trauma.

I felt worn out and run down.

The little engine that said it could, gave up.  The hill became too steep.  The steam in the engine ran out.

At least for the time being.

I needed a time out badly.  I needed to give myself permission to retreat into that corner of rest before I could go back into the activities of basic living.

But I didn't realize that. All I knew was that I was tired - and getting increasingly more so each day.

Here is where having a competent therapist, one who provides a safe place to express thoughts, explore feelings and above all to be honest, is invaluable.

I felt so run down and worn out that not only was getting up in the morning becoming harder and harder but so were getting dressed and making my appointments:  chiro, massage, now we've added physio to the mix.  And then there's those bi-weekly counselling appointments in a town 45 minutes away.

It was becoming too much.  Way too much.  Not just emotionally but physically.  The spirit was willing; the body was not.


And so, one memorable session, I verbalized as much to my counsellor.  How I didn't really want to be there.  How I felt so down - not so much emotionally, but physically.  How it was getting harder and harder to manage the specifics of actually getting to appointments.

And my counsellor, well worth every penny, well versed in trauma both through her training but also through her personal experiences, gave me permission to rest.

To give myself a time out.  A time out from working so hard on getting better.  A time out to work on physical recovery.

And so I did.

It felt weird.  It still does.  To just give in to the weakness for the time being - and rest.

I feel like this apple tree in my back yard - except that it's currently full of fruit while I don't feel that I have much of anything to offer.  It went through the bad storm we had more than a month back.  It become not exactly broken - but definitely bowed.  The emerging fruit on it's limbs didn't help it, either.  Instead of being fully able to heal from inside, it's strength was divided by having to continue on bearing fruit.

As a traumatized person, desperately trying to recover, I resemble this tree.  Divided between the need to focus all my resources, all my strength on recovering while at the same time dividing my energy, my resources, on the external parts of recovery.

So I am giving myself permission to rest and regroup.  

More tomorrow ... unless I'm resting.

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